This Day in FAA History: January 10th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19540110: A British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) de Havilland Comet I jetliner fell into the Mediterranean Sea with the loss of all 35 on board. BOAC temporarily suspended Comet operations after the accident, but resumed them on March 23. On April 8, a second Comet I crashed into the Mediterranean, killing all 21 occupants. Comet services were discontinued again when the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation withdrew the jet transport’s airworthiness certificate. On February 11, 1955, a Court of Inquiry into the two accidents announced that testing had revealed that the aircraft’s fuselage shell was prematurely vulnerable to metal fatigue. De Havilland engineers subsequently corrected the deficiencies, but the setback helped American manufacturers to overtake the British in the commercial jetliner race. (See May 2, 1952, and December 20, 1957.)
19660110: Reliance on radar for controlling air traffic advanced when a rule effective this date permitted pilots flying Instrument Flight Rules in a radar environment to omit routine position reports.
19770110: FAA published a rule raising the maximum number of transport aircraft passenger seats per main (Type A) emergency exit from 100 to 110, effective February 10, 1977. The change cleared the way for certification of Boeing 747s seating over 500.
19780110: A conflict alert system designed to warn air traffic controllers of potential midair collisions in busy terminal areas became operational at Houston International Airport, the first Automated Terminal Radar System (ARTS III) to be so equipped. The terminal conflict alert system was similar to the one installed in the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (see January 9, 1976). In April 1980, FAA completed the commissioning of conflict alert at 62 designated terminals.
19810110: The New York terminal radar control room (TRACON) became operational at Hempstead, Long Island. The building had been completed in January 1978, after which the Federal Aviation Administration had begun installing electronic equipment. Commissioning of the facility had been delayed, however, until the closing of a nearby resource recovery plant ended FAA’s concern about unhealthful emissions. The TRACON replaced the Common Radar Room (also called the “Common IFR” or “Common I”) at Kennedy International. Initially, the new facility handled approaches and departures at New York’s three major airports, but was scheduled to later take over responsibility for numerous smaller airports in area. The TRACON’s special ARTS IIIA system had 44 displays, 91 keyboard stations, and a track capacity of 1,200 aircraft (see August 10, 1976, and March 26, 1986). In contrast, the Common Radar Room’s ARTS IA had only 12 displays.
19890110: FAA published a rule requiring the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II) on all airliners with more than 30 passenger seats operating in U.S. airspace (see March 18, 1987). The airlines were to phase in TCAS II by December 30, 1991. On April 9, 1990, however, FAA extended the TCAS II compliance schedule completion date to December 30, 1993 (an extension that also applied to wind shear warning equipment: see September 22, 1988). The January 10, 1989, rule also required turbine-powered commuter aircraft with 10 to 30 passenger seats to install the simpler TCAS I by February 9, 1995, a deadline later extended to December 31, 1995.
19900110: The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 first flew. A medium/long-range transport designed as a successor to the DC-10, the aircraft could seat up to 323 passengers in its standard passenger version. The MD-11 received Federal Aviation Administration certification on November 8 and first entered commercial service on December 20, 1990, with Finnair.
20000110: FAA and Wildlife Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced publication of a manual to help combat wildlife hazards at airports. The manual, the first of its kind in the United States, was the culmination of years of research, airport site visits, and training conducted by the two agencies. The manual contained information designed to assist airport personnel in addressing airport wildlife hazard issues and enhancing aviation safety.
20140110: Virgin Galactic successfully completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its passenger-carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo. The spacecraft ascended to a record-breaking height of 71,000 feet, at a maximum speed of Mach 1.4. (See April 29, 2013; October 31, 2014; December 13, 2018.)
20170110: FAA announced that U.S. airlines would no longer be required to make a pre-boarding notification to passengers that the Samsung Galaxy Note7 phone was prohibited from transport on aircraft. The devices were still prohibited on both passenger and air cargo aircraft, but the DOT lifted the requirement that the airlines make the specific pre-boarding notification. (See October 14, 2016.)