This Day in FAA History: March 3rd

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19610303: Najeeb E. Halaby became the second FAA Administrator, succeeding Elwood R. Quesada (see November 1, 1958). The appointment, which President Kennedy had announced on January 19, was submitted to the Senate on February 13 and confirmed on February 24.
Born in Dallas, Tex., Halaby received a B.A. from Stanford in 1937 and a law degree from Yale in 1940; however, his aviation career had already begun in 1933 when, at the age of 17, he received his student pilot certificate. Early in World War II (1942-1943), he served as a test pilot for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. After becoming a naval aviator in 1943, he served at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent, Md. He participated in the first flights of U.S. jet-powered aircraft. Among the positions in which Halaby served the Federal government after the war were: foreign affairs adviser to the Secretary of Defense; special assistant to the Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; and vice chairman of the Aviation Facilities Study Group (see May 4, 1955). In 1953, Halaby was selected by the Junior Chamber of Commerce for an award as the “outstanding young man in Federal Service.” His private business activities included the practice of law with a Los Angeles firm in 1940-1942 and, after World War II, service as: an associate of Laurence Rockefeller; executive vice president and director of Servomechanisms, Inc.; president of American Technological Corporation, a technical ventures corporation; secretary-treasurer of Aerospace Corporation, a firm that was principal adviser to the Air Force missile and space program; and director of his own law firm in Los Angeles.
Halaby headed FAA for over four years, the longest tenure of any of the agency’s first twelve Administrators, before resigning effective July 1, 1965 (see that date).
19610303: President Kennedy requested Administrator Halaby to develop a statement of national aviation goals for the period 1961-70 which would define the technical, economic, and–excluding matters of peculiar concern to combat operating forces–military objectives of the Federal government throughout the broad spectrum of aviation. To undertake the study, called Project Horizon, an eight-member task group of aviation experts was formed under the chairmanship of Fred M. Glass, business executive and former member of the Harding Aviation Facilities Study Group. (See September 10, 1961.)
19740303: A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 wide-body airliner crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, France, killing all 346 people on board in the worst air disaster up to that time. The Turkish Airlines jet had reached an altitude of about 12,000 feet when its rear bulk-cargo door opened, producing explosive decompression. The resulting collapse of the floor over the cargo compartment disabled vital flight-control cables.
McDonnell-Douglas had known of difficulties with the latching mechanism of the DC-10 cargo doors, and had introduced modifications. On June 12, 1972, however, an improperly secured cargo door opened on an American Airlines DC-10 flying over Windsor, Ontario. The resulting decompression disrupted some control cables running through the floor beams, but the aircraft landed safely at Detroit. Following this event, McDonnell Douglas issued a series of FAA-approved service bulletins aimed at controlling the problem. On October 25, 1973, the manufacturer issued a final service bulletin that introduced a “closed-loop” system as a definitive solution.
The “closed-loop” modification had not yet been applied to the Turkish DC-10 that crashed near Paris. The French accident report also indicated that the manufacturer had failed to complete one of the earlier improvements contained in a service bulletin issued before it delivered the aircraft in December 1972. The report further concluded that improper in-service modifications and adjustments were among the factors that permitted the ground crew’s defective closing of the door before the ill-fated flight.
Following the Paris crash, FAA issued two airworthiness directives dated March 6 and March 22, 1974. These directives required implementation of the various modifications contained in the manufacturer’s service bulletins, which did not carry the force of law. Shortly thereafter, FAA Administrator Alexander P. Butterfield announced that the agency would henceforth employ airworthiness directives in all situations involving a design change to correct unsafe conditions. (See December 27, 1974.)
19740303: On July 7, 1975, FAA issued an airworthiness directive requiring the manufacturers to ensure that the floors of all wide-body jets could withstand the effects of rapid in-flight decompression caused by sudden appearance of an opening of up to 20 square feet in the lower deck cargo compartment. This could be achived by strengthening the floors and/or installing relief vents between the passenger cabin and aft cargo compartment.
19770303: FAA published a rule establishing three “stages” of aircraft noise levels for subsonic large transport aircraft and subsonic turbojets. Stage 1 aircraft were those that did not meet current noise standards and hence must be modified or replaced according to a previously established schedule (see December 23, 1976). Stage 2 aircraft met the current standards, while Stage 3 aircraft were able to meet the more rigorous noise standards for the next generation of jet transports prescribed by the rule.
The agency judged that improved noise-reduction technologies made it economically reasonable to apply the new standards, which were effective on October 1, 1977 and covered all large (over 75,000 pounds) aircraft for which application for new type certificates had been made after May 5, 1975. Noise limits on landing approaches were reduced from the old standard of 102-108 effective perceived noise decibels (EPNdB) to 98-105 EPNdB, depending on aircraft weight. For the first time, the standards for takeoff and sideline noise levels were based on number of engines as well as weight. Takeoff limits were reduced from the old standard of 93-108 EPNdB to 90-106 for four-engine jets, 90-104 for three engines, and 89-101 for one and two engines. Sideline noise limits were reduced from 102-108 EPNdB to 96-103 for three and four engines and 94-103 for one and two engines. In addition, the measuring points for sideline noise were altered. The new noise limits were not retroactive to aircraft types already certificated. (See February 18, 1980.)
19900303: FAA assigned the first permanent Civil Aviation Security Liaison Officer (CASLO) oversees, marking the beginning of a program established as a result of the Pan American Flight 103 bombing. The first CASLO was stationed at the American Embassy in London. (See January 3, 1989, and May 15, 1990.)
19910303: All 25 persons aboard a United Airlines flight died when their Boeing 737 crashed on approach to Colorado Springs airport. Reported theories as to the cause included a “rotor” mountain wind pattern or a mechanical flaw. The National Transportation Safety Board conducted an exhaustive investigation, but reported on December 8, 1992, that it could not explain the crash. (See September 8, 1994.)
19990303: In an airworthiness directive to go into effect March 18, FAA ordered operators of certain Boeing 737-100, -200, -300, -400 and -500 aircraft to inspect and correct any chafing of float switch wiring found in the center fuel tank. The float switch, powered by direct current, automatically closed the fueling valve to prevent the fuel tank from being overfilled. Chafed wiring associated with this device, however, could have provided an ignition source inside the tank. The agency required that each aircraft’s float switch be removed or deactivated and inspected for evidence of chafing – such as electrical arcing or worn insulation – either within 30 days of the AD effective date, or before the aircraft could accumulate 30,000 total flight hours. Under the terms of the AD, operators might install protective Teflon sleeving and wiring, allowing reuse of the float switch, or they might install a new float switch with the necessary Teflon sleeved wiring. Alternatively, operators might deactivate the float switch and paint a “caution” sign adjacent to the aircraft-fueling panel to indicate a mandatory reduction of the maximum fuel capacity with associated modified fueling procedures to minimize the possibility of fuel spills. (See December 3, 1998, October 28, 1999.)
20200303: FAA announced the expansion of its weather camera safety program to Colorado. FAA entered into a $226,000 cost-reimbursement agreement with the State of Colorado Division of Aeronautics to install weather cameras on 13 automated weather observing systems (AWOS) in mountainous areas, beginning in the spring of 2020. The 13 Colorado cameras were the first to be integrated into the weather camera program outside of Alaska. Under the terms of the agreement, FAA would assist the state with the camera installations, but the state would own and maintain the cameras. (See September 30, 2013; August 4, 2020.)