This Day in FAA History: March 5th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19520305: CAA commissioned the Norfolk air route traffic control center.
19620305: In Griggs v. Allegheny County, the U. S. Supreme Court held that noise from low-flying aircraft had interfered with the use and enjoyment of Grigg’s residential property near a runway to such an extent as to constitute a “taking” of an air easement for which compensation must be made. In Causby v. United States (see May 27, 1946), the Court had ruled that such an easement had been taken by the Federal government, which was the owner/operator of the aircraft in that case. In Griggs, however, the Court asserted that Allegheny County, Pa., as the “the promoter, owner, and lessor of the airport” took the air easement. The Court absolved the airlines and the Federal government of any taking, stating that it was Allegheny County that decided, subject to Civil Aeronautics Administration approval, “where the airport would be built, what runways it would need, their direction and length, and what land and navigation easements would be needed.” The Court concluded that, in designing the airport, the County had not acquired enough private property to satisfy constitutional standards. (See December 13, 1956, and May 14, 1973.)
19690305: A Puerto Rico International Airlines (PRINAIR) de Havilland 114 Heron crashed near San Juan, P.R., killing all 19 persons aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) listed the probable cause as the vectoring of the aircraft into mountainous terrain by a controller performing beyond the safe limits of his performance capability and without adequate supervision. NTSB noted that a routine psychological test in 1966 had suggested that the controller suffered from high anxiety and low stress tolerance. He then received psychiatric and psychological examinations, after which the regional flight surgeon pronounced him fit for duty. NTSB concluded the controller’s problems with anxiety and stress, in combination with other factors, might have caused his inadequate duty performance. NTSB therefore recommended that FAA expand the psychiatric and psychological assessment of controllers, and place such assessment under the strict supervision of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. In reply, FAA pointed to the appointment of a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists to assist the Federal Air Surgeon.
19710305: DOT released the report of its investigation of air charter and leasing companies undertaken following an accident on October 2, 1970 (see that date). The investigating task force determined the key problem was the difficulty of enforcing the distinction in the safety regulations between large-airplane operators in private carriage for compensation or hire and other large-airplane operations in private carriage. Among the group’s recommendations were: distributing to universities and other organizations flyers explaining the differences between leasing an aircraft and hiring a charter; incorporating a truth-inleasing clause in leases; and requiring that all large and complex airplanes be operated and maintained at a safety level comparable to that of air carriers. FAA immediately carried out the recommendation on the distribution of flyers, and later took action on the truth-in-leasing issue (see January 3, 1973). On October 7, 1971, however, FAA withdrew a proposed rule that would have placed certain new certification requirements on operators of large aircraft in private carriage. FAA took this action on the ground that the proposal would impose unnecessary administrative burdens on corporate or business aircraft operators, but the agency continued to consider ways to upgrade the safety of large general aviation aircraft. (See October 23, 1972.)
19800305: FAA abolished the Office of Investigations and Security and transferred its internal security functions to the Office of Civil Aviation Security. Earlier, the fraud and abuse investigative functions of the Office of Investigations and Security had been transferred to the new Office of Inspector General, in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.
19900305: FAA’s Administrator Busey announced a new policy on fostering compliance with FAA regulations by private pilots. He described a series of changes emphasizing communication and education rather than sanctions. Also in March, and as part of that program, Busey revoked the enforcement bulletin implementing a 60-day suspension of the certificate of any pilot who violated a Terminal Control Area (see October 10, 1986). Instead, inspectors were allowed to recommend lesser penalities and remedial training for the infraction.
19920305: Effective this date, FAA chartered the Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technician Shortage Blue Ribbon Panel. On September 27, 1993, FAA announced the results of the panel’s study, which forsaw a possible shortage of experienced personnel within three to five years. The panel considered the fundamental solution was to focus education and training programs on industry needs, and made 13 recommendations to that address the problem.
19970305: Department of Transportation Secretary Slater announced that U.S. airlines had recorded a third straight year of strong growth. The announcement followed release of a FAA annual commercial aviation forecast.
20000305: Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, a Boeing 737-300, overran the departure end of Runway 8 after landing at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, Burbank, California. The airplane touched down at approximately 182 knots. About 20 seconds later, at approximately 32 knots, the airplane collided with a metal blast fence and an airport perimeter wall. The airplane came to rest on a city street near a gas station beyond the airport property. Of the 142 persons on board, two sustained serious injuries; 41 passengers and the captain sustained minor injuries; and 94 passengers, three flight attendants, and the first officer sustained no injuries. The airplane sustained extensive damage and some internal damage to the passenger cabin. June 26, 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the strongest probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s excessive airspeed and flight path angle during the approach and landing. NTSB also noted that the crew had failed to abort the approach when stabilized approach criteria were not met. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller’s positioning of the airplane, which was too high, too fast, and too close to the runway threshold. As a result, no safe options existed for the flight crew other than a go-around maneuver. Despite all of these factors, however, NTSB concluded that, had the accident flight crew applied maximum manual brakes immediately upon touchdown, the airplane would likely have stopped before impacting the blast fence. (See March 14, 2000.)
20090305: FAA announced it had no plans to ground Eclipse Aviation’s EA500 despite the company’s recent announcement it had entered Chapter 7 liquidation. With all Eclipse operations (including certification, production, service centers, training centers, and dealers) closed, FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) that requested owners and operators of the Eclipse Model EA500 aircraft to report all unsafe conditions that may exist on the aircraft to its Airplane Certification Office in Fort Worth, Texas. Owners and operators could still fly their aircraft as long as it was in an airworthy condition in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91.