This Day in FAA History: June 19th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19340619: An amendment to the Air Commerce Act of 1926 gave the Aeronautics Branch stronger authority to investigate civil aircraft accidents. The amendment empowered the Secretary of Commerce or his representative to subpoena witnesses to testify or produce documentary evidence at public hearings into the causes of such accidents. If the accident involved a fatality or serious injury, the Secretary was required to issue a statement of the probable cause. In other cases, issuance of such a statement was left to the Secretary’s discretion. The amendment also gave the Secretary additional safety-rulemaking powers. (See October 1, 1934.)
19350619: Gathering at the invitation of the Department of Commerce, a group of governmental and industry representatives formed the Radio Technical Committee for Aeronautics (RTCA). The Department had organized the meeting to address a need for coordination of research in the development of aeronautical radio. The new RTCA agreed to launch a continuing study of radio problems affecting air navigation. It began by forming subcommittees to consider such issues as reducing rain static interference and allocating frequencies.
As it evolved, RTCA made two changes to its name. On January 15, 1942, the group adopted a constitution and changed the word “Committee” to “Commission.” On November 14, 1991, the organization became a non-profit corporation and shortened its name to RTCA, Inc.
19480619: President Truman signed two amendments to the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 to encourage the financing of aircraft purchases. The first limited the liability of owners not actually exercising control over the operations of the aircraft; the second provided a system for the recording of liens on aircraft engines and spare parts used by air carriers.
19620619: The FAA Administrator approved a standard organizational configuration for regional headquarters for FAA’s seven regions, to be implemented by October 1, 1962. Besides the regional assistant administrator and his deputy, the organizational plan provided for an executive officer and divisions in large measure paralleling the office and service structure at the national headquarters. Any deviation from the standard pattern that might be needed to meet special local conditions would require specific approval by the Administrator.
19690619: FAA redesignated the Office of Information Services the Office of Public Affairs, which had been its original name when Agency Order 1 was issued in January 1959. The Information Services title had been adopted in the early 1960s.
19700619: An Interagency Microwave Landing System Planning Group was formed at the direction of the Secretary of Transportation. With the FAA Administrator as chairman, the group included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The group was charged with preparing a five-year plan for the development and implementation of a microwave landing system (MLS) for civil-military common use. The development of the new system had been a recommendation of DOT’s Air Traffic Control Advisory Committee. (See December 1969 and July 1971.)
19700619: FAA established two-way air traffic control satellite communications between its facilities in San Francisco/Oakland and Honolulu. This service, the first full-time point-to-point satellite communication service in air traffic control, consisted of one voice and three teletypewriter channels leased from the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat). The new system was superior to the previously used high frequency radio circuits and permitted the decommissioning of FAA’s high frequency International Flight Service Transmitting and Receiving Service at Tracy, Calif.
19720619: A 24-hour worldwide stoppage of airline traffic declared by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations took place. This action, intended to dramatize the need for sterner measures against hijackers, brought to a standstill domestic and international airline operations in more than 30 countries. The strike officially began at 2:00 a.m. (EST) and was supported by more than 40 of the Federation’s 64 units in 62 countries; in the United States, however, following a Federal restraining order on June 18, only 10 percent of the Air Line Pilots Association’s members joined in the job action. In addition, pilots in Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and most Arab and Communist countries refused to participate in the protest.
19730619: The U.S. and U.S.S.R. signed an agreement on joint cooperation in the field of transportation calling for exchanges of information in areas that included the safety and efficiency of civil aviation. As a result of the pact, FAA officials and their Soviet counterparts held meetings on a variety of technical subjects. The agreement was one of a series signed by officials during a summit meeting between President Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The last of these agreements, signed on June 23, provided for an expansion of direct airline flights between the two countries. Previously, Pan American and Aeroflot had each been allowed two round-trip flights per week between New York and Moscow. The two airlines were now permitted up to three flights per week, and Pan Am received authorization to land at Leningrad, and Aeroflot at Washington. During 1978, however, Pan American discontinued operations in the U.S.S.R. as part of a cutback on its European flights. Under President Carter, Aeroflot service was reduced to two flights per week, effective January 13, 1980, as part of a response to Soviet military actions in Afghanistan. (See June 15, 1968, and December 29, 1981)
19780619: President Jimmy Carter signed a law renaming the FAA Aeronautical Center at Oklahoma City the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. A. S. (“Mike”) Monroney represented Oklahoma in both houses of Congress for 30 years, and served as chairman of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee from 1955 until his retirement in 1969. He was a principal sponsor of the Federal Aviation Act (see May 21, 1958), the Airport and Airways Development Act (see May 21, 1970), and many other pieces of aviation legislation. The Aeronautical Center, located in Oklahoma City through Monroney’s efforts, was then the largest FAA facility, incorporating the FAA Academy, the central records center for aircraft and airmen’s certificates, a major FAA supply depot, and the Civil Aeromedical Institute (see December 13, 1959). On October 13, 1978, Administrator Bond presided over ceremonies rededicating the facility.
19840619: The Supreme Court reversed an appeals court decision holding FAA liable for negligence in its certification and inspection program. The case grew out of the Yarig Airlines in-flight fire (see July 11, 1973), and a 1968 fire aboard a DeHaviland Dove. The respondents charged that FAA had negligently determined that the aircraft met fire-protection standards. In deciding against the respondents, the Court ruled that “the duty to ensure that an aircraft conforms to FAA safety regulations lies with the manufacturer and operator, while FAA retains the responsibility for policing compliance.” The Court noted that the law allowing suites against the government makes an exception for such regulatory policing and other activities that involve broad exercise of administrative discretion. (See December 31, 1972.)
19840619: Transportation Secretary Dole announced that FAA would conduct a General Aviation Safety Audit. The inspections, which began on July 22, focused on: pilot schools, instructors, and examiners; repair stations; non-airline operators of large aircraft; older large jet aircraft scheduled to be phased out because of failure to meet the new noise standards (see December 23, 1976); and on-demand air taxis. During the program, a number of operators voluntarily surrendered their certificates. FAA submitted the results of the audit to DOT between August 1985 and February 1986. Four percent of the detailed findings prepared reported significant unsatisfactory conditions, many of which involved air taxis. As a result of the safety audit, FAA revised its guidelines to include stepped-up inspections of air taxis, repair stations, and such operators of large aircraft as travel clubs, contract cargo carriers, and corporations with executive fleets.
19870619: The Federal Labor Relations Authority certified the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) as the exclusive representative of all GS-2152 series terminal and center controllers whose primary duty was separation of aircraft. The controllers had voted for representation by a margin of 7,494 to 3,275, using mail ballots sent to them on May 6. The Authority had announced the outcome on June 11. (See July 2, 1982, and May 1, 1989.)
20130619: In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged for the first time in public the FBI had used small, unarmed and unmanned drones to conduct surveillance. The FBI released a statement following Mueller’s testimony explaining the use of drones allowed the agency to “learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel.” The agency also noted it only used drones to conduct surveillance on stationary objects. (See February 14, 2013; July 19, 2013.)
20130619: NTSB received a petition urging the agency to reconsider its investigation of the 1996 TWA 800 crash. A group of individuals who took part in a new documentary about the deadly crash initiated the petition. The documentary suggested NTSB investigators had not interviewed any of the eyewitnesses “who claimed to have seen something like a missile leave the shore that night headed toward the” plane. On June 28, NTSB issued a statement and invited journalists to its training center on July 2, saying “Since the accident occurred 17 years ago, many who are now covering the petition filing are less familiar with the details and findings of NTSB’s four-year investigation.” (See July 17, 1996.)