This Day in FAA History: July 9th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19530709: New York Airways became the first scheduled passenger helicopter air carrier to operate in the United States. (See October 1, 1947.)
19620709: Effective this date, a new FAA rule required supplemental (”nonsked”) airlines to conduct proving flights on new or materially altered aircraft before placing them in service. In effect, the new rule extended to the supplementals the provisions of a rule already applying to the scheduled airlines, requiring such aircraft to be flight tested a total of 100 hours, including 50 hours of en route operation and at least 10 hours at night. The new rule was one of several tightening-up measures deemed necessary when the supplementals’ safety record, which had been excellent, deteriorated in 1960 and 1961. (See November 8, 1961, and July 10, 1962.)
19820709: A Pan American 727 crashed shortly after takeoff from New Orleans International Airport, killing all 145 aboard and 8 persons on the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board listed the accident’s probable cause as the airplane’s encounter with microburst-induced wind shear, which imposed a downdraft and a decreasing headwind. As a contributory factor, the Board listed the limited ability of the current Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS) to provide definitive guidance for controllers and pilots in avoiding the hazard (see September 1978). Although the pilot was aware that LLWAS alerts were occurring periodically around the airport, the system did not detect the wind shear that affected the Pan Am flight until after takeoff began.
Concerned over the accident, Congress in December 1982 passed legislation requiring FAA to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a study of the wind shear hazard. The resulting report, completed by the Academy’s National Research Council in September 1983, urged that FAA establish an integrated wind shear program to address all aspects of the problem. The report’s recommendations included the improvement and wider use of LLWAS, which it considered the only detection system available in the near term for operational use. In October 1983, FAA announced that it had ordered another 51 of the systems. (See August 2, 1985.)
19820709: In City of Houston v. Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the perimeter rule prohibiting air carriers from operating nonstop flights to and from Washington National beyond a 1,000-mile radius was neither arbitrary nor capricious and, therefore, a valid exercise of power. (See April 24, 1966, December 6, 1981, and October 30, 1986).
20120709: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta joined federal and local officials in breaking ground for a new air traffic control tower at San Francisco International Airport. When completed in late 2015, the new tower would be 221 feet tall with a 650 square-foot controller work area. The project included a three-story, 44,000 square-foot base building, which would house administrative offices, computer equipment, a backup generator, and secure corridors to allow passengers to transit between terminals without allowing access to the tower. The current tower, which FAA commissioned in 1984, was 190-feet-tall and had a 525 square-foot controller work area. Under a partnership with the airport, FAA would pay up to $69.5 million toward the project’s $102 million cost and the airport would pay the additional costs as well as supervise the design and construction work.
20210709: FAA extended two cargo exemptions through December 31. The first exemption authorized airlines to transport cargo secured to the seat tracks of a passenger aircraft when seats were removed and no passengers were in the cabin. The second exemption allowed airlines to secure cargo to passengers’ seats if no passengers were in the cabin. (See July 10, 2020.)