This Day in FAA History: January 27th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19590127: The Convair 880 (Model 22) first flew. On May 1, 1960, FAA certificated this four-engine medium-range jet airliner with a maximum capacity of 110 passengers. The plane, built by General Dynamics Corporation, entered scheduled service on May 15, 1960, with Delta Air Lines.
19650127: The National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Supersonic Transport Sonic Boom concluded that prototype development of a supersonic transport (SST) was “clearly warranted” by evidence from research, tests, and studies of sonic boom phenomena (see July 1, 1965). This finding was largely based on data collected by FAA in the Oklahoma City area (see February 3, 1964).
On April 25, 1965, FAA made public a summary of its Oklahoma City sonic boom study, in which U.S. Air Force jets had subjected residents to 1,253 booms during daylight hours. Most boom intensities ranged between 1.0 and 2.0 pounds of overpressure per square foot, but adverse atmospheric influences caused approximately 11 percent to exceed the intended limit of 2.0 pounds of overpressure. FAA also released an interim report on the related test at White Sands, N.M., in which Air Force jets subjected 16 representative structures to 1,494 booms varying in intensity from 2.0 to 20.0 pounds of overpressure. The findings of the two tests included:
* Sonic booms of less than 5 pounds of overpressure caused no discernible damage to structurally sound buildings; however, booms of this intensity probably triggered cracks in faultily constructed walls, breaks in cracked windows, and other damage in structurally unsound buildings.
* Booms of the order of those expected to be generated by the U.S. supersonic transport (SST) had no measurable physiological effect on humans.
* The subjective reaction of individuals to sonic boom would be the area of greatest concern for the U.S. SST program.
* Fully 27 percent of the people polled in the Oklahoma City area during the closing weeks of testing declared they could not live with sonic boom; additionally, 40 percent of those polled were unconvinced that booms did not cause damage to buildings.
In releasing the information, Administrator Halaby stated his conclusion that a supersonic transport could be designed in terms of configuration, operating attitude, and flight paths so as to achieve public acceptance in the early 1970s. On March 8, 1969, the Federal government lost its appeal in a class action suit involving claims for property damage allegedly caused by the Oklahoma City tests. (See April 27, 1973.)
19690127: Under an FAA contract, the University of Ohio initiated a five-year study seeking to improve the overall capabilities of the existing instrument landing system, giving particular attention to interference problems. The contractor examined existing criteria for controlling taxiing aircraft on or near ILS runways and also examined criteria for taxi-strip and warmup-area construction. This part of the study had largely been prompted by the introduction of the Boeing 747 and the Lockheed C-5A, which, because of their size, could seriously interfere with ILS signals. Another part of the study dealt with the possible effects of hangars, buildings, powerlines, and terrain on electronic signals. A computer manufacturer developed a mathematical model and a generalized computer program for predicting these effects for the study.
19720127: The Secretary of Transportation signed an agreement transferring certain emergency preparedness functions from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to FAA. The agreement applied to the air transportation activities and services provided by U.S. scheduled and supplemental air carriers operating under the economic regulatory authority of CAB and assigned to the War Air Service Program. It excluded air carrier services provided to the Department of Defense under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet Program. Under the agreement, FAA had responsibility for: assessing enemy-inflicted damage relating to air carriers; assisting air carriers in submitting claims for and restoring materials and services needed to resume air service deemed essential by CAB.
19720127: Secretary of Transportation John Volpe announced that FAA had awarded contracts to six companies for the initial phase of a planned five-year development program for a microwave landing system (MLS) for use by civil and military aircraft. (See July 1971 and March 14, 1973.)
20030127: FAA issued an emergency AD requiring operators to perform prescribed elevator system checks on Raytheon Beechcraft Models 1900, 1900C and D aircraft by January 31. The actions were aimed at preventing an accident similar to the January 8 crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481. In addition, FAA ordered commuter airlines to begin weighing some passengers out of concerns of possible overloading of passengers and baggage. The program covered planes registered in the U.S. and carrying 10 to 19 passengers. The 30-day sample of passenger and baggage weights was designed to determine whether FAA’s assumptions at the time about passenger and baggage weights were valid. In general, the agency had assumed that an average adult would weigh 180 pounds in summer and 185 pounds in winter, and travel with 20 pounds of carry-on luggage. Each child aged two to twelve was assumed to weigh 80 pounds. (See January 8, 2003.)
20040127: In a luncheon speech to the Aero Club of Washington, Secretary Mineta announced plans for a new, next generation air transportation system with expanded capacity to relieve congestion, prevent gridlock, and secure America’s place as global leader in aviation’s second century. An inter-agency plan, NextGen would offer a cleaner, quieter system based on 21st-century technology, seamless security, and added capacity to relieve congestion. (See December 12, 2003; December 15, 2004.)