This Day in FAA History: March 9th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19500309: CAA awarded its largest contract in history for the purchase of 450 distance-measuring equipment (DME) ground stations. The $4,210,750 contract to the Hazeltine Electronics Corporation included spare parts.
19610309: Administrator Halaby launched an “air share” program under which he and other top FAA officials met the general aviation community in a series of “hangar sessions” to discuss changes in the Civil Air Regulations. These meetings afforded airmen the opportunity to “air” their views and “share” the benefits of improved rules for safe flying. In October 1961, 90 air share meetings were held throughout the nation on a single day.
19720309: Sabotage incidents prompted new security measures. On March 7, a bomb planted as part of an extortion plot against Trans World Airlines was discovered and defused aboard an airliner at New York’s Kennedy Airport. On March 9, another bomb damaged a TWA airliner parked at Las Vegas, and a third was found aboard a United Air Lines jet at Seattle. That same day, President Nixon ordered into immediate effect an FAA rule published on March 7 that had required scheduled air carriers and certain commercial operators of large aircraft to submit written security programs no later than June 5, 1972. The President’s directive required the airlines to implement their programs immediately, and to submit them for formal approval by May 8. The programs were to prevent or deter unauthorized persons, baggage, or cargo from entering the carrier’s aircraft, and were to include the procedures the carrier intended to use in the mandatory passenger screening system (see February 2, 1972). The rule also specified certain procedures to be followed in the event of a bomb or air piracy threat.
On March 9, the President also ordered that new security rules for airport operators be expedited. On March 18, 1972, FAA published a rule applicable to operators of airports regularly served by air carriers using large aircraft. Such operators were required to take prescribed actions to prevent or deter unauthorized access to designated air operations areas, and to submit written security programs for FAA approval by June 16, 1972. (See January 3, 1989.)
On March 15, a cabinet-level task force formed by President Nixon and chaired by Transportation Secretary Volpe approved the following steps:
* Increased personnel for FAA’s Security Task Force.
* Deployment of sky marshals from airborne duty to posts at major airports.
* Increased research and development funding for weapons and explosives detection systems.
* Use of trained dogs for detection of explosives at major airports and the training of additional dogs.
* Expedited prosecution of extortion and hijacking suspects.
(See December 5, 1972.)
19880309: Secretary of Transportation James H. Burnley announced the creation of a Secretary’s Task Force on Internal Reforms of the FAA, co-chaired by FAA Administrator McArtor and DOT’s Assistant Secretary for Administration. The task force was charged with examining ways to eliminate marginal, non-safety expenditures and to improve the procurement process. It was instructed to place a high priority on reviewing FAA’s regional structure, which Burnley described as outdated and a cause of inconsistency in interpreting national standards. On April 28, DOT and FAA announced that the task force’s recommendations would include a variety of improvements in practices and procedures, including “straightlining” of reporting relationships. Under this arrangement, regional division managers in key programs would report to to Associate Administrators at national headquarters rather than to the Regional Directors. (See September 15, 1984, and June 16, 1988.)
20090309: FAA announced it had convened a new Aviation Rulemaking Committee to develop recommendations for comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) rulemaking. The ARC initially comprised 12 people from across the aviation industry, but membership was expected to grow as working groups formed to delve into the application of SMS to the various industry sectors. FAA planned to release an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking later in the year that would provide a starting point for the SMS rule. The ARC had a three-year charter. (See October 7, 2010.)
20110309: FAA and Sensis Corporation received the Jane’s Airport Review Runway Safety Award at the 2011 ATC Global Exhibition and Conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This was the first year for the runway safety award category, which recognized a contribution to improved safety on or near the runway. The award recognized FAA’s deployment of Sensis Corporation’s airport surface detection equipment, model X (ASDE-X) technology at 35 major U.S. airports, including five of the world’s ten busiest airports. (See July 29, 2010.)
20160309: FAA issued a NPRM to overhaul the airworthiness standards for small general aviation airplanes (Part 23). FAA’s proposal, based on industry recommendations, would reduce the time it took to get safety enhancing technologies for small airplanes into the marketplace, while also reducing cost. (See December 16, 2016.)