This Day in FAA History: February 29th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19680229: AN FAA study noted the growing volume of mail receiving air transportation in recent years with special emphasis on first-class mail moved on a space available basis. About 95 percent of first-class mail traveling over 200 miles currently moved by air. The study predicted that mail by air would continue to increase steadily and that the use of air taxis would be expanded to expedite overnight delivery to additional communities. (See December 18, 1967, and Calendar year 1968.)
19720229: Following a nationwide election, the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS) received Department of Labor certification as the national exclusive representative for all Flight Service Station specialists, some 3,000 employees. On June 1, 1972, FAA and NAATS concluded an agencywide collective bargaining agreement, the first such contract between FAA and a national labor organization and the first in a series of FAA/NAATS contracts.
19760229: The Washington, D.C., Flight Service Station moved to the Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) at Leesburg, Va., and FAA announced that it had ordered an AWANS (aviation weather and notice to airmen system) for installation at Leesburg. AWANS was computer-aided system to assist flight service specialists by displaying weather and aeronautical information on viewing screens. It had been under test at the flight service station (FSS) in Atlanta, Ga., since July 1975. Once operational, FAA expected the Leesburg AWANS to take over the functions of the FSSs at Richmond and Charlottesville. This prototype would then be used to demonstrate the feasibility of consolidating several manual FSSs into a single automated station, and of collocating FSS and ARTCC facilities. The long-range plan was to establish AWANS-equipped FSS hubs at all 20 ARTCCs in the contiguous United States. (See February 4, 1964, and September 1977.)
19960229: As part of a continuing “open skies” initiative (see September 4, 1992), DOT announced a U.S.- German agreement relaxing limitations on air travel between the two countries. By this date, the United States had concluded 10 other open skies agreements with European nations: the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Belgium. In addition, the United States and Canada had signed a liberal agreement on transborder air travel on February 24, 1995. Other international accords increasing opportunities for airline service included a June 5, 1995, agreement with Britain that included some expansion of airport access and other privileges for U.S. and U.K. carriers.
20000229: The Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense jointly released the 1999 Federal Radionavigation Plan, which included provisions for two additional global positioning system (GPS) signals for civil use and a revised schedule for making the transition to GPS. (See March 26, 2002.)
20040229: Effective this date, FAA revised its regulations for landing under instrument flight rules to allow aircraft to operate below certain specified altitudes during instrument approach procedures, even when the airport environment was not visible using natural vision, if the pilot used certain FAA-certified enhanced flight vision systems.
20040229: Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta visited Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to introduce a new air traffic control technology and reiterate the Administration’s commitment to improvements aimed at reducing airspace congestion nationwide. The airport was the first to receive ASDE-X, a new radar that provided complete, up-to-the-minute map of all airport operations that controllers used to spot potential collisions and ensure aviation safety on the ground. (See October 24, 2000; August 8, 2007.)