This Day in FAA History: January 21st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19350121: After closely following the work of the Federal Aviation Commission (see July 11, 1934, and January 22, 1935), Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nev.) introduced a bill (S. 1932) to create a Civil Aeronautics Commission to regulate the economic phases of both scheduled air transportation and aircraft operations in furtherance of a business. Safety regulation of civil aviation would also be turned over to this commission, but the Secretary of Commerce would retain his duties under existing law with regard to airways and air navigation facilities. (See June 7, 1935.)
19510121: CAA created an Office of Aviation Defense Requirements to administer priorities and allocations for civil aviation under the Defense Production Act of 1950. The immediate task of the new office was to handle Defense Order rating authorizations for new air carrier aircraft and for necessary spare parts and equipment to keep U.S. and allied foreign carriers in operation during the Korean emergency.
19590121: The FAA Administrator submitted to Congress draft legislation to extend the Federal Airport Act to June 30, 1963. Intended to effect an “orderly withdrawal” from the airport grant program, the bill authorized $200 million graduated downward over the four-year period. The bill proposed to revise the apportionment of funds among the States, increasing from 25 to 50 percent the proportion of funds that could be allocated at the Administrator’s discretion regardless of geographical location. The proposal also limited grants under the act to construction of landing area facilities such as runways and control towers, while excluding such items as terminal buildings, parking lots, and entrance roads. (See August 3, 1955, October 18, 1955, and June 20, 1959.)
19720121: FAA commissioned the first operational Category IIIa instrument landing system at Dulles International Airport. The system, a British-made STAN 37/38, allowed qualified crews flying properly equipped aircraft to land with a runway visibility range (horizontal visibility) of 700 feet and a decision height (vertical visibility) of zero. Previously, the lowest landing minimums had been a 100-foot decision height and a 1,200-foot RVR, the Category II criteria (see November 3, 1967). FAA outlined criteria that had to be met before Category IIIa minimums could be approved–airport and ground facilities, airborne systems, pilot training and proficiency requirement, operations procedures, and maintenance standards–in an advisory circular published on December 14, 1971. (The Lockheed L-1011 became the first newly certificated aircraft to be equipped with flight guidance equipment that met the Category IIIa criteria.) (See September 1972.)
19750121: FAA announced that it would study the effects of high-altitude flight on the earth’s atmosphere, building upon DOT’s recently-ended Climatic Impact Assessment Program, which had begun in 1971 in response to concern about environmental consequences of the fleets of supersonic transports then anticipated. FAA’s study, the High Altitude Pollution Program (HAPP), ended in 1982. Its final report, published in January 1984, concluded that the effects of civilian aircraft on ozone depletion and climactic change were not a cause of immediate concern at that time.
19760121: British Airways and Air France began the world’s first scheduled supersonic passenger service (see December 26, 1975) with simultaneous takeoffs of Anglo-French Concorde SST aircraft from London and Paris for flights to Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro. The London-Bahrain flight, normally 6 hours 30 minutes by subsonic jet, took 4 hours 10 minutes. The Paris-Rio flight, scheduled to take 7 hours 5 minutes (compared with a subsonic time of 11 hours 10 minutes), arrived 40 minutes late. (See February 4, 1976.)
19800121: FAA published a rule limiting the amount of ozone gas that might be present in airliners flying above 18,000 feet (see July 21, 1977). The agency restricted ozone concentration in the cabin to a maximum of 0.25 parts per million at any point in time. In addition, the average exposure on flights of more than four hours was to be no more than 0.1 parts per million. FAA left the airlines the choice of achieving these standards through air filters, use of engine heat to break down ozone, or selection of routes that avoided ozone concentrations. The agency expected, however, that about 500 large transport aircraft used at high altitudes in northern latitudes would require modification. The deadline for compliance was February 20, 1981. The same rule amended airworthiness standards for new transport aircraft to provide protection against ozone irritation.
19930121: Federico F. Peña became Secretary of Transportation, succeeding Andrew H. Card with the change of Administrations. A former member of the Colorado legislature and two-term mayor of Denver, Peña had been a strong advocate of the new airport under construction for his city (see May 17, 1988). He served as Secretary until February 14, 1997 (see entry for December 20, 1996).
19970121: FAA issued an airworthiness directive requiring operators to re-inspect and repair wiring leading to fuel tank booster pumps numbers 1 and 4 in the inboard main fuel tanks of 747 airplanes produced prior to 1980. The inspections had to be completed by May 20, 1997. (See November 26, 1997.)
20040121: Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced a new order intended to reduce flight congestion and passenger inconvenience at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Under terms of the order signed by FAA administrator Marion Blakey, both American and United agreed to reduce their operations during the peak hours between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. by five percent. The reduction of 62 scheduled flights, which took effect in early March and lasted for six months, returned scheduled O’Hare operations to October 2003 levels, the last month prior to significant delays. (See April 21, 2004.)
20100121: FAA dispatched a portable, temporary control tower to Haiti to help assist with aircraft operations at Port-au-Prince International Airport after an earthquake destroyed much of the air traffic control equipment at the airport. Shipment of the portable tower came at the request of the Haitian government. FAA air traffic and airport specialists also deployed to Haiti to help with airport reconstruction efforts.
20110121: FAA dedicated a new airport traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport. The new tower replaced a tower built in 1964. The total cost to design, equip, and construct the new 233-foot high tower was approximately $100 million. (See October 10, 2010.)
20140121: Per language in the 2014 omnibus spending bill signed by President Obama on January 17, DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration became the new Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.