This Day in FAA History: April 10th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19360410: The President signed legislation that extended the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act to airline employees. The act guaranteed the right of collective bargaining and provided mechanisms, such as mediation and arbitration, for settling labor-management issues. It also provided for investigation of representation disputes and for certification of employee organizations as representatives of crafts or classes of carrier employees.
19530410: The U.S. Air Force decided to proceed with the production of SAGE (Semiautomatic Ground Environment), an electronic defense system developed by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. (See July 10, 1956.)
19700410: Some 3,000 air traffic controllers, all members of PATCO, engaged in a “sick-out” strike. All but a few of those involved were en route, rather than terminal, controllers. Some remained absent for a day or two, others for the entire 17-day period. The work stoppage reflected widespread discontent, but its immediate trigger was FAA’s decision to ignore PATCO’s protests and carry out the involuntary transfer of three controllers from the Baton Rouge combined station-tower. The absentees claimed sick leave, but the Department of Transportation viewed their action as a strike against the U.S. government and hence illegal. The government obtained temporary restraining orders against PATCO. When the union failed to comply with these orders, a show-cause order was obtained against its officers. During the hearing on the show-cause order, PATCO agreed to call off the “sickout.” FAA suspended nearly 1,000 controllers and fired 52 for their role in the affair. (See February 18, 1970, and April 23, 1970.)
19840410: Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen (USN, Ret.) became the ninth FAA Administrator, succeeding J. Lynn Helms (see April 22, 1981). The Senate had received the nomination on March 12 and confirmed it on April 5. Congress enacted Public Law 98-256 to exempt Engen from the statute prohibiting military officers from serving as FAA Administrator.
Engen was born in 1924 in Pomona, Calif. He held a B.A. from George Washington University, and had graduated with distinction from the Naval War College. Engen began flying with the Navy during World War II and participated in the air and sea battles that accompanied the recapture of the Philippines and attacks on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other Pacific Islands. Among his 29 wartime decorations was the Navy Cross, the Navy’s highest award for valor. After a brief return to civilian status following the war, Engen rejoined the Navy in 1946. He flew combat missions in the Korean War, became an engineering test pilot, and served in positions that included command of an aircraft carrier. He was Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet at the time of his retirement from the Navy in 1978. Engen was General Manager of the Piper Aircraft Corporation plant in Lakeland, Fla., 1978-80, and then became a Senior Associate with Kentron, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Va. He was appointed a member of the National Transportation Safety Board in June 1982, and remained in that position until joining FAA. During his military and civilian career, Engen had flown more than 220 different aircraft, including the Navy’s first jets. He served as FAA Administrator for three years and two months. (See March 18, 1987.)
20000410: FAA established a permanent mentor protégé program designed to broaden the agency’s contractor base by encouraging prime contractors to mentor socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses. In April 1997, the agency had implemented a pilot program that successfully enhanced the capabilities of small businesses to work on high-tech FAA contracts and subcontracts. The permanent program would further invite FAA prime contractors and subcontractors to assist or partner with small socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, historically black colleges and universities, minority institutions, and women-owned small businesses.
20000410: FAA announced that the International Civil Aviation Organization had found that the agency met safety oversight standards for international aviation in a first-ever audit conducted June 1999.
20010410: FAA announced its agreement with recommendations in the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Independent Review Board (IRB) report issued earlier in the month. Chartered by the FAA, the IRB said its technical review showed that WAAS would actually work better than the FAA had previously estimated and, when fielded, would likely provide significant additional aviation safety. The board, which met from August to December of 2000, recommended that FAA remain fully committed to the evolution of WAAS, and concluded that national WAAS capability could be achieved with the FAA’s renewed leadership, action, and commitment. It further stated that WAAS had enormous benefits for all global positioning system (GPS) users. (See August 24, 2000; July 11, 2003.)
20140410: FAA reinstated a Category 1 rating to the Republic of the Philippines following the agency’s determination in March the country met ICAO safety standards. The country held a Category 1 rating until January 2008, when FAA downgraded it to a Category 2 because of its failure to meet certain safety criteria. (See March 7, 2014; June 27, 2014.)
20150410: Auburn University announced it had received FAA approval to operate the nation’s first UAS flight school. (See February 15, 2015; May 6, 2015.)
20180410: Bye Aerospace’s prototype Sun Flyer 2, an electrically powered fixed-wing aircraft, made its first flight. (See April 26, 2018.)