This Day in FAA History: April 20th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19630420: FAA commissioned the Albuquerque air traffic control center’s new building on this date. Other new center buildings commissioned during 1963 included: Washington at Leesburg, Va., on April 28 (FAA held formal dedication ceremonies on June 15) and Miami on September 2.
19780420: FAA proposed a new and much higher schedule of user fees for certificating airmen and for aircraft registrations. The agency based the proposal on an existing government policy, contained in a statute of 1952, that individuals or groups receiving special services from Federal agencies should pay their cost. In 1967, FAA had proposed a new fee schedule, but withdrew the proposal after the General Accounting Office pointed out that it did not entirely meet the costs of the services supplied. The April 1978 proposal encountered considerable opposition from within the aviation community, and Congress adopted legislation prohibiting FAA from implementing the proposed fees without prior congressional approval. FAA withdrew the proposal on May 8, 1981, stating that the data on which it was based were no longer valid.
19990420: FAA ordered operators of 45 McDonnell Douglas MD-11s registered in the U.S. to verify the installation of a wire harness support bracket and clamp in the lower center cargo compartment. A missing bracket and clamp could have caused a wire bundle to contact the insulation blanket and rub against the fuselage frame, producing a possible fire source. The Emergency Airworthiness Directive affected MD-11s equipped with a 72-inch cargo door. MD-11s with a 104-inch cargo door had a different wire bundle configuration. Operators of the affected aircraft were required to perform inspections, verify the installation of the bracket and clamp, and repair any damaged wires within five days. All findings had to be reported to the FAA within ten days after completion of the inspections. (See January 28, 1999; September 29, 1999.)
20100420: In a message to employees, Administrator Randy Babbitt announced changes to the agency’s vision and values statement.
* Old vision statement: We continue to improve the safety and efficiency of flight. We are responsive to our customers and are accountable to the taxpayer and the flying public.
* New vision statement: We strive to reach the next level of safety, efficiency, environmental responsibility and global leadership. We are accountable to the American public and our stakeholders.
* Old Value Statement:
– Safety is our passion. We are world leaders in aerospace safety.
– Quality is our trademark. We serve our country, our stakeholders, our customers, and each other.
– Integrity is our character. We do the right thing, even when no one is looking. – People are our strength. We treat people as we want to be treated.
* New Value Statement:
– Safety is our passion – We work so all air and space travelers arrive safely at their destinations.
– Excellence is our promise – We seek results that embody professionalism, transparency and accountability.
– Integrity is our touchstone – We perform our duties honestly, with moral soundness, and with the highest level of ethics.
– People are our strength – Our success depends on the respect, diversity, collaboration, and commitment of our workforce.
– Innovation is our signature – We foster creativity and vision to provide solutions beyond today’s boundaries.
20160420: FAA issued a notice of proposed policy to reduce the number of radio frequencies used by flight service stations to communicate with aircraft in flight. Under the proposal, 666 remote communications outlets would be decommissioned. Frequencies especially designated for emergency or military use or for use in Alaska were not included in the proposal.
20180420: FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) that required operators to inspect fan blades on certain CFM56-7B engines within 20 days. The agency based the directive on a CFM International Service Bulletin issued on this date and on information gathered from the investigation of the Southwest Airlines engine failure. Engines with more than 30,000 total cycles from new had to complete inspections within 20 days. The engine manufacturer estimated the corrective action affected 352 engines in the U.S. and 681 engines worldwide.
20220420: FAA announced it planned to make its zero tolerance policy against unruly passengers permanent. FAA implemented the policy on January 13, 2021, after seeing a disturbing increase in unruly passenger incidents. (See December 21, 2021.)
20220420: FAA announced it had added a new feature to MedXPress that allowed pilots to track the status of their medical certificates online throughout the application and review process.
20230420: FAA announced the selection of a sustainable design for new air traffic control towers to be used primarily at municipal and smaller airports. The design by the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) of New York met essential sustainability requirements. The design allowed for adjustments to tower height to meet each airport’s traffic and sightline requirements while reducing construction and operational costs.
20230420: SpaceX’s Starship, with its first-of-a-kind super heavy booster, exploded during its inaugural flight over its launch site in South Texas. (See June 13, 2023; September 8, 2023.)