This Day in FAA History: May 4th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19550504: President Eisenhower, acting through the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, requested William Barclay Harding to serve as a consultant to study long-range needs for aviation facilities and aids. On December 31, 1955, Harding’s Aviation Facilities Study Group submitted its report to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget. Concluding that the need to improve air traffic management had already reached critical proportions, the group recommended that an individual of national reputation, responsible directly to the President, be appointed to provide full time leadership in developing a program for solving the complex technical and organizational problems facing the government and the aviation industry. On February 10, 1956, following approval of the Harding Committee recommendations, President Eisenhower named Edward P. Curtis his Special Assistant for Aviation Facilities Planning. Curtis was to direct and coordinate “a long-range study of the Nation’s [aviation facility] requirements,” to develop “a comprehensive plan for meeting in the most effective and economical manner the needs disclosed by the study,” and “to formulate legislative, organizational, administrative and budgetary recommendations to implement the comprehensive plan.” (See April 11, 1957.)
19610504: FAA issued orders providing for the organization and operation of a comprehensive flight information service to ensure that current and complete information required for operations in the navigable airspace was available in the most suitable form.
19640504: President Johnson announced the formation of a 32-member FAA Women’s Advisory Committee on Aviation, created to advise the FAA Administrator on problems and matters relating to women in civil aviation. On January 23, 1975, the name of the group was changed to Citizens Advisory Committee on Aviation, and the membership expanded to include men. The committee was terminated on January 23, 1977.
19700504: FAA issued a rule requiring that Cockpit Voice Recorders be installed in large transport category helicopters operated in scheduled service, with compliance by July 8, 1971. (See June 26, 1964, and March 25, 1987.)
19700504: FAA implemented a standard organizational structure for the larger air route traffic control centers, including the so-called Level IB (300,000 to 1,000,000 aircraft handled per year) and Level II (over 1,000,000 aircraft handled per year) centers. The new structure strengthened administrative and technical supervision of air traffic control personnel. It was designed to increase operational efficiency through better manpower utilization, while providing a more effective basis for the development of the controller’s career progression plans. As part of the new structure, the agency assigned personnel management specialists to all centers in the contiguous United States, except Great Falls, to advise managers and supervisors. These specialists also worked with organized employee groups and provided professional advice on personnel matters to individual center employees.
19770504: Langhorne M. Bond became the seventh Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, succeeding John L. McLucas (see March 31, 1977). Bond had been nominated by President Carter on March 30 and confirmed by the Senate on April 27.
Born in Shanghai, China, in 1937, Bond was the son of a vice president of Pan American Airways. After earning an A.B. (1959) and law degree (1963) at the University of Virginia, he went on to study at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, the London School of Economics, and Oxford University. Bond was a member of the task force that developed the legislation establishing the U.S. Department of Transportation, and then served one-year stints as special assistant to the first DOT Secretary, Alan S. Boyd, and as Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs in DOT’s Urban Mass Transportation Administration. He left Federal service in 1969 to become Executive Director of the National Transportation Center, a nonprofit research organization in Pittsburgh that managed bus technology projects for transit authorities. In March 1973, Bond was named Secretary of Transportation for the State of Illinois, the position he held when tapped for the FAA job. He served as FAA Administrator for the remaining three years and eight months of the Carter Administration. (See January 20, 1981.)
19770504: Quentin S. Taylor became FAA’s Deputy Administrator, succeeding James E. Dow (see March 31, 1976). A career civil servant, the 41-year-old Taylor was Director of FAA’s New England Region when President Carter nominated him for the Deputy post on March 30, 1977.
Born in Front Royal, Va., he held degrees from Howard University in electronic engineering and Syracuse University in political science. Taylor joined FAA in 1959 as an electronics engineer assigned to the Airway Facilities Service and served successively as a staff specialist in the Office of Appraisal, Special Assistant to the Associate Administrator for Administration, FAA’s first Director of Civil Rights, and Deputy Director of the Alaskan Region. His appointment to the New England Region’s top post in February 1975 made him the first African American to head an FAA region.
Taylor served as Deputy Administrator for the remainder of the Carter Administration, resigning on January 20, 1981. He continued his FAA career, serving as Consultant to the Office of the Administrator, then Director of the Office of International Aviation, and later Deputy Assistant Administrator for Airports. (See August 1, 1981.)
19790504: The regional director of the Washington Office of the Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled that a strike fund established by PATCO was legal. His ruling held that while strikes or other overt job actions by Federal employees were prohibited by statute, strike funds were not. PATCO had established a National Controller Subsistence Fund in May 1978, “to provide for the financial support of members whose participation in a nationally sanctioned job action has resulted in suspension and/or dismissal.” FAA, believing the fund was a war chest for financing illegal job actions, filled an unfair labor practice complaint against PATCO. The three-member FLRA panel upheld the regional director’s ruling in December 1980. (See June 21, 1978, and January 7, 1980.)
19920504: To facilitate emergency evacuations, FAA published a rule specifying required distances between rows of seats near over-wing exits on airliners: a 20 inch clear path for three-seat exit rows, and a 10 inch clear path for two-seat exit rows. As an alternative, airlines could remove the seat nearest to each overwing exit and provide two paths six inches wide in front of and behind the seats adjacent to the exit.
19940504: In a joint memorandum, the Associate Administrator for Airway Facilities and the President of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) advised employees of a proposed realignment of the Airway Facilities organization. The proposal envisioned a leaner organization with consolidation to be achieved gradually over a four-year period. Implementation of the plan involved steps to reduce five organizational levels to three: Regional Office, System Management Office, and System Support Center. In May 1995, the Southern Region was the first to declare that its headquarters realignment had been accomplished in accordance with the plan. During the following month, Central Region stated that both its System Management Offices were in place.
19970504: FBI Director Louis Freeh announced that the evidence in the TWA Flight 800 crash pointed to mechanical failure and emphasized the need to bring the investigation to a close. (See January 7, 1997; December 8, 1997.)
19980504: FAA announced plans to introduce computer-based training for security screening personnel at the nation’s busiest airports. The training was a module in the Screener Proficiency Evaluation and Reporting System (SPEARS) being developed by the agency to select, train, evaluate, and monitor the performance of employees who operated the X-ray screening checkpoints. FAA awarded Safe Passage International an $11 million contract on this date to install the SPEARS computer-based training workstations and train instructors to use it at up to 60 airports. (See May 17, 1997; August 21, 1998.)
20100504: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that the United States and Trinidad and Tobago had reached an Open-Skies aviation agreement that liberalized air services for the carriers of both countries. Trinidad and Tobago became the 98th U.S. Open-Skies partner. (See April 23, 2010; July 2, 2010.)
20100504: FAA announced that controllers in Juneau, Alaska, were using a new surveillance technology, the wide-area multilateration system (WAM), to track aircraft along the difficult approach to Juneau – a mountainous area where radar coverage was not possible. WAM, comprised of a network of small sensors deployed around Juneau, sent out signals that received and sent back by aircraft transponders. The system triangulated the returning signals to determine the precise location of each aircraft. Controllers saw those aircraft on their screens as if they were radar targets. (See September 12, 2009.)
20150504: Science Applications International Corp. announced FAA had awarded it an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to provide all training and training program support services under the FAA controller training contract. The single-award, firm-fixed price and time-and-materials contract had a 3-year period of performance; two 1-year options, with an estimated contract value of $425 million; and a maximum contract ceiling of $727 million. (See September 9, 2008.)
20160504: FAA announced it would immediately begin allowing students to operate UAS for educational and research purposes without first obtaining a Section 333 exemption. They still, however, had to follow the rules for model aircraft. (See April 6, 2016; July 1, 2016.)
20230504: FAA created the UAS Detection and Mitigation Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee to ensure that new technologies designed to detect and mitigate risks from errant or hostile UAS do not adversely impact the safe and efficient operation of the nation’s airspace.?The ARC’s 58 members represented a diverse set of aviation stakeholders.
20230504: FAA released an updated blueprint for airspace and procedure changes to accommodate future air taxis and other advanced air mobility (AAM) operations. Under the blueprint, developed in coordination with NASA and industry, AAM operations would begin slowly with air taxis flying like helicopters. AAM operations would use existing routes and infrastructure, such as helipads and vertiports. (See January 9, 2023; July 18, 2023.)