This Day in FAA History: February 21st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19290221: Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh was appointed Technical Adviser to the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce.
19470221: The Air Line Pilots Association adopted a resolution providing that all four-engine aircraft be required to carry a flight engineer. (See February 15, 1946 and June 15, 1947.)
19610221: Effective this date, an amendment to Part 60, Civil Air Regulations, made it possible for FAA to raise the floor of control areas (airways) from the existing 700 feet to at least 1,200 feet above the surface, on a case-by-case basis. Such actions would provide an additional 500 feet or more of uncontrolled airspace. The additional uncontrolled airspace would be available to pilots operating under visual flight rules (VFR) when flight visibility was as low as one mile, in contrast to a three-mile visibility required for VFR operations in controlled airspace.
19620221: The U.S. Senate confirmed Major General Harold W. Grant, USAF, as FAA’s Deputy Administrator, succeeding James T. Pyle (see December 31, 1958). A specialist in communications, General Grant was Commander of the Air Force Communications Service when the President selected him, on February 1, for the FAA position. Born in Louisville, Ky., General Grant received a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University in 1928, and was commissioned in the Army Air Corps the following year. In World War II, he served as U.S. Air Signal Planner for Combined Operations in the European Theater and as Deputy Signal Officer in Chief of the Southeast Asia Command in India. During the Korean conflict, he was Vice Commander of the Japan Air Defense Force. After other assignments of high responsibility in the Far East and the United States, he became, in mid-1958, director of communications and electronics in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, U.S. Air Force Headquarters. From this position he was assigned in July 1961 to the command from which he came to FAA. His decorations include the Legion of Merit with two clusters and the Order of the British Empire. (See July 1, 1965.)
During the two years after his appointment, Grant helped to work out a series of agreements with military commands that provided close integration of communication systems and joint use of facilities, espcially radar. Under an agreement with the Continental Air Defense Command, FAA handled the ATC operations of interceptor flights going to and returning from a target. These agreements reduced the chances of civil-military midair collisions and provided better defense readiness. The improved coordination of military and FAA activities helped to ease tensions that had developed over the FAA decision to make only limited use the military’s SAGE system in the national ATC system (see September 11, 1961, and December 1, 1963).
19680221: A sustained wave of U.S. air carrier hijackings began when a fugitive aboard a Delta Air Lines DC-8 forced the pilot to divert to Havana. By July 17, four more U.S. airliners had been diverted to the same destination. On July 19, FAA announced that specially trained FAA safety inspectors (“sky marshals”) had begun boarding Florida-bound airline flights (see August 10, 1961, and October 28, 1970). The inspectors, sworn in as deputy U.S. marshals after being trained at the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, were generally assigned to flights on a random, unannounced basis. Hijackings continued, however, and a total of twelve airliners and six general aviation aircraft were diverted to Cuba during 1968. (See January 1969.)
19690221: To keep pace with the growth of the U.S. civil aviation fleet, FAA expanded the number of aircraft identification numbers available. The identification numbers continued to consist of the prefix letter “N”, followed by not more than five symbols. These symbols could consist of all numerals (e.g., N10000), or of one to four numerals with a suffix letter (e.g., N1000A). In the past, FAA had sometimes also assigned identification numbers with one to three numerals and two suffix letters (e.g, N100AB), but only to fulfill certain special requests. Now, however, FAA permitted the unrestricted issuance of these identification numbers consisting of one to three numerals and two suffix letters. This change increased the number of available identification numbers from about 339,000 to about 739,000.
19760221: In exchange for higher salaries and shorter work hours, the pilots of Frontier Airlines accepted a contract calling for the elimination of the flight engineer from the crew of the Boeing 737. The Air Line Pilots Association executive board tried, but failed, to expel Frontier pilots from the union for violating the union’s by-laws. (See November 18-27, 1974, and May 7, 1977.)
19900221: Administrator Busey announced organizational changes that included establishment of an Executive Director for Acquisition, a move designed to streamline the agency’s procurement process. The action brought the number of Executive Directors to five (see June 16, 1988, and September 30, 1991). As documented in a directive issued on July 6, 1990, the newly created Executive Director controlled two new Offices: Acquisition Policy and Oversight; and Independent Operational Test and Evaluation Oversight. Other changes implemented by this directive included: conversion of two Associate Administrators (for Airports and for Policy, Planning, and International Aviation) to Assistant Administrators reporting directly to the Administrator; retitling of the Executive Director for Policy, Plans, and Resource Management as the Executive Director for Administration and Resource Management; establishment under the Executive Director for System Operations of an Office of System Capacity and Requirements with functions including those of the former Airport Capacity Program Office; abolition of two Offices: Operations Resource Management and Operations Planning and Policy; establishment of a new Associate Administrator for System Engineering and Development to replace the Associate Administrator for Advanced Design and Management Control; and retitling the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety as an Assistant Administrator.
19970221: FAA and Interior Department announced a delay in implementing aspects of a rule, announced on December 31, 1996, on flights over the Grand Canyon. Most of the rule’s provisions would be implemented as planned on May 1, 1997; however, a restructuring of the park airspace and air routes would not be implemented until January 1998. (See May 12, 1997.)