This Day in FAA History: March 4th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19290304: Herbert C. Hoover became President, succeeding Calvin Coolidge.
19330304: Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, succeeding Herbert C. Hoover.
19460304: The first of a continuing series of international regional air navigation planning meetings sponsored by the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization began at Dublin, Ireland, to determine standard operating procedures for North Atlantic air services. This meeting was followed by similar meetings in the other nine regions of the world. By April 1949, an initial meeting had been held in all ICAO regions.
19650304: Under an amendment to a rule effective this date, FAA consolidated positive control of nearly all of the airspace in the contiguous 48 states between 24,000 and 60,000 feet into one area known as the continental positive control area. FAA had begun nationwide implementation of positive air traffic control in October 1962. (See October 15, 1960-March 1, 1961 and November 9, 1967.)
19700304: FAA retitled the Office of Associate Administrator for Personnel and Training as the Office of the Associate Administrator for Manpower to emphasize the broader functional responsibilities of this office. The agency issued a formal order reflecting this change on January 9, 1971. The same order officially established under the new associate administrator the Office of Labor Relations (the Director of Labor Relations had been appointed on March 23, 1970), an Employee Communications Staff, and an Equal Employment Opportunity Staff within the Office of Personnel, which, along with the Office of Training, rounded out the major components of the new administrative complex. (See January 19, 1968.)
19760304: FAA announced a contract for the development of three engineering model Discrete Address Beacon System (DABS) ground sensors and 30 compatible transponders. This new advanced radar beacon system was designed to eventually replace ATCRBS, the existing air traffic control radar beacon system (see December 27, 1963). The chief advantage of DABS was its ability to interrogate and receive a transponder reply from a specific aircraft rather than from all aircraft in the zone of coverage. This would help eliminate the problem of overlapping and garbling of transponder replies from aircraft flying in close proximity to one another. Since DABS would address aircraft on an individual basis, it would also provide a vehicle for automatic communications between aircraft and the ground. This data link capability was seen as the basis for future implementation of a ground-based collision avoidance system called Intermittent Positive Control (IPC), later designated the Automatic Traffic Advisory and Resolution System (ATARS). (See March 1976.)
19840304: FAA began a 90-day National Air Transportation Inspection (NATI) of 237 major and commuter airlines and 25 air transportation support organizations (see February 13, 1984). NATI began with “white glove” examinations to identify deificiencies that became the focus of in-depth inspections during the second phase of the program, which ran April 7-June 5. On December 12, 1984, the Department of Transportation announced that NATI had shown 95 percent of the airlines to be in compliance with safety rules. Sixteen airlines had deficiencies sufficient to warrant revocation or voluntary surrender of their certificates, suspension or curtailment of their operations, aircraft groundings, or withdrawal of pilots from service for a period of time.
In addition to NATI, FAA undertook a Safety Activity Functional Evaluation (Project SAFE), a review of the agency’s safety inspection program. During the course of SAFE, the project’s scope broadened from an initial focus on inspectors to a comprehensive review of the Flight Standards function. The findings of the review, announced on November 6, 1985, included a plan for revamping the safety inspection program. The plan, portions of which had already been implemented, included: increased standardization of inspection practices and interpretation of rules; a high-priority effort to update safety regulations; increased use of the automated Aviation Safety Analysis System (see October 26, 1982); and strong management oversight. (See June 19, 1984, and August 16, 1985.)
19890304: Upon the expiration of a Federally imposed cooling-off period, the union representing Eastern’s machinists went on strike, supported by large numbers of the airline’s pilots and flight attendants. Approximately ninety percent of Eastern’s planes were grounded. The airline’s attempt legally to force pilots back to work failed on March 7, when a Federal judge ruled that the pilots could continue their sympathy strike. On March 9, Eastern filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. On November 21, President Bush vetoed legislation which would have set up a commission to investigate the dispute between Eastern’s unions and its management. The next day, leaders of the pilot union voted to end their strike, and on November 23 the flight attendant union also told its members to return to work. The machinists’ strike continued. (See June 2, 1988, and April 18, 1990.)
20140304: FAA issued a final rule adopting more stringent noise certification standards for helicopters certificated in the U.S. The rule applied to applications for a new helicopter type design. It also allowed applicants to upgrade Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters to Stage 3 when applying for a supplemental type certificate. A helicopter type-certificated under this standard would be designated as a Stage 3 helicopter. This rule adopted the same noise certification standards for helicopters that existed in ICAO standards. The effective date of the new regulation was May 5, 2014. (September 18, 2013.)
20150304: FAA issued a final rule amending the maintenance regulations for domestic, flag, and supplemental operations, and for commuter and on-demand operations for aircraft type certificated with a passenger seating configuration of 10 seats or more (excluding any pilot seat). The new rules required affected air carriers and operators to develop policies, procedures, methods, and instructions for performing contract maintenance acceptable to FAA; the rules also mandated the new policies, procedures, methods, and instructions be included in the air carrier and operator maintenance manuals. The rules required the air carriers and operators to provide FAA with a list of their maintenance personnel.
20160304: DOT published a final rule in the Federal Register banning passengers on all U.S. and foreign airlines within, into, or out of the U.S. from smoking electronic cigarettes. The ban took effect on April 3. (See October 26, 2015; May 18, 2016.)
20190304: Commercial service began at Paine Field in Everett, WA, as Alaska Airlines began operations from the airport’s new passenger terminal. The airport, also called the Snohomish Country Airport, had previously been used only for Boeing’s test flights. FAA had approved the start of commercial flight at the airport on February 20, 2019.