This Day in FAA History: April 21st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19280421: George Hubert Wilkins, an Australian explorer, and Carl Ben Eielson, an American pilot, made the first flight across the Arctic in a heavier-than-air craft, flying from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Spitsbergen, Norway, in a Lockheed Vega. Later in the year, Wilkins and Eielson flew the same Vega along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, earning the distinction of being the first to operate an airplane in Antarctica.
19510421: The experimental Chase XC-123A, powered by four J47 turbojet engines, made its first flight. Designed as a troop and cargo transport for the Air Force, the XC-123A was fitted with four turbojet engines, installed as pairs in pods.
19580421: An Air Force jet fighter collided with a United Air Lines DC-7 near Las Vegas, Nev., killing both occupants of the fighter and all 47 persons aboard the airliner. Another midair collision between a military jet and an airliner occurred on May 20 when a T-33 trainer and a Capital Airlines Viscount collided over Brunswick, Md. This second accident cost the lives of one of the two persons aboard the T-33 and all 11 aboard the Viscount. The twin tragedies spurred governmental action already underway to improve air traffic control and to establish a comprehensive Federal Aviation Agency. (See May 21 and May 28, 1958.)
19650421: Administrator Halaby issued a statement of FAA’s long-range policies that included such basic principles as respect for the rights of airspace users and the general public. Among other points, the statement recognized a favorable balance of benefits versus cost as a guide in actions affecting the National Airspace System.
19650421: FAA eliminated the rule requiring a three-man crew on all transports with a takeoff weight over 80,000 pounds (see June 15, 1947), and substituted a rule that set forth workload criteria as the standard for determining the size of an air transport cockpit crew. On November 23, FAA type-certificated the Douglas DC-9 for operation with a two-man crew (see February 25, 1965). Earlier in the year, FAA had certificated the BAC 1-11, a British-made transport, for operations with a two-man crew. (See February 7, 1961 and November 20-29, 1966.)
19950421: FAA issued a rule establishing minimum combined experience levels for two airline pilots flying together and also upgrading operational experience requirements. The agency had proposed the rule in March 1993 in response to accidents and incidents in which a contributing factor was the pairing of inexperienced pilots.
19980421: FAA published a final rule on licensing requirements for the launch of expendable vehicles from federal sites. (See February 10-11, 1998; August 26, 1998.)
19990421: Following industry review of applicable safety guidelines, FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for reusable launch vehicle and reentry licensing regulation and continued to work with industry to develop a regulatory program to address public safety issues. (See March 15, 1999; June 21, 1999.)
20040421: Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced plans by United and American Airlines to reduce their daily schedules by another 2.5 percent starting in early June, making this the second time the airlines had trimmed their schedules to help reduce congestion at O’Hare. Both airlines rescheduled the majority of targeted flights to slower times of the day, but each also canceled some operations. (See January 21, 2004; August 4, 2004.)
20140421: FAA announced the first of six test sites chosen to perform UAS research was operational more than 2 1/2 months ahead of the deadline specified for the program by Congress. FAA granted the North Dakota Department of Commerce team a certificate of waiver or authorization (COA) to begin using a Draganflyer X4ES small UAS at its Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site. The COA was effective for two years. The team planned to begin flight operations during the week of May 5. (See December 30, 2013; May 5, 2014.)
20140421: EquuSearch, a nonprofit organization that used drones to search for missing persons, filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asserting a FAA inspector had wrongly ordered it in a February 2014 email correspondence to cease and desist search and rescue operations using its UASs. On July 18, a three-judge panel for a federal appeals court dismissed the lawsuit. In its ruling, the court said it could not review the case because the email Texas EquuSearch had received did not represent FAA’s final conclusion on the use of drones. Final rules on drone use were not expected until 2015.
20210421: Effective this date, FAA’s Remote Identification (Remote ID) rule provided for identifying drones in flight and the location of their control stations. The rule applied to all drones requiring FAA registration. The new Operations over People rule, also effective this date, applied to pilots who flew under Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Under that rule, the ability to fly over people and over moving vehicles varied depending on the level of risk a small drone posed to people on the ground. Additionally, the rule allowed operations at night under certain conditions provided pilots completed certain training or passed knowledge tests. (See December 28, 2020.)
20220421: FAA downgraded the air safety rating for Russia, restricting any expansion of service or partnerships since Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport did not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. Under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, FAA assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that have applied to fly to the United States, currently conducting operations to the United States, or participating in code-sharing arrangements with U.S. partner airlines. Air carriers from countries with Category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the United States, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the United States and are not permitted to carry the code of U.S. carriers on any flights. At the time of the assessment, no airlines operated regularly scheduled flights between Russia and the United States. (See May 8, 2020.)