This Day in FAA History: March 6th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19650306: A Navy Sikorsky SH-3A made the first helicopter nonstop flight across the North American continent, covering 2,116-miles in 15 hours 52 minutes. The helicopter flew from an aircraft carrier at San Diego, Calif., to another carrier at Mayport, Fla.
19720306: FAA announced the establishment of an FAA-Industry Area Navigation Task Force to advise and assist the agency in the further application of its area navigation system. The action followed a January 24-25, FAA-sponsored international symposium on area navigation that pointed up a need to review FAA’s program. In subsequent months the task force conducted in-depth studies and tests to assess the system’s value and to determine how area navigation could most effectively be implemented. The test results generally confirmed the advantages previously supposed (see October 1, 1969) — that area navigation provided cost benefits by allowing an aircraft en route to stay higher longer and thus conserve fuel, and to arrive at the descent point at precisely the correct time for a letdown without delays. In addition, by extensively analyzing terminal area operations, the tests confirmed that area navigation equipment could be used to move traffic at the same level of efficiency as radar vectors while reducing controller workload by restoring greater responsibility to the cockpit. By the end of fiscal 1973, a nationwide system of high-altitude area navigation routes had been established consisting of approximately 156 route segments.
19840306: FAA published an amendment to the High Density Rule under which four of the nation’s busiest airports had long been subject to flight quotas during certain hours (see June 1, 1969). Effective April 1, the new rule increased the hours that limitations at Chicago’s O’Hare were applicable, yet increased the number of operations permitted at the airport. It also slightly increased the operations allowed at New York’s La Guardia and Kennedy, while restrictions at Washington National remained unchanged. Hourly quotas on IFR operations were: O’Hare, 155; La Guardia, 68; and Washington National, 60. At Kennedy, hourly quotas varied between 77 and 93. (See December 20, 1985.)
As of this date, only four of the nation’s airports remained subject to strike-related restrictions imposed under the Interim Operations Plan: O’Hare, La Guardia, Denver’s Stapleton, and Los Angeles International. On April 1, 1984, these limitations ended at Stapleton, La Guardia, and O’Hare, although the latter two remained subject to the High Density Rule. The nation’s last strike-related landing restrictions ended on August 26, 1984, at Los Angeles, where runway repairs and Olympic Games traffic had delayed return to normal operations.
19900306: FAA issued a rule requiring private aircraft flying into or out of the country through an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to be equipped with altitude-reporting (Mode C) transponders by December 30. (See September 1, 1987.)
19900306: An SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft landed at Dulles International after a record-breaking 68 minute flight from the Pacific coast, and was then retired to the National Air and Space Museum collection.
20000306: FAA broke ground for a new regional air traffic control center on a 33- acre site in Vint Hill, Fauquier County, Virginia, that would replace the radar monitoring facilities at Baltimore-Washington International, Dulles International, Reagan Washington National, and Andrews Air Force Base. The new TRACON would guide aircraft within about a 75-mile radius of Washington, DC. (See January 7, 1999; December 14, 2002.)
20080306: FAA initiated an action to collect a $10.2 million civil penalty from Southwest Airlines for operating 46 airplanes without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking. Subsequently, the airline found that six of the 46 airplanes had fatigue cracks. From June 18, 2006 to March 14, 2007, FAA alleged that Southwest Airlines operated 46 Boeing 737 airplanes on 59,791 flights while failing to comply with a September 8, 2004, airworthiness directive that required repetitive inspections of certain fuselage areas to detect fatigue cracking. FAA alleged that after Southwest Airlines discovered it had failed to accomplish the required repetitive inspections, between March 15, 2007 and March 23, 2007, it continued to operate those same 46 airplanes on an additional 1,451 flights. The amount of the civil penalty reflected the serious nature of those deliberate violations. Southwest Airlines had 30 days from receipt of FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency. (See March 18, 2008.)
20120306: FAA and the A6 alliance of European air navigation service providers signed a joint statement to work toward an interoperable aviation system. Representatives agreed to create a forum to enhance collaboration on the deployment and implementation of NextGen and SESAR. (See February 14, 2012; August 27, 2012.)