This Day in FAA History: May 6th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19350506: A Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) DC-2 crashed near Atlanta, Mo., killing five of the eight persons aboard. Senator Bronson M. Cutting (R-N.Mex.) was among the fatalities. A Bureau of Air Commerce report cited the accident’s causes as the U.S. Weather Bureau’s failure to predict hazardous weather and misjudgments by the pilot and TWA ground personnel. In June 1936, however, a committee chaired by Sen. Royal S. Copeland (D-N.Y.) issued a report alleging that the tragedy was caused by malfunctioning navigational aides and voicing other criticisms of the Bureau of Air Commerce. The controversy gave impetus to legislative efforts that eventuated in the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. (See June 23, 1938.)
19370506: The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames while mooring at Lakehurst, N.J., the U.S. terminal for its regular transatlantic service, killing 35 of the 97 persons aboard. The tragedy signaled the end of serious efforts to use rigid airships in commercial air transportation.
19500506: To improve communications between CAA and the general aviation community, Administrator Rentzel established an Aviation Development Advisory Committee. The Director of CAA’s Office of Aviation Development served as executive secretary of the Committee, which consisted of 12 qualified private citizens representing manufacturers, users, and others interested in the utilization of aircraft for personal, agricultural, and other non-air-carrier purposes.
19810506: FAA issued an Advisory Circular concerning the new Supplemental Structural Inspection Program (SSIP) under which manufacturers developed special programs to ensure the continued airworthiness of their older types of large transport aircraft. The background of the SSIP included the 1977 loss of a British 707 in Zambia due to structural failure. Continued concern about the airworthiness of aging aircraft reflected a tendancy for operators to retain older planes for longer periods. This trend was due to such factors as a slackened demand for the fuel-efficiency offered by new aircraft and the competitive pressures of airline deregulation. Effective July 5, 1985, FAA made the inspections developed under SSIP mandatory for certain Boeing 707s with high in-service time. Similar directives for other aircraft types soon followed. (See April 28, 1988.)
19960506: FAA renamed its Technical Center the William J. Hughes Technical Center. The new name honored Ambassador Hughes, a former member of Congress (D.-N.J.) and a long-time supporter of the facility.
19960506: In a full-scale fire test at FAA’s Technical Center, one of the new materials tested demonstrated its ability to double the time that it takes for fire to burn through an aircraft’s fuselage. The test was part of joint work with British aviation authorities to increase fuselages’ resistance to external conflagrations, and was an example of FAA’s continuing research in aircraft fire safety. (See November 3, 1988.)
19970506: Airlines began a two-week test of matching bags with passengers at selected airports nationwide. (See February 6, 1997; February 12, 1997; May 17, 1997.)
19990506: FAA announced that it had reached an agreement with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to tighten the rules for its liaison and familiarization training program. This program authorized agency employees to sit in the cockpit during commercial flights, listen to air traffic control communications, and observe pilot procedures. The program was intended to promote better understanding of the pressures facing flight crews.
20020506: FAA announced the successful deployment of the User Request Evaluation Tool (URET) at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, Virginia. URET allowed pilots to select more direct routes to their destinations. The new digital system was one of many building blocks in the FAA Free Flight technology. In addition to Washington, URET was in use at five other air route traffic control centers (Kansas City, Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Memphis). (See January 26, 2002; October 30, 2006.)
20150506: FAA announced a partnership with industry to explore the next steps in UAS beyond the type of operations the agency proposed in the draft small UAS rule it published in February. Under the new Pathfinder program, FAA would work with industry partners on focus areas, including
* Visual line-of-sight operations in urban areas – CNN would examine how UAS might be safely used for newsgathering in populated areas.
* Extended visual line-of-sight operations in rural areas – this concept involved UAS flights outside the pilot’s direct vision. UAS manufacturer PrecisionHawk would explore how this might allow greater UAS use for crop monitoring in precision agriculture operations.
* Beyond visual line-of-sight in rural/isolated areas – BNSF Railway would explore command-and-control challenges of using UAS to inspect rail system infrastructure.
* UAS in the vicinity of airports – in October 2015, FAA signed an agreement with CACI International, Inc., to evaluate how the company’s technology could help detect UAS in the vicinity of airports. (See April 10, 2015; May 8, 2015.)
20150506: FAA demonstrated its new smartphone application called B4UFLY, designed to help model aircraft and unmanned aircraft users know if it was safe and legal to fly in their current or planned location. FAA intended to release the new app to approximately 1,000 beta testers during the summer. (See April 10, 2015; May 8, 2015.)