This Day in FAA History: June 26th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19610626: FAA announced that as a result of a recent decision by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, many air traffic controller positions in approach control towers and air route traffic control centers would be raised one grade to reflect increased job requirements and complexity. Primarily affected were the positions of certain controllers performing coordination and radar control duties as well as facility chiefs and other supervisors. (See December 15, 1968.)
19640626: FAA issued a rule requiring Cockpit Voice Recorders to be installed in certain aircraft used by air carriers or commercial operators. The rule applied to large turbine-powered aircraft and to large pressurized aircraft with four piston-type engines. The compliance date, as subsequently amended, was March 1, 1967. In the event of an accident, the voice recorder could provide the cockpit conversation of the aircrew during the preceding half-hour, which might give investigators clues to the nature and cause of the mishap. The information from this device would supplement that provided by the aircraft’s Flight Data Recorder. (See August 5, 1957, and May 4, 1970.)
19650626: The new Houston air route traffic control center assumed the functions of the New Orleans center and some of the responsibilities of the San Antonio Center. The remainder of San Antonio’s control area was transferred to Houston on July 10. The personnel of the two defunct centers were reassigned.
19700626: FAA completed the first field evaluation of ARTS (Automated Radar Terminal System) II at the Knoxville, Tenn., terminal area. A modular, non-tracking air traffic control system, ARTS II was designed for both low- and medium-density terminal control facilities. The evaluation, which had begun on February 9, encompassed three separate test phases: a numerics-only phase, an alphanumerics phase, and a two-display configuration phase. (See October 1, 1976.)
19780626: FAA established the Special Aviation Fire and Explosion Reduction (SAFER) Advisory Committee to examine the topic of post-crash survival of aircraft cabin occupants. The committee’s 24 members were drawn from airlines, aircraft manufacturers, universities, research organizations, as well as flight and cabin crews. Formation of the committee resulted from two hearing held by FAA during 1977 regarding four rulemaking proposals concerning fire hazards in transport aircraft. The hearings reflected a consensus that the issues addressed in the four rules were interrelated and should be addressed systematically as one problem.
In view of the SAFER committee’s establishment, FAA on August 24 published a notice withdrawing the four rulemaking proposals. One of these, published on April 4, 1974, would have required fuel tank explosion prevention systems. The other three concerned the effects of fire on compartment interior materials: toxic gas emission standards (published December 30, 1974); smoke emission standards (February 12, 1975); and replacement of existing materials that did not meet flammability standards (July 11, 1975). FAA expressed confidence that it would be able to develop comprehensive standards in the near future due to ongoing research and the SAFER committee’s work.
Issuance of the four proposed rules during 1974 and 1975 had followed a fiery crash at Pago Pago (see January 30, 1974). The collision at Teneriffe further demonstrated the destructive potential of fire (see March 27, 1977). During 1977, FAA intensified its research on post-crash fire, and signed an agreement with the United Kingdom on cooperation in developing anti-misting kerosene fuel, known as AMK. In November 1978, FAA also announced that a new test laboratory for fire research would be built at its National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center. (See September 10, 1980)
19800626: The Committee on FAA Airworthiness Certification Procedures, popularly known as the Blue Ribbon Panel on Aircraft Certification, issued its report. The panel had been formed at the request of Secretary of Transportation Neil Goldschmidt in response to congressional concerns after the Chicago DC-10 accident (see May 25, 1979). The National Research Council selected a 13-person committee of experts, headed by George M. Low, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and including among its members former FAA Administrator John L. McLucas. While concluding that the agency’s system of assuring the airworthiness of U.S.-built aircraft had worked satisfactorily in the past, the committee believed that FAA must upgrade its certification staff’s technical proficiency and familiarity with current developments. The panel’s recommendations included that FAA: establish a central engineering group responsible for type certification and participation in rulemaking; improve the type certification process through a series of milestone reviews; develop a rule requiring that aircraft be designed to continue to fly despite structural failure; increase surveillance of airline maintenance operations; and accelerate development of a system for gathering safety-related data.
19920626: The Supreme Court ruled that airports are not a public forum and hence airport authorities may place reasonable restrictions on speech. Such regulation might include a ban on soliciting donations, and limits on the time, place, and manner of distributing literature. (See February 18, 1980.)
20020626: FAA announced plans to upgrade the tower data link services (TDLS) to enhance the reliability of service between tower controllers and pilots. The upgrade would include changes to system hardware, software, and supporting technical documentation. Philadelphia and Boston Logan International airports would receive the upgrades first. Over the following 12 months, FAA planned to upgrade 58 high-density airport towers in the U.S. then using TDLS. In all, the system was used by 17 major airlines and two general aviation service providers who relayed flight information to 1,400 aircraft and two cargo carriers.
20060626: FAA instituted a new Air Traffic Organization service center unit. Three service centers replaced the nine service area offices within en route, terminal, and technical operations. Each of the service centers was made up of five functional groups: administrative services, business services, safety assurance, system support, and planning and requirements. A sixth group, engineering services, was a shared resource and remained in place in the existing locations. (See December 5, 2005.)
20080626: The air traffic control tower at St. Louis Downtown Airport, located in Cahokia, IL, began operations.
20130626: JetBlue announced it had received regulatory approval from FAA to allow its pilots to use electronic flight bags during all phases of flight. JetBlue had tested the electronic flight bags with a limited number of pilots before gaining approval to equip all of it pilots. Like American Airlines it provided its pilots Apple iPads. (See April 22, 2013; February 10, 2014.)
20140626: FAA certified the Instant Eye small UAS, which was used by an energy company to conduct research, development, and training to see if the system was practical for inspecting infrastructure such as pipelines, power lines, and insulators on towers. It was the first unmanned quadrotor to receive FAA certification. Physical Sciences Incorporated developed Instant Eye with funding from the combating terrorism technical support office, the Army research laboratory, and the Defense Department’s newly renamed emerging capabilities and prototyping office. (See June 20, 2014; August 7, 2014.)
20150626: FAA Administrator Michael Huerta issued a national policy titled “Federal Aviation Administration Compliance Philosophy.” The new philosophy, in part, stated, “FAA recognizes that some deviations arise from factors such as flawed procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding, or diminished skills. The Agency believes that deviations of this nature can most effectively be corrected through root cause analysis and training, education or other appropriate improvements to procedures or training programs for regulated entities, which are documented and verified to ensure effectiveness. However, reluctance or failure in adopting these methods to remediate deviations or instances of repeated deviations might result in enforcement.” (October 14, 2014.)
20150626: FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta and French National Space Agency President Jean-Yves Le Gall signed a memorandum of cooperation to cooperate on research and development related to the safety of private sector orbital space launches and re-entry activities. The research-related, non-binding arrangement was the first of its kind covering research into commercial orbital space operations. FAA also had nonbinding arrangements or exchanges of letters with Curaçao, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom that covered FAA assistance with development of domestic regulations relating to commercial space transportation. (See October 31, 2014.)
20180626: FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Defense to guide joint efforts on ADS-B Out implementation. Secretary of the Air Force signed the agreement on July 17. FAA required aircraft that fly in most U.S. controlled airspace to be equipped with a Version 2 ADS-B Out system as of 2020. Under the MOA, the agencies “are jointly pursuing a post-2020 accommodation strategy that assures the Defense Department the same level of access to the national airspace system that it continues to have prior to the mandate.” “The accommodations will address those Defense Department aircraft that will not be equipped with ADS-B Out by 2020, as well as certain national security mission sets conducted by aircraft that are ADS-B Out equipped.” Some military aircraft may not be equipped until 2029. (See September 19, 2016; October 12, 2018.)
20190626: Secretary of Transportation Chao and Argentine Minister of Transport Guillermo Dietrich signed a Protocol of Amendment that modernized the 1985 Air Transport Services Agreement between the two countries. The agreement allowed for increased competition and service to more destinations between the two countries. It included unrestricted capacity and frequency, open route rights, a liberal charter regime, and open code-sharing opportunities.