This Day in FAA History: January 18th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19650118: FAA released a study concluding that transport-aircraft fuel tanks could be designed to reduce the fire hazard of crash landings. Conducted for the agency by General Dynamics, the study involved tests in which experimental tanks survived crashes of up to 57Gs without rupturing. The study estimated that such tanks would increase wing weight and production costs by as little as one percent, and recommended consideration of fuel-containment principles during preliminary design of future aircraft.
19800118: Two air traffic controllers allegedly erased flight data information on a Soviet Aeroflot jet making its final approach to New York Kennedy airport with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin aboard. Unaware of the erasure, the controller who was handling the flight misidentified the Soviet aircraft and ordered it to make an early descent through unprotected airspace. The plane nevertheless landed safely. The incident reportedly stemmed from a local PATCO protest over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After reviewing the case, FAA decided on January 16, 1981, to reprimand one of the controllers implicated in the data erasure and to suspend the other for 60 days.
19900118: On its landing roll at Atlanta Hartsfield airport, an Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727 collided with a Beechcraft King Air 100 that had landed just before it. The accident killed the pilot of the King Air, which was operated as a charter by Epps Air Service. FAA decertified the controller who cleared the Eastern flight to land. On April 2, 1991, the majority of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cited the controller’s error as the accident’s probable cause, while dissenting member Jim Burnett blamed inadequate separation standards. On May 29, 1991, NTSB announced a revised finding expanding the probable cause to include the failure of air traffic control procedures to take into consideration occasional lapses in human performance. Chairman James Kolstad dissented, saying that use of existing procedures could have prevented the accident.
19910118: Eastern Air Lines ceased flight operations as of midnight on this date, after nine months under the control of a trustee appointed by a bankruptcy judge (see April 18, 1990). On January 24, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ended their strike of over 22 months against the airline. On February 27, Eastern agreed to plead guilty to Federal charges involving falsification of aircraft maintenance records, and was fined $3.5 million, while prosecutors dropped other related charges. The case stemmed from a grand jury indictment on July 25, 1990.
20020118: Effective this date, airlines had to inspect all checked baggage for explosives. (See January 15, 2002; February 13, 2002.)
20120118: FAA broke ground for a new $16.4 million, state-of-the-art airport traffic control tower at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. When complete, the new facility would include a 117-foot-tall air traffic control tower topped by a 525-square-foot tower cab. A 7,200-square-foot single-story base building housed training rooms, administrative offices, and equipment rooms. FAA planned to commission the new tower in the spring of 2014. It would replace the existing tower, commissioned in 1970.
20190118: Effective this date, FAA recalled 2,200 furloughed aviation safety inspectors and engineers back to work.