This Day in FAA History: April 11th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19570411: President Eisenhower transmitted to Congress an interim report by Edward P. Curtis, Special Assistant for Aviation Facilities Planning (see May 4, 1955). The report proposed the establishment of an Airways Modernization Board as a temporary organization to unite scattered responsibilities for system development and selection. Eisenhower stated that his Administration would submit legislation for the establishment of such a board and urged its early enactment.
On May 10, 1957, Curtis submitted to the President his final report on aviation facilities planning. The report warned of “a crisis in the making” as a result of the inability of the airspace management system to cope with growing congestion and complex patterns of civil and military traffic. Curtis recommended the establishment of an independent Federal Aviation Agency “into which are consolidated all the essential management functions necessary to support the common needs of the military and civil aviation of the United States.” Until such a permanent organization could be created, the Airways Modernization Board would function as an independent agency responsible for developing and consolidating the requirements for future systems of communications, navigation, and air traffic control. (See July 17, 1957.) Curtis’s specific recommendations for improving air traffic including setting aside all airspace above a designated altitude for controlled separation at all times, and dividing certain airspace below this zone into “funnels” and “cylinders” reserved for Intrument Flight Rule (IFR) traffic.
19620411: Simultaneous code-identification and voice broadcasts from air navigation facilities would soon be standard, FAA announced, as a result of modifications being made to VORs and VORTACs. Simultaneous broadcasts had been recommended for international adoption by the Seventh Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Communications Division.
19620411: Administrator Halaby announced the formation of a Technical Advisory Board to assist FAA in keeping abreast of science and technology in general, and to help in particular with the agency’s planning for modernizing the airspace system on the basis of the Project Beacon recommendations (see September 11, 1961). Richard R. Hough, Vice President for Engineering of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company served as chairman of the committee. Mr. Hough had previously served as chairman of the Project Beacon task force. Joseph D. Blatt, Director of FAA’s Aviation Research and Development Service became executive secretary. The five other members were drawn from the air carrier and aircraft-manufacturing industrys and the academic community.
19620411: FAA announced that the first appointee as Assistant Administrator for Appraisal would assume his duties on April 16, with responsibility for evaluating the agency’s operations both in Washington and the seven regions. On May 16, 1962, a formal order set forth the functions of the new Office of Appraisal.
19650411: The Federal government terminated subsidies that had been paid to three certificated helicopter airlines, New York Airways, Los Angeles Airways, and Chicago Helicopter Airways. The action was followed by the demise of Chicago Helicopter Airways at the end of 1965.
19720411: FAA established the General Aviation Accident Prevention Industry Advisory Committee, implementing a recommendation of a 1971 DOT report on general aviation safety (see September 15, 1971) and providing an advisory body for FAA’s General Aviation Accident Prevention Program (see November 30, 1970). The 16-member FAA-Industry panel was slated to function for two years, but was renewed for another term and was not officially terminated until August 30, 1976.
20070411: FAA dedicated the new $90 million, 324-foot tall air traffic control tower at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The new tower featured state-of-the-art equipment and design. At 850 square feet, it was twice as tall as the old Phoenix Tower, built in 1977, and could accommodate 11 controllers in a cab three times the size of the previous one. The new TRACON section of the structure, with work stations for 22 controllers, replaced a 50-year old leased building that had accommodated only 13 controllers.
20110411: FAA announced its new David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center, located in Warrenton, VA, was fully operational. The new command center, co-located with FAA’s Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), was responsible for managing the overall use of the national airspace system. Traffic management specialists balanced air traffic demand with system capacity, and worked with aviation stakeholders to handle constraints in the system, such as weather, runway closures and delays. (See December 4, 2008.)
20160411: FAA issued a final rule that increased the aviation training device (ATD) hours pilots could credit toward an instrument rating – up to 10-hours credit in a basic ATD and up to 20-hours credit in an advanced ATD, not to exceed a maximum of 20 total hours under Part 61. The previous maximum allowance was 10 hours in an FAA-approved aviation-training device. (See December 3, 2014.)
20200411: Upon the request of the Wyoming governor, President Trump declared a major disaster existed in the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the declaration, federal funding became available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments, as well as certain nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures. This was the first time in U.S. history that all 50 states were under a major disaster declaration at the same time.
20230411: FAA established a new office to provide independent reviews and decisions on allegations of manager misconduct at the agency. The Office of Investigations and Professional Responsibility’s work helped protect whistleblowers and others raising safety concerns.