This Day in FAA History: May 21st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19270521: Charles A. Lindbergh, a former air mail pilot, made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in an airplane, a Ryan monoplane dubbed the Spirit of St. Louis. He flew the 3,610 miles from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, N.Y., to Le Bourget Field, Paris, France, in 33 hours 29 minutes.
Lindbergh’s feat provided a strong stimulus to U.S. aviation, and made him a world hero whose fame overshadowed earlier Atlantic crossings by air. The first transatlantic flight had been made in stages on May 16-27, 1919, from Newfoundland to Lisbon, via the Azores, by a U.S. Navy Curtiss NC-4 seaplane, flown by a six-man crew commanded by Albert C. Read. That same year, on June 14-15, Royal Air Force pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crossed the Atlantic nonstop from Newfoundland to Ireland in a Vickers Vimy. The following month, another Royal Air Force crew, commanded by G. H. Scott, flew the airship R-34 from Scotland to New York (July 2-6), then returned to England (July 9-13). Between July 30 and August 31, 1924, two U.S. Army Douglas World Cruiser seaplanes (manned by Lowell H. Smith, Leslie P. Arnold, Erik H. Nelson, and John Harding), flew from England to Labrador during the course of history’s first round-the-world flight. Three other aircraft with multiple crew members had also crossed the Atlantic before Lindbergh’s “Lone Eagle” flight.
19580521: Senator A. S. Mike Monroney (D-Okla.) introduced S. 3880, a bill “to create an independent Federal Aviation Agency, to provide for the safe and efficient use of the airspace by both civil and military operations and to provide for the regulation and promotion of civil aviation in such a manner as to best foster its development and safety.” By the next day 33 Senators were listed as cosponsors of the bill, and Representative Oren Harris (D-Ark.) introduced the same bill as H.R. 12616.
On June 13, President Eisenhower, in a message to Congress, recommended early enactment of such legislation to consolidate “all the essential management functions necessary to support the common needs of our civil and military aviation.” (See August 23, 1958.)
19650521: The Interagency Air Cartographic Committee (IACC) was created to standardize Governmental aeronautical charts and thus avoid duplication. The committee was to be chaired by FAA with the Departments of Defense and Commerce as members.
19700521: President Nixon signed Public Law 91-258, of which Title I was the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970 and Title II was the Airport and Airway Revenue Act of 1970. The legislation responded to problems posed by civil aviation’s extraordinary growth during the 1960s. Between mid-1959 and mid-1969, the number of aircraft handled by FAA’s air route traffic control centers had increased by 110.6 percent, while aircraft operations at FAA’s airport towers had increased by 112 percent. Airport and airway development programs, inadequately funded, had failed to keep pace with this growth in aviation activity, resulting in a severe strain on the air traffic control system (see July 19, 1968).
The new legislation assured a fund of about $11 billion over the next decade for airport and airway modernization. By establishing an Airport and Airway Trust Fund modeled on the Highway Trust Fund, it freed airport and airway development from having to compete for General Treasury funds. Into the trust fund would go new revenues from aviation user taxes levied by the Airport and Airway Revenue Act, and other funds that Congress might choose to appropriate to meet authorized expenditures. Revenues would be raised by the following levies on aviation users: an 8 percent tax on domestic passenger fares; a $3 surcharge on passenger tickets for international flights originating in the United States; a tax of 7¢ a gallon on both gasoline and jet fuel used by aircraft in noncommercial aviation; a 5 percent tax on airfreight waybills; and an annual registration fee of $25 on all civil aircraft, plus (1) in the case of piston-powered aircraft weighing more than 2,500 pounds, 2¢ a pound for each pound of maximum certificated takeoff weight, or (2) in the case of turbine powered aircraft, 3.5¢ a pound for each pound of maximum certificated takeoff weight. The principal advantages of the user-charge/trust-fund approach to revenue raising and funding were that it provided a predictable and increasing source of income, more commensurate with need; permitted more effective and longer range planning; and assured that the tax revenues generated by aviation would not be diverted to nonaviation uses.
The major weaknesses of the Federal Airport Act (see May 13, 1946), which was repealed by the new legislation, were inadequate funding and the nature of the formula for distributing those resources. The annual authorization for airport development under the old act totaled only $75 million. Of this total, the distribution of $66.5 million was fixed by a formula apportioning 75 percent of it by population and area among the states–half in the ratio of each state’s population to the total population of all the states, and half in the ratio of each state’s area to the total area of all the states. The remaining 25 percent of the $66.5 million, plus any state’s apportionment under the population-area formula if unclaimed for two fiscal years, went into a discretionary fund with certain other funds; however, this discretionary fund was too small to make a significant impact on critical, high-priority areas.
Under the new Airport Development Aid Program, by contrast, airport aid received a greatly increased annual authorization of $280 million for each of the next five fiscal years (see August 6, 1970). The new law also provided an improved distribution formula. Of the annual $280 million, $250 million in matching funds would be distributed in the following manner among airports serving air carriers certificated by CAB and airports serving general aviation primarily to relieve congestion at airports serving other segments of aviation:
* One-third as follows: (1) 97 percent of this third among the several states, one-half in the ratio of each state’s population to the total U.S. population, and one-half in the ratio of each state’s area to the total area of all the states; (2) 3 percent of this third among Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, the first two places receiving 35 percent shares each, and the last two, 15 percent shares each.
* One-third among airports serving CAB-certificated air carriers in the ratio of each such airport’s passenger enplanements to the total number of passengers enplaned at all such airports.
* One-third at the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation.
The remaining $30 million of the annual $280 million would be apportioned by the Secretary as follows for developing in the several states and in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands airports serving segments of aviation other than CAB-certificated air carriers: 73.5 percent among the several states, one-half of this in the ratio of each state’s population to the total population of all the States, and one-half in the ratio of each State’s area to the total area of all the States; 1.5 percent for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands in shares of 35 percent, 35 percent, 15 percent, and 15 percent, respectively; and 25 percent at the discretion of the Secretary.
In its provisions concerning planning, the new legislation reflected both lessons of experience and the emergence of certain new planning factors. Experience under the Federal Airport Act with the National Airport Plan (NAP), which covered a period of five years and was revised annually, led to the requirement in the new law for a National Airport System Plan (NASP) covering at least 10 years and revised only as necessary. Notable among factors explicitly mentioned for the Secretary’s consideration in preparing the NASP, but not explicitly mentioned in relation to the NAP, were: the relationship of each airport to the local transportation system, to forecasted technological developments in aeronautics, and to developments forecasted in other modes of intercity transportation; and factors affecting the quality of the natural environment.
A significant feature of the new legislation was its provision for planning grants (see March 31, 1971). The law authorized a total of $75 million for grants to planning agencies for airport system planning, and to public agencies for airport master planning; however, planning grants could not exceed $15 million in any one fiscal year; nor could any such grant exceed two-thirds of an airport project’s cost. Another important provision of the bill gave FAA the responsibility for the safety certification of airports served by air carriers (see May 21, 1973).
No less than airport development, airway modernization would benefit from the increased funding under the Airport and Airway Development Act. Whereas appropriations for airway facilities and equipment had averaged $93 million a year during the 1960s, the new legislation authorized “not less than” $250 million a year for the next five fiscal years. A principal beneficiary of this more generous authorization would be FAA’s efforts to automate the air traffic control. (See November 27, 1971, and July 1, 1972.)
19710521: FAA established the Office of General Aviation, at the same time abolishing the Office of General Aviation Affairs, which formed the nucleus of the new office. (See August 31, 1962 and September 10, 1978.)
19730521: By this date, U.S. airports serving scheduled air carriers that held CAB certificates of public convenience and necessity were required to have FAA operating certificates. The regulation (which implemented provisions of the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, as amended November 27, 1971) set standards for: the marking and lighting of areas used for operations; firefighting and rescue equipment and services; the handling and storing of hazardous materials; the identification of obstructions; and safety inspection and reporting procedures. It also required airport operators to have an FAA-approved operations manual. FAA awarded the first operating certificate to Boston Logan airport on September 1, 1972, and had certificated nearly 500 airports by the May 21, 1973, deadline. (See August 21, 1974, and October 18, 1977.)
19970521: To allow commercial airlines to benefit from technological improvements, FAA published a rule permitting commercial aircraft to activate their autopilot at less than 500 feet above ground level during takeoff and climb. Such actions, however, would have to be authorized by the FAA Administrator and would have to be performed as required in the performing carrier’s operating specifications.