This Day in FAA History: March 20th

19280320: The Department of Commerce announced the award of contracts for equipment that included 12 new radio stations capable keeping pilots advised of changes in weather conditions while they were in flight. At that time, the Department was operating 17 radio stations that had been received when it assumed responsibility for the transcontinental airway (see July 1, 1927). Known as Airway Radio Stations under Commerce, the facilities served as gathering points for data on weather and flights for use in preflight briefings for pilots. The stations transmitted this information along the airways by radiotelegraphy. (Soon, however, teletypewriter communications via ground lines began to be used for this purpose: see July 1, 1928) During January 1929, the Department reported that three stations were now broadcasting hourly voice weather reports to aircraft in flight. When necessary for safety, the stations also accepted messages from operating companies and transmitted them to pilots aloft. By June 30, 1929, 11 new standard stations had replaced older stations with obsolete arc-type equipment, and new radio equipment was installed at nine other locations. All these stations transmitted scheduled voice broadcasts. By mid-1933, there were 68 radio communication stations, and a growing number of pilots were able to send as well as receive transmissions. At the end of the following year, radio-equipped aircraft flying the airways included 326 with two-way radio and 449 with receiving sets only.
19650320: FAA’s first regulation providing penalties for cheating and improper conduct in connection with airman tests and related records became effective. The new rule imposed an automatic one-year disqualification from receiving a certificate or rating as a sanction for cheating or other irregularities. Such misconduct might also result in the suspension or revocation of certificates or ratings already held.
19690320: FAA published a proposal to require air taxis and small aircraft flown by commercial operators to carry crash locator beacons and other survival equipment. FAA’s proposal referred to public and congressional concern generated in recent years by accidents in which survivors had perished because rescuers could not locate the crash site. The agency also noted the expansion of air taxi operations to include larger aircraft over longer routes, and the disappearance in February 1969 of a DC-3 on an air taxi flight from Hawthorne, Nev. (See February 26, 1968, and December 29, 1970.)
19970320: FAA published an interim final rule establishing fees, effective May 19, 1997, for providing air traffic and related services to aircraft that overfly the United States but do not land or takeoff from U.S. territory. (See May 19, 1997.)
20120320: The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission voted to rename the Little Rock National Airport the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field.
20140320: FAA issued its second study of general aviation (GA) airports called “ASSET 2: In-Depth Review of the 497 Unclassified Airports.” The original ASSET, study completed in 2012, categorized nearly 3,000 GA airports into four areas: national, regional, local, and basic. In addition, the study defined the vital and diverse roles small airports play in the national air transportation system. However, 497 airports did not fit into a category under the original study. In January 2013, FAA began working with airport sponsors, state aviation offices, and industry stakeholders to conduct an in-depth review of the unclassified airports to consider all available information. As a result, FAA placed 212 airports into one of the four categories. The study also discovered four airports closed to the public or no longer serving as active airfields. The remaining 281 airports were unable to meet minimum criteria for an existing category. Although the agency could not determine a federal role for these airports, they remained in the national plan of integrated airport systems (NPIAS) plan as unclassified. FAA planned to monitor their activity level and role for possible changes.
20150320: FAA extended the prohibition of flight operations within the Tripoli FIR by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by FAA, except when such persons operated a U.S. registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except operators of such aircraft that were foreign air carriers. The extension of the expiration date was necessary to address a potential hazard to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations. Additionally, FAA made clear operations by subcontractors under a U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality’s contract, grant, or cooperative agreement might be included in an approval request. The action extended the prohibition to March 20, 2017. (See March 21, 2014; March 15, 2017.)
20200320: FAA announced it would allow air carrier personnel to perform temporarily flight dispatch and flight following duties from their homes on a case by case basis, provided carrier personnel could show they could do so safely.