This Day in FAA History: February 2nd

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19670202: FAA issued an advisory circular entitled “Regional Air Carrier Airport Planning” as an aid in determining when a single regional air carrier airport was preferable to two or more airports. In line with joint FAA-CAB policy (see May 2, 1961), the circular advised that a regional airport study should be made in specified circumstances involving inadequacies at existing airports located within 50 miles and one hour’s driving time of another air carrier airport or another community receiving scheduled service. (The National Airport Plan for fiscal years 1968-72, issued in April 1967, was the first such plan to identify locations that could be developed as regional airports.)
19700202: A rule effective this date permitted expanded use of FAA-approved airplane simulators in training airline crews. With the advances in flight simulation technology, the use of these simulators would help to ease the serious problems of congestion in the airspace by permitting more training on the ground.
19720202: FAA published a rule requiring scheduled air carriers and certain commercial operators of large aircraft to implement a passenger and baggage screening system acceptable to the Administrator before February 6, 1972 (see July 17, 1970, and March 7-9, 1972). The agency stated its opinion that the “simple and inexpensive” system used by some carriers would have prevented the majority of recent hijackings if used to the fullest extent possible (see January 1969).
On the same day, at FAA request, the Federal Communications Commission issued a notice which informed broadcasters and FCC licensees that the Communications Act of 1934 prohibited unauthorized broadcast of FAA air-to-ground communications. This action followed instances in which FAA’s communications were monitored and rebroadcast, seriously hampering FAA’s efforts to control aerial piracy.
19730202: Claude S. Brinegar became Secretary of Transportation. He succeeded John A. Volpe, who left the Department effective this date to become Ambassador to Italy. President Nixon had announced his intention to nominate Brinegar, an executive of a California oil company, on December 7, 1972. The Senate confirmed the appointment on January 18. (See December 18, 1974.)
19810202: FAA commissioned the first Direct Access Radar Channel (DARC) at the Salt Lake City air route traffic control center. By June 28, when FAA commissioned DARC at the Minneapolis ARTCC, all 20 en route centers within the contiguous 48 states had been equipped with the system (see April 5, 1988) As a result of development begun in the late 1970s, the Raytheon Company produced DARC as a backup system to be switched on when the primary radar processing system failed or was turned off for maintenance. DARC provided a sharper display than the noncomputerized broadband backup system that it replaced. Whereas the broadband system had presented only an unmarked “blip” for each radar target, DARC provided a limited data bloc that gave a discrete code for each aircraft equipped with a discrete beacon code transponder, as well as the altitude of those equipped with an altitude-encoding transponder. The discrete code helped controllers to identify quickly the targets when changeover from the primary system occurred. Initially, however, controllers using DARC were still obliged to keep track of targets by moving plastic markers across the radar display, and hence were required to shift their scopes to a horizontal position. In Fib 1984, therefore, FAA began installing RAH01 software that made it possible for DARC to provide full data blocs that remained on the display between radar scans even if the radar missed the target. Meanwhile, the agency awaited delivery of a 1982 order for a more advanced hardware and software enhancement designated E-DARC. As compared to RAH01, E-DARC’s advantages included predicted position tracking and the capability to present composite displays using returns from several radar sites. E-DARC also allowed an individual controller to switch back and forth between primary and backup systems at the touch of a button, and permitted non-verbal handoffs of aircraft between sectors within a center. FAA commissioned the first E-DARC system at the Seattle center on November 26, 1986.
19870202: FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon resigned and was reassigned at his own request to help end a controversy over airmen certification. Critics had charged that the Federal Air Surgeon had granted waivers to commercial pilots whom they considered medically unfit to fly.
19940202: FAA announced that 25 low activity towers (Level 1) would be converted to contract towers, beginning in September 1994. The agency had been contracting the operation of such towers since 1982, and 30 were run on this basis as of the end of 1993. On November 28, 1995, FAA announced that it would discontinue funding for 7 low-activity towers, including three contract towers and four FAA-operated facilities.
20050202: A Bombardier Challenger CL-600-1A11, during takeoff, ran off the departure end of runway 6 at Teterboro Airport, in New Jersey. The aircraft continued through an airport perimeter fence, crossed a six-lane highway, struck a vehicle, entered a parking lot, and finally impacted a building. The two pilots were seriously injured, as were two occupants in the vehicle. The cabin aide, eight passengers, and one person in the building received minor injuries. October 31, 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s failure to ensure the airplane was loaded within weight and balance limits compounded by their attempt to take off with the center of gravity beyond the aircraft’s forward takeoff limit. This improper weight distribution prevented the airplane from achieving the required rotation speed.
20090202: FAA called for the establishment of a new industry-based task force charged with developing an industry consensus for the midterm goals of the NextGen system. FAA asked the task force, the NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force (TF5), carried out through RTCA, to complete its recommendations by August 2009. FAA charged the task force with
* identifying a specific set of operation capabilities that would be fully deployed and could deliver benefits by 2018;
* determining steps necessary to reach the capabilities, including procedures, training, technical risk mitigation and policy changes;
* recommending interim milestones;
* suggesting ways to accelerate operational benefits, including preferred means to accommodate “mixed-equipage” operations; and
* providing strategies to ensure that the intended benefits are delivered and to encourage operators to equip their aircraft. (See September 9, 2009.)
20200202: Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf directed all flights from China and all passengers who had traveled to China within the previous 14 days to be routed through one of eight U.S. airports (three airports added later) where the United States Government had established enhanced screening procedures and the capacity to quarantine passengers, if needed. Additionally, U.S. citizens who had been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days of their return were subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they had proper medical care and health screening. U.S. citizens who had been in other areas of mainland China also had to undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they had not contracted the virus and did not pose a public health risk. Generally, foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and flight crews) who had traveled in China, would be denied entry into the United States. The airports with enhanced screening included
* John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
* Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
* San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
* Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
* Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
* Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
* Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
* Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
* Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
* Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
* Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas