This Day in FAA History: April 1st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19460401: CAA assumed custody from the Army of the files and records relating to instrument approach procedures, and became responsible for processing and approving standardized instrument approach procedures for all civil airports under CAA’s jurisdiction. (See May 1, 1945.)
19460401: Standards for the Control of Instrument Flight Rule Traffic, a manual approved by the operations executives of the Army Air Forces, Navy, Coast Guard, and CAA, became effective. Its adoption recognized the need for common procedures in the control of civil-military air traffic.
19480401: CAA assumed administrative control of the Landing Aids Experimental Station at Arcata, Calif. The station was a joint civil-military, government-industry facility concerned primarily with testing equipment and techniques for bad-weather landings.
19520401: All CAA facilities began using a new phonetic alphabet replacing the familiar “Able-BakerCharlie.” Recently adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the new alphabet used words with almost the same pronunciation in all languages.
19590401: British Overseas Airways Corporation completed the first turbine-powered airline passenger flight around the world, (in this case, both turbojet and turboprop aircraft were used). The airline began this service on a regular basis on August 22, 1959. (See October 10, 1959.)
19590401: Three air defense identification zones (ADIZs) were eliminated and flight requirements within the remaining zones were relaxed effective this date. Elimination of the Western, Eastern, and Presque Isle Identification Zones became possible by the complete encirclement of the United States following establishment of an ADIZ in the Gulf of Mexico on February l. (See December 1, 1955.)
19600401: The United States launched Tiros I, the first of a successful series of weather satellites. Equipped with long-range television cameras, the satellite transmitted 22,952 cloud-cover photos during the 78 days that its instruments functioned.
19600401: In answer to an October 1958 suggestion by the United States, the Soviet Union informed Washington that it was ready to negotiate for regular airline traffic between the two countries. On May l , however, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down inside the Soviet Union. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev used the incident as grounds for pulling out of the Paris summit conference scheduled for later in the month. Khrushchev subsequently made increasing verbal attacks on the United States, and a U.S. RB-47 was shot down over international waters off Soviet territory. Because of this deterioration in relations, the United States on July 14 postponed scheduled talk on a bilateral agreement for the exchange of commercial air rights. On August 2, however, a Soviet delegation arrived in the United States in an exchange program between the two countries in the field of civil air transportation. The visit was part of the cultural and scientific exchange agreement signed in November 1959. In mid-September, a group of U. S. aviation experts headed by the FAA Administrator began a three-week tour of Soviet civil air transport operations and facilities. (See November 4, 1966.)
19620401: FAA commissioned the Fort Worth air traffic control center’s new building. Other new center buildings commissioned during 1962 were: Kansas City, April 30; Denver, May 1; Memphis, May 5; Minneapolis, July 1, Seattle, August 1; Salt Lake City, October 1; Indianapolis, November 1; and Chicago, December 1.
19630401: As an initial move in decentralizing its international aviation activities, FAA established a Europe, Africa, and Middle East region. Within its geographical area, the new regional organization represented the Administrator and unified authority for all FAA activities except the supervision of technical assistance programs. The new region assumed responsibility for the European, African, and Middle Eastern activities of the agency’s international field offices, the Committee for European Airspace Coordination representatives, systems research and development offices, and air traffic control advisers. Headed by an Assistant Administrator, the new organization became fully operational on September 1, 1963. By that date, London had been selected as its headquarters. (See July 17, 1963, and May 1, 1965.)
19640401: Executive Order 11149 established the President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport (SST) to advise President Lyndon B. Johnson on “all aspects of the supersonic transport program.” The committee’s original membership included Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara (chairman), Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, Commerce Secretary Luther H. Hodges, NASA Administrator James E. Webb, FAA Administrator N. E. Halaby, CIA Director John A. McCone, and two private citizens: Eugene R. Black, former president of the World Bank, and Stanley de J. Osborne, Chairman of the Board of Olin Mathieson. The committee remained in existence until September 5, 1968, when it was terminated by the President.
Also on April 1, 1964, FAA’s Deputy Administrator for SST Development Gordon Bain reported on the results of a evaluation made in Phase I of the SST design competition. A 210-person Federal team gave the highest competitive scores to the Boeing variable-sweep wing airframe design and the General Electric after-burning turbojet engine design. In transmitting these results to Administrator Halaby, Bain recommended that the two companies be selected to go into a one-year noncompetitive detailed-design phase. (See January 15 and May 20, 1964.)
19650401: A British Overseas Airways Corporation BAC Super VC-l0 became the first British-built turbojet to cross the Atlantic (London to New York) on a scheduled passenger run since the Comet IV ceased transatlantic operations in 1961.
19670401: The Department of Transportation (DOT) began operations. At the same time, FAA ceased to be the independent Federal Aviation Agency and became the Federal Aviation Administration, a modal agency within the new Department. (See March 2, 1966, October 15, 1966, and January 16, 1967.)
19680401: Consolidation of several airlines in Alaska occurred as Alaska Coastal Airlines merged into Alaska Airlines, which had absorbed Cordova Airlines on February 1, 1968. On the same day, a merger of Northern Consolidated Airlines and Wien Alaska Airlines created a new intrastate carrier, Wien Consolidated Airlines.
19700401: Extensive amendments establishing additional operating requirements for air taxi and commercial operators of small aircraft became effective. The new rules reflected many of the operating requirements of major air carriers, and were designed to fit the growing complexity of air taxi operations. (See September 7, 1964, and December 1, 1978.)
19750401: Effective this date, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was separated entirely from the Department of Transportation, in accordance with Title III of the Transportation Safety Act of 1974. Previously, NTSB had been an independent agency lodged within the Department for administrative purposes. In enacting Title III, Congress declared that the NTSB could not properly conduct its responsibility of determining the probable cause of transportation accidents without total separation and independence. (See October 15, 1966.)
19770401: John L. McLucas’ resignation as Federal Aviation Administrator became effective. The post of Acting Administrator was assumed by Quentin S. Taylor, an FAA executive who was President Carter’s nominee for Deputy Administrator. (See entries for May 4, 1977.)
19870401: Western Airlines merged into Delta Air Lines.
19880401: Barbara McConnell Barrett became FAA’s Deputy Administrator, succeeding Richard H. Jones (see December 13, 1984). A previous nominee, Lawrence M. Hecker, had withdrawn in September (see May 14, 1987).
Born in Indiana County, Pa., Barrett earned three degrees from Arizona State University (B.S., 1972; M.B.A, 1975; J.D., 1978). She held positions with Greyhound Corp. and Southwest Forest Industries, Inc., and in 1982 became Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Barrett served as the Board’s Vice Chairman, 1983-84. She then practiced law as a partner at the firm of Evans, Kitchel, and Jenckes in Phoenix, Ariz., until becoming the first woman to occupy the FAA’s Deputy position. Barrett served the remainder of the Reagan Administration, and resigned effective January 20, 1989. (See March 12, 1990.)
19910401: A Northwest Airlines 747 began a series of test flights in Soviet airspace as part of a cooperative program to develop a satellite navigation system in which aircraft would receive signals from both the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Soviet Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). A US/USSR exchange of receivers took place in Montreal on April 27. GPS was a satellite-based radio-navigation system controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense. When completed, it would include 24 satellites orbiting 11,000 miles above the earth. At an International Civil Aviation Organization meeting on September 5, 1991, FAA Administrator Busey announced that the United States was offering world civil aviation the use of its GPS for at least 10 years, starting in 1993 when the system was to be fully operational. (See May 23, 1983, and October 14, 1992.)
19960401: Effective this date, reforms gave FAA new flexibility on personnel and procurement policies, a change made possible by legislative relief from various statutory requirements (see November 15, 1995). Teams of FAA personnel had helped to establish procedures for implementing the reforms. The new acquisition management system aimed at reducing the time and cost of acquiring systems and services while making the acquisition workforce more accountable. The new personnel system was intended to speed recruitment and to reward outstanding employees while dealing effectively with substandard performance.
In accordance with reform legislation, all FAA employees became part of a new Federal Aviation Service (FAS) on this date. The FAS was designated an “excepted service” in contrast to the “competitive service” to which most Federal personnel belonged. FAA was no longer subject to certain Office of Personnel Management rules on filling positions and related actions, but its employees continued to enjoy a range of legal protections that applied to other Federal workers. Unionized FAA employees retained their representational status, as provided for by legislation that had been enacted on March 29. Later in the year, FAA reauthorization legislation enacted further reform measures (see entry for September 30, 1996).
19960401: DOT and FAA announced a program of special pay incentives for seven hard-to-staff air traffic control facilities in or near Oakland, Chicago, and New York City. The program affected about 2,200 employees, including controllers, flight service data processing specialists, technicians, and certain technical staff and managers. They received a 10 percent raise, with 7 percent effective April 14 and the remainder effective by mid-October 1996. At the same time, DOT Secretary Peña announced that delivery of new computers to five en route control centers under the Display Channel Complex Rehost (DCCR) project would be speeded by 10 months (see August 1, 1995). The first of these DCCR systems became operational at the Chicago center in January 1997.
19970401: A groundbreaking ceremony for the world’s first full-scale airport pavement test facility took place at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center. FAA and Boeing partnered to create the facility. (See May 20, 1996; April 12, 1999.)
19990401: President Clinton signed Public Law 106-6, Interim Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.
20000401: FAA ordered immediate inspections of 14 Boeing 717-200 airliners to check for potential electrical problems in their integrated standby instrument system altitude displays. The AD required modification before further flight. The mandate followed reports of two instances of intermittent loss of altitude data on the captain and first officer’s primary flight display and the altitude display. In both cases, the airspeed and attitude indication remained operational and the flights continued to their destinations without further incident.
20010401: Thirty-one airports were the first to be permitted to begin collecting Passenger Facility Charges (PFC) at a $4.50 level. Since that date, an additional 259 airports have collected at a $4.50 PFC level.
20020401: Under contract to FAA’s Capstone Program Office in Anchorage, Alaska, General Dynamics Decision Systems, successfully demonstrated a direct small aircraftto-satellite navigation communications data link capability. Using a Motorola hand-held satellite telephone in a University of Alaska Cessna 180, General Dynamics conducted its proof-of-concept demonstration, transmitting a live stream of aircraft position data, via the Iridium satellite system, to the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center. The test flight departed Merrill Field, proceeded along the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet, past Pioneer Peak, and continued deep into the Knik Glacier valley. (See January 1, 2001; July 1, 2002.)
20040401: FAA issued the world’s first license for a sub-orbital manned rocket flight. The license was issued to Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, headed by aviation record-holder Burt Rutan, for a sequence of sub-orbital flights spanning a one-year period. The FAA sub-orbital space flight license was required for U.S. contenders in the X-Prize competition, a high-stakes international race ultimately to launch a manned, reusable private vehicle into space and return it safely to Earth. The X- Prize foundation would award $10 million to the first company or organization to launch a vehicle capable of carrying three people to a height of 100 kilometers (62.5 miles), return them safely to Earth, and repeat the flight with the same vehicle within two weeks. April 23, FAA announced it had issued a second license for a manned sub-orbital rocket flight to XCOR Aerospace Inc. of Mojave, California, which sought to develop a passenger carrying space vehicle for adventure travelers in the future. June 21, SpaceShipOne reached a record altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles), making pilot Mike Melville the first civilian to fly a spaceship out of the atmosphere. September 29, 2004, Melville successfully reached suborbital space for a second time. October 4, Brian Binnie successfully flew the second orbital flight in the prescribed timeframe. The X-Prize foundation awarded its $10 million prize to Scaled Composites for being the first company to launch a vehicle capable of carrying three people to a height of 100 kilometers (62.5 miles), return them safely to Earth, and repeat the flight with the same vehicle within two weeks. (See April 3, 2002; July 2, 2004.)
20050401: FAA proposed a rule that would require operators of more than 800 Boeing aircraft registered in the U.S. to replace or modify certain insulation blankets over the next six years. Aircraft insulation blankets protect the passengers and crew from engine noise and frigid temperatures at high altitudes. The discovery that some insulation blankets coated with a film called AN-26 no longer met the standards for preventing the spread of fire had prompted the proposed airworthiness directive. (See September 2, 2003.)
20160401: Under a new rule effective this date aviation medical examiners could no longer issue student pilot certificates. Instead, new pilots had to use a process similar to that used by private pilots. Student pilots had to apply for certificates through their certified flight instructor, a designated pilot examiner, FAA examiner, or Part 141 flight school certificate representative. The changes gave the Transportation Security Administration time to review student pilot applications as part of an anti-terrorism screening program mandated by Congress.