This Day in FAA History: March10th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19340310: President Roosevelt ordered temporary curtailment of air mail service by the Army Air Corps (see February 9, 1934) after accidents had taken the lives of ten Army fliers, four on the mail routes and six in related flying (training exercises and ferrying personnel). On March 19, the Air Corps resumed carrying the mail on reduced schedules. On May 8, mail service by commercial air companies began again on certain routes. Pending new air mail legislation, the companies operated under temporary, three-month contracts, renewable for three months (see June 12, 1934). The Air Corps’s participation was phased out, and its last scheduled mail flight was June 1, 1934.
19780310: The United States and the Netherlands signed a new international aviation agreement, based on the principle of free competition and regarded as a model for similar understandings that the United States hoped to negotiate. On March 17, the United States also announced a new agreement with the United Kingdom, within the context of the Bermuda II treaty (see July 23, 1977), making possible a range of lower fares between the two nations. During 1978, the United States concluded liberal new aviation agreements with Israel and several other nations. In an August 21 statement explaining its negotiating stance, the Carter Administration declared that “maximum consumer benefits can be best achieved through the preservation and extension of competition between airlines in a fair market place.”
19880310: Effective this date, FAA established a special flight route through the Los Angeles terminal control area (TCA) to accommodate general aviation aircraft wishing to transit the area. The action allowed small aircraft operating under visual flight rules (VFR) and carrying a Mode C transponder to follow the designated route through the TCA without the prior approval of Los Angeles approach control. The corridor was similar to one that had been closed effective August 19, 1987 (see that date).
19940310: FAA Administrator Hinson issued a memorandum announcing establishment of a Management Board with broader membership than that of the Executive Board (see January 28, 1989), which was disestablished. The new Board’s responsibilities included implementation of performance measures for FAA as well as oversight of tactical issues and of the agency’s strategic plan.
20000310: President Clinton, along with Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, announced FAA and the aviation industry were launching a new effort to improve the flow of air traffic during severe weather. The Spring/Summer 2000 severe-weather plan, slated to begin March 12 and to be fully phased in on April 1, would maximize the use of available air space, improve communications between FAA and the airline industry, and expand the use of new technology to help reduce weather-related delays. At that time, the president also charged FAA to develop, in 45 days, a broader plan for reform of the air traffic control system.
20060310: The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) challenged FAA in federal court over the legality of the agency’s changes to its drug- and alcohol-testing regulations. ARSA filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. circuit, claiming the updated testing regulations represented an “unnecessary burden that provides no aviation safety-related benefits.” The court filing argued that FAA violated several federal statutes, including the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Two repair stations and a non-certified maintenance provider joined the filing.
20080310: FAA mandated significant upgrades to aircraft cockpit voice and flight data recorders – improvements that would enable investigators to retrieve more data from accidents and incidents requiring investigation. Under the final rule, which affected manufacturers and operators of airplanes and helicopters with 10 or more seats, all voice recorders had to capture the last two hours of cockpit audio instead of the current 15 to 30 minutes. The new rule also required an independent backup power source for the voice recorders to allow continued recording for nine to eleven minutes if all aircraft power sources were lost or interrupted. Voice recorders were required to use solid state technology instead of magnetic tape, a medium shown to be vulnerable to damage and loss of reliability. Airplanes (but not helicopters) operating under Parts 121, 125, or 135 of FAA regulations had to retrofit some equipment by April 7, 2012. The rule also mandated these enhancements on all newly built aircraft and helicopters after April 7, 2010. (See September 26, 2007; October 2, 2007; April 5, 2010.)
20080310: Airlines serving Newark Liberty Airport agreed to temporarily cap and spread flights for two years at a level that would allow 30 more flights per day than during the previous summer. The cap, which would apply to both domestic and international flights, would allow an average of 83 flights per hour during peak periods and would go into effect in early May. (See January 14, 2008; April 16, 2008.)
20080310: Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced that the Department would move key elements of NextGen – the new satellite-based aviation system designed to enhance efficiency and minimize delays across the nation – from design to delivery in 2008. She said Florida would serve as the test-bed for the new system beginning the summer of 2008, with the introduction of NextGen at Daytona Beach. A new descent technique would also help to save fuel, and reduce noise and emissions in Miami. In addition, Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADSB) technology would help increase the capacity of airspace along Florida’s Gulf Coast by allowing planes to fly more closely together without compromising safety. (See September 26, 2007; May 8, 2008.)
20160310: Australian startup Flirtey made the first FAA-approved package delivery by an UAS to a house. During the test, working with the University of Nevada at Reno, Flirtey’s six-rotor small unmanned aerial system flew a preprogrammed route to deliver a package of food, water, and a first-aid kit to an unoccupied house in a sparsely inhabited area of Hawthorne, near Reno. Navigating by the global positioning system (GPS), with visual observers keeping the UAS within line of sight and a ground pilot on standby, the autonomous UAS flew approximately a half-mile, and then hovered to lower the package to the ground on a tether. In July 2015, Flirtey conducted the first FAA-approved package-delivery demonstration with its UAS making three trips over a 2-hour period to ferry medical supplies from a nearby airport to a free clinic held in fairgrounds near Wise, VA. (See February 24, 2016; December 28, 2016.)
20190310: A Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 people onboard. A Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 had crashed on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people onboard. China immediately ordered Chinese airlines to ground all 96 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft used on domestic flights. Twenty-two airlines and several countries followed China’s lead in grounding the aircraft. On March 13, FAA grounded the Boeing 737 Max when it became aware of new satellite data suggesting a link between the Ethiopian air crash and the earlier crash in Indonesia. Canada had grounded the aircraft earlier in the day. (See October 29, 2018; March 25, 2019.)