This Day in FAA History: May 24th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19460524: The Civil Aeronautics Administration gave an initial demonstration of the first radar-equipped control tower for civilian flying atop the agency’s Experimental Station at Indianapolis Municipal Airport. Raytheon had built the basic radar equipment for the Navy, and the company’s engineers directed modifications at Indianapolis that included improvements lately developed for that service. Among these were an improved search antenna and a feature that eliminated ground clutter by permitting only moving targets to appear on the screen. (See June 30, 1945.)
19500524: Reorganization Plan No. 5 became effective. The plan, one of a number put into effect under the Reorganization Act of 1949, stemmed in part from recommendations of the Hoover Commission (see March 1, 1949). It transferred to the direct control of the Secretary of Commerce all functions of all agencies and officers within his Department except those of CAB and certain similar agencies having rulemaking and adjudicatory powers. The Secretary redelegated to the CAA Administrator those functions affected by the reorganization. (See March 30, 1953.) Reorganization Plan No. 13 also became effective this date, transferring to the Chairman of CAB executive and administrative functions formerly held by the entire Board.
19650524: FAA announced the start of the first field appraisal of prototype alphanumerics using automated air traffic control equipment. ARTS (advanced radar traffic control system–later changed to automated radar terminal system), the terminal prototype, would go through an 18-month evaluation at the Atlanta ATCT. SPAN (stored program alphanumerics), the en route prototype, would go through a 10-month evaluation at the Indianapolis ARTCC. These field tests were part of FAA’s program to replace an essentially manual air trafifc control system with a semiautomated system. ARTS electronically tagged radar targets with luminous letters and numbers, indicating the identity and altitude of each target aircraft. The electronic tags moved with the corresponding aircraft blip across the controllers’ radarscopes. To be so tagged, an aircraft had to be equipped with a transponder. (See September 26, 1964, and February 1966.)
19760524: The FAA Depot at Oklahoma City completed a highly successful emergency resupply of the FAA Center/Approach Control (CERAP) facility on Guam following the destruction wrought three days earlier by Typhoon Pamela. The depot primarily resupplied air traffic control equipment lost when winds of up to 170 miles per hour swept the island.
19840524: In a move intended to sharpen FAA’s focus on safety, Administrator Engen announced that the Office of Aviation Safety would now report directly to him instead of to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Standards. A directive dated August 6, 1984, formally implemented the change. (See November 26, 1991.)
19990524: FAA released to industry a new computer tool designed to reduce the disk failure rate in turbine-powered jet engines. The computer tool complemented the actions announced earlier by FAA Administrator Jane Garvey that required enhanced inspections of engine fan disks to detect cracks that were potential precursors to uncontained disk failures. The disk design and life management tool, called “design assessment of reliability with inspection,” allowed engine manufacturers to improve disk structural integrity. Engine manufacturers could run the code, along with their other design systems, on a computer workstation, to comply with the FAA’s a planned advisory circular on disk life management.
20000524: FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require air carrier operators have automated external defibrillators aboard large, passenger-carrying aircraft and to augment required emergency medical kits. It would affect those operations for which at least one flight attendant was required and, if adopted, would require instruction on the use of the equipment. (See April 12, 2001.)
20010524: FAA provided Congress a report on ways to expedite environmental reviews of runway projects, including establishing special teams of experts, reducing paperwork, and improving coordination between federal and local officials. The agency proposed strengthening environmental impact statement (EIS) teams by adding more FAA members, asking airport proprietors to contribute members, and putting more consultants on the teams. FAA also suggested increasing FAA environmental specialist and environmental attorney resources. FAA also planned to develop a reimbursable agreement for airports interested in paying for extra staff for expedited EIS reviews.
20010524: FAA announced it had selected a group headed by Lockheed Martin to undertake the Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) project. Once installed, the new ATOP technology would give controllers the ability to reduce separation between aircraft on oceanic routes, and would give pilots greater flexibility to choose their own routes. (See June 30, 2004.)
20040524: FAA dedicated a new, state-of-the-art airport traffic control tower at SeaTac International Airport. At 233 feet high, the new tower was more than twice the height of the old tower, built in 1949.
20070524: FAA and the National Association of Government Employees Local signed a contract covering over 200 air traffic assistants who provided support for air traffic operations in terminal and en route facilities.
20120524: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the appointment of the four members of a new committee to advise him on measures to protect the rights of air travelers. The committee members included Lisa Madigan, Illinois attorney general, who chaired the committee; David A. Berg, senior vice president at Airlines for America; Deborah Ale-Flint, director of aviation at Oakland International Airport; and Charles Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, signed by President Obama on February 14, mandated the establishment of the committee. The law required the Secretary of Transportation to appoint to the committee four members with one representative each of air carriers, airport operators, state or local governments, and nonprofit public interest groups with expertise in consumer protection. According to the law, the committee would terminate on September 30, 2015.
20180524: President Donald Trump signed a policy directive to pursue sweeping regulatory reforms the administration said would encourage commercial space innovation. He gave Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao until February 2019 to review space launch and re-entry licensing process and make changes where the regulatory regime proved inefficient, costly, and burdensome to private enterprise. It specified areas of the licensing process that should receive specific attention during the reform process, including the possibility of requiring just one license for all forms of commercial space launch and re-entry. (See August 1, 2016.)