This Day in FAA History: January 17th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19620117: President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, which guaranteed the right of Federal employees to join organizations–i.e., any lawful association, labor union, federation, council, or brotherhood “having as a primary purpose the improvement of working conditions among Federal employees” — and engage in collective bargaining. The order also made provision for Federal agencies to accord informal, formal or exclusive recognition to employee organizations. FAA Administrator Halaby argued unsuccessfully before Kennedy Administration councils that air traffic controllers, because they served a national defense function, should be excluded from the provisions of the order. (See January 1968.)
19620117: As recommended by Project Tightrope (see March 29, 1961), FAA established the positions of chief hearing officer and hearing officers to make available to airmen a trial-type proceeding when charged with a violation of the Civil Air Regulations for which their certificate might be suspended or revoked. Appearance before a hearing officer would not prejudice the airman’s statutory right to appeal an FAA decision to the Civil Aeronautics Board. In July 1963, FAA broadened hearing officer duties to include the conduct of such other public and intra-agency hearings as the Administrator might direct. Three hearing officers began their new duties about March 1, 1962. Based one each at Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Atlanta, they held hearings at various locations within their respective jurisdictions, which covered the contiguous 48 states. Pending the appointment of a chief hearing officer, the hearing officers reported to the Administrator through the Executive Director of the Agency’s Regulatory Council (see January 8, 1962).
19940117: An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale hit the Los Angeles area, briefly closing Los Angeles airport. The Van Nuys airport tower lost its window glass but continued to operate until a temporary tower was activated.
20010117: FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) signed an understanding covering operational errors and operational deviations (OE/D). Under this agreement, failures to maintain 80 percent separation minima would be recorded as technical violations and maintained in the employee’s training folder. FAA and NATCA would, however, immediately cancel the revocation or suspension of control tower operator licenses and facility ratings in addressing performance deficiencies. After twelve months, any information which could lead to the identification of an employee – whether causal or contributory to a technical violation – would be discarded. No controller would be decertified or forced to complete remedial training for a technical violation, and all controllers would have to attend refresher training annually. The agreement, which would be reviewed at six-month intervals, also called for quarterly meetings at the national level to address quality assurance. In addition, FAA and NATCA agreed to work together, no later than April 30, to develop and implement a classification system of OE/Ds based upon risk assessment.
20120117: FAA’s air traffic organization (ATO) reorganized to simplify management and reporting structures. The changes included a simplified reporting structure under the chief operating officer and his deputy and clarified lines of responsibility and accountability. Safety functions and technical training became part of the new ATO safety and technical training organization. A new program management organization pulled together key acquisition programs into one office. ATO consolidated most non-technical operational support under management services and realigned technical operational mission support under mission support services. (See September 23, 2011 and January 30, 2012.)
20140117: President Barrack Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (PL 113-76), which, among other things, eliminated funding for the joint planning and development office (JPDO). FAA had established the office in 2003 under the Vision 100-Century of Aviation legislation that launched the NextGen modernization program. Karlin Toner, who headed the JPDO, became FAA’s director of global strategy within FAA’s office of policy, international affairs, and environment. In May 2014, FAA created a new interagency office to coordinate federal investment in the NextGen modernization effort following the elimination of the JPDO. FAA said it established an interagency planning office to replace the JPDO under the direction of Gisele Mohler. Consisting of employees from FAA and other federal agencies, the new office “will plan, identify and prioritize key multi-agency research to drive consensus in the development of investment choices and decisions related to NextGen. Part of its mission is to improve efficiencies, reduce redundancy and ensure compatibility across federal agencies, while pooling resources and investments.” (See February 26, 2010; September 23, 2011.)
20160117: SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket, successfully sending NASA’s Jason-3 ocean-measuring satellite into orbit. The rocket, however, failed to make a return landing to a drone platform in the Pacific Ocean. (See September 16, 2014; June 15, 2016.)