This Day in FAA History: January 11th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19430111: Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly while holding office when he took off from Miami, Fla., aboard Pan American’s Dixie Clipper. On January 14, Roosevelt arrived in French Morocco to attend the Casablanca Conference. (See July 2, 1932.)
19450111: Administrator Theodore P. Wright of the Civil Aeronautics Administration announced the formation of an Advisory Committee on Non-Scheduled Flying, composed of representatives from the aviation industry and the private flyer sector, to assist CAA in planning for increased postwar private flying.
19490111: The Civil Aeronautics Board granted a certificate of convenience and necessity as a local service carrier to All American Airways, which had been founded in 1937 as All American Aviation. Beginning operations under its new certificate on March 7, All American served the northeastern United States. On January 1, 1953, the carrier changed its name to Allegheny Airlines. It subsequently absorbed Lake Central Airlines on July 1, 1968, and Mohawk Airlines on April 12, 1972. (See October 28, 1979.)
19560111: Civil Aeronautics Administration officials convoked the first CAA jet age symposium as an initial step toward planning for the introduction of jets in civil operations. On April 20, CAA established a Jet Age Planning Group to work with industry and Government on potential civil jet transport problems.
19660111: FAA announced that Washington National Airport would be opened to jet aircraft on April 24, 1966 (see that date). The decision was supported by a study entitled “Economic Feasibility of Alternative Programs for Washington National Airport,” published on January 26. The study discussed modernization of the airport and concluded that a continued ban on jet airline operations would reduce its function to virtually that of a general aviation field, with greatly decreased passenger traffic and revenues.
19670111: A Scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet), a vehicle described by scientists as a forerunner of aircraft that would carry passengers at speeds of about 8,000 miles an hour at very high altitudes, made its first test flight when launched from an Air Force-NASA Scout rocket.
19850111: Ralph Nader’s Aviation Consumer Action Project made public a study claiming that FAA had underreported near midair collisions (NMACs) for 1983 and 1984 (see October 18, 1984). FAA acknowledged that discrepancies existed and stated that procedural changes would ensure more accurate NMAC statistics in the future. On April 19, 1985, FAA released data showing a rise in NMACs for the first quarter of 1985. The agency stated that the increase reflected improved statistical procedures and renewed emphasis on pilot reporting of the incidents. In June, Georgetown University Dean Ronald L. Smith began an audit of the new NMAC reporting system. In findings announced by FAA on December 3, Dean Smith judged the system to be working well and found no evidence of earlier deliberate suppression of NMAC reports.
Meanwhile, media attention to the NMAC issue heightened due to two such incidents in the national capital area on June 9 and September 24, 1985. In October 1985, NTSB Chairman James Burnett told Congress that the Board was very concerned about a trend toward increased NMACs. On April 14, 1986, FAA stated that reported NMACs for 1985 had totaled 777 (a figure later revised to 758), as compared to 589 for 1984. Commenting that the 1985 statistics were based on improved methods, FAA Administrator Engen pointed to the agency’s efforts to reduce NMACs, including the establishment of Airport Radar Service Areas (see December 22, 1983) and the “Back to Basics” program (see October 10, 1985). Engen also stated that special working groups were studying the problem of potential collisions on the ground, termed “runway incursions.” FAA later issued the following statistics: 840 NMAC reports in 1986; 1058 in 1987; 710 in 1988; 550 in 1989; 454 in 1990; 348 in 1991; 311 in 1992; and 293 in 1993.
19990111: FAA issued final airworthiness directives calling for operators to limit the payloads of Boeing 727 aircraft. The orders placed restrictions on 727s converted from passenger to all-cargo operations until the floor structures were reinforced or they were re-qualified to carry higher payloads. FAA expressed concern that converted aircraft had design features, including under-strength cargo floors, did not meet FAA certification safety requirements for cargo carriers. The ADs required operators either to reduce payloads to 3,000 pounds per container or to adhere to interim operational limitations that would permit them to carry individual containers of up to 4,800 pounds. Operators had 90 days from the effective date to make the appropriate revisions to the airplane flight manuals, supplements to them, and airplane weight and balance supplements. If individual operators failed to complete modifications within 28 months, their allowed payloads would be permanently reduced to 3,000 per container.
20000111: FAA announced that, after more than one year of negotiations and several months of mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, it had signed a tentative five-year labor agreement with the Professional Airways Systems Specialists. Union employees ratified the contract in early May. (See May 28, 1999.)
20060111: FAA withdrew a rule that would ease Part 121 oxygen requirements after the National Transportation Safety Board warned the rule was based on faulty data and could jeopardize safety. In November 2005, FAA had raised the altitude, to flight level 350, at which a pilot must put on an oxygen mask when the other pilot left the control station. With the rescinding of this less rigorous requirement, pilots left alone at the controls were still required to use their masks at altitudes above flight level 250.
20130111: In light of a series of recent events with the Boeing 787, FAA announced plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including design, manufacture, and assembly. FAA planned to validate the work conducted during the certification process to ensure the aircraft met FAA’s safety requirements. A team of FAA and Boeing engineers and inspectors conducted the joint review, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system. (See January 7, 2013; January 16, 2013.)
20140111: FAA and the Academy of Model Aeronautics signed a memorandum of agreement to work jointly to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the national airspace system (NAS). (See June 19, 2013; January 2014; June 23, 2014.)
20180111: FAA approved an operating license for Alaska Airlines and Virgin American to operate as a single airline. Alaska Airlines had announced the purchase of Virgin America in April 2016.
20230111: When the NOTAM system failed, FAA issued a ground stop order on all flights. In the second such order in agency history, the agency ordered airlines to delay all departing flights just before 7:30 a.m. and lifted the order at about 9 a.m. The disruption, however, was far from over as airlines struggled to get back to normal throughout the day. Delays cascaded throughout the system, and by the afternoon, about 9,000 flights had been delayed and 1,300 had been canceled. FAA subsequently determined that contract personnel unintentionally deleted files while working to correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database. (See September 11, 2001; June 3, 2023.)