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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: June 4th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19690604: FAA and the Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA) signed a contract under which FAA would provide technical assistance for air navigation and traffic control services to COCESNA, a five-nation governmental group whose members were Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. FAA had traditionally provided technical assistance to Latin American countries under the sponsorship of the State Department’s Agency for International Development; however, this was the first time FAA provided such services to these countries under a direct reimbursable contract.
19710604: FAA issued the first supplemental type certificate approving installation of a nitrogen fuel-tank inerting system in a civil aircraft to protect against accidental ignition of fuel vapors.

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: June 3rd

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19260603: Amended legislation introduced a more workable method of paying airlines for carrying mail. The Air Mail Act of February 2, 1925, commonly known as the Kelly Act, had provided for transportation of mail on the basis of contracts between the Post Office Department and individual air carriers, a system that was to prove a great boon to America’s fledgling airlines. Under the original Kelly Act, however, the carrier’s compensation was computed as a percentage of the actual postage affixed to the mail carried. Since this computation proved cumbersome, the 1926 amendment substituted a procedure under which the airlines were paid by the pound for mail carried. (See May 17, 1928.)
19590603: FAA announced that the agency had commissioned UNIVAC file computers for use in air traffic control at its New York and Washington air route traffic control centers (ARTCCs).

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: June 2nd

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19490602: Administrator D. W. Rentzel announced completion of a CAA reorganization begun in May 15, 1945 (see that date). The change was intended to centralize policy control to assure uniformity, while allowing technical supervision of programs to continue in the field. The Administrator was now assisted by two deputies, one charged with general supervision of personnel, budget, and management functions. The other deputy coordinated the activities of Washington offices in planning all programs and evaluating their implementation in the field. Additional steps to insure a closely knit organization included establishment of a staff school where technical personnel would receive uniform training in administrative procedures, and placement of Washington representatives on regional boards for approving new types of aircraft.

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: June 1st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19450601: Effective this date, CAA permitted the physical examination for private and student pilots to be made by any registered physician. (See February 28, 1927, and June 15, 1960.)
19450601: Ending a monopoly by Pan American Airways, CAB granted three U.S. airlines the authority to serve North Atlantic routes to Europe. The three were Pan American, Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), and American Export Airlines. On the same day, CAB approved American Airlines’ acquisition of the control of American Export. (See June 28, 1939, and October 24, 1945.)
19480601: Delos W. Rentzel became CAA Administrator. He succeeded Theodore P. Wright (see September 23, 1944), who had submitted his resignation on January 11.

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Airports UnspinningTheSpin

[KBED]: ‘Just Say NO’ to North Airfield Expansion

People are impacted by aviation across the nation, mostly due to bad growth decisions by airport authorities like Massport. One of the three airports run by Massport is KBED, the Hanscom Airport in Bedford. The current KBED case study is a clear opportunity for people everywhere to learn about greenwashing, about the diminishment of citizen engagement, and about two key needs in the near future:

  1. the need to restore meaningful local control of airports (local residents and their leaders should have far more authority than the state or FAA, on deciding whether they want to allow skydiving, excessive flight training, large-scaled hangar additions, etc.; and,
  2. the need to rein in federal airport grant monies, especially the diversion of excessive airline passenger tax revenues and air cargo tax revenues wasted each year at thousands of GA airports.

The embedded PDF below provides an image of a 2018 KBED draft Airport Layout Plan (ALP). Yellow has been added, to mark a few hundred acres of airport land that could be divested for other community purposes, if the North Airfield Expansion is stopped. Dwell on the bottom of the embed window to use controls to zoom the PDF scale. KBED.20240526.. Proposal for Divestment of North-side Excess Airport Land (aiREFORM, 1p)

A Bit More Background

According to FAA’s data within their NPIAS 2023-2027 report, on average, each U.S. state has 262 airports, of which 65 per state are eligible for federal AIP grants. The vast majority of these AIP-eligible airports do not serve the larger public. Instead, these ‘general aviation’ (GA) airports serve two highly privileged and over-subsidized elite subsets: fewer than 200,000 GA ‘private pilot’ hobbyists, and a few thousand private and/or corporate jets, often used for vacations, golf and ski trips, and to fly ‘on a whim’ to do lunch or shopping or to go catch a sporting event or concert. Think about that: the main GA beneficiaries are vastly outnumbered by everyone else: there are roughly 2,000 non-aviation citizens for each hobbyist private pilot; they are not the 1% but a twentieth of the 1%.

When aviation activity peaked around 1980, it was largely because of massive federal grants, especially the GI Bill… Uncle Sam giving lots of money to veterans to learn to fly. The majority of that pilot growth went to either check off a personal bucket-list item or take on a new hobby. So, when the pool of GI Bill candidates declined, and when funding also declined, we started to see a steady drop in the pilot population and in annual aviation metrics.

Four+ decades of GA decline, and yet GA airports are expanding, and even faster in recent years. These airports are becoming less about a national system of air transport and more about low-cost leased public lands for posh beer gardens, man-caves, and virtual aviation country clubs.

One current hot case study is the largest GA airport in Massachusetts: Hanscom Field, KBED, 15-miles northwest of Boston. Like nearly every U.S. airport (not just GA, but also those dominated by airlines), both operations and based aircraft have declined significantly from peak levels around 1980. FAA’s Data (TAF, ATADS, ADIP, etc.) shows clearly, just as with all other economic sectors, we are enduring decades of  industry consolidation wherein only a very few airports are seeing growth.

Given this fact, most airports should be figuring out how to downsize, and how to provide their diminishing services on less acres. Nonetheless, and in no small part because federal grant monies are available, Massport is in free-for-all mode, trying to develop any and all corners of KBED. Just a couple years ago, there was zero active aviation development on the north half of the airport, and a strong case could be made to divest hundreds of excess airport acres, the better to be used for other community purposes, including open space and environmental protection of the Shawsheen River headwaters area. But, instead, Massport spent money moving hangars for a few small planes, seeking federal AIP grants to build and repair unused taxiways, etc., and, Massport is now embracing a huge addition of 17 large hangars in the so-called ‘North Airfield Expansion’.

Massport wants to increase revenues to match grants. Largest revenue sources at GA airports are lease and fuel flowage (per gallon fees added to fuel served at KBED). These funds are then used to get AIP grants, which typically are a very generous 90:10 or even 95:5 ratio (i.e., a million Massport dollars can pull in $9M or even $9.5M FAA AIP dollars). They want to add hangar capacity to store ~50% more aircraft; they want to add an entirely new storage ‘fuel farm’ for aviation fuel, on the north side, which also will add a ~50% increase in airport fueling capacity. They want this so badly they are stuck greenwashing, pretending all of this growth will reduce the airports environmental impact… all while hiding the key data that undermines their agenda. They are not doing this to serve the community; this is for an elite base of airport operators and Massport yes-men.

What else can you do?

      • See the excellent content and organization at the Stop Private Jet Expansion (SPJE) website.
      • Submit your own comments to Massport’s DEIR process, in opposition to the expansion proposal. Aviation is the fastest way to make an outsized carbon impact, undermining all other efforts to address expanding Climate Change, and small jets serving one or two pampered passengers are the worst of the aviation offenders, on an impact per passenger metric.
      • learn more by researching online, and watch for more aiREFORM Posts and data soon to follow.
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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: May 31st

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19460531: CAA announced that production certificates would be handled by the regional offices rather than from Washington to speed issuance to aircraft manufacturers.
19490531: Earl F. Ward died at age 56. An American Airlines executive, Ward organized the nation’s first air traffic control center (see December 1, 1935). In March 1936, he joined the Commerce Department as Supervisor, Airway Traffic Control, and during the next year became head of the new Airways Operations Division. Ward played an important part in conceiving and organizing the early en route traffic control system. At the time of his death, he was assisting in aviation planning in Chicago on behalf of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
19510531: Roosevelt Field, on Long Island, N.Y., closed. The facility had opened 40 years previously and had subsequently been named for Quentin Roosevelt, a son of Theodore Roosevelt killed in World War I.

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: May 30th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19580530: The Douglas DC-8 first flew. On August 31, 1959, FAA type-certificated this four-engine long-range jet airliner with a maximum capacity for 189 passengers. The plane entered scheduled airline service with Delta on September 18, 1959.
19740530: FAA certificated the Airbus A-300, the first of a series of wide-body transport aircraft produced by Airbus Industrie, an international consortium established in December 1970 with French, West German, British, Spanish, Dutch, and Belgian partner companies. The emergence of Airbus Industrie signaled greater competition for U.S. aircraft manufacturers. (See April 6, 1978.)
19910530: DOT announced a $5 million grant to Stewart International Airport, Newburgh, N.Y., the first award under the Military Airports Program mandated by the Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990 (see November 5, 1990).

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: May 29th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19390529: CAA’s Indianapolis Experimental Station opened with the mission of seeking improvements in ultra-high-frequency radio ranges, transmitters, receivers, instrument landing systems, airport lighting methods, and other air navigation aids. Located on a landing area contiguous with the municipal airport, the station was made available by the city of Indianapolis through a long-term lease arrangement. Its facilities included a hangar, laboratory, and shop building constructed in accordance with the Authority’s specifications.
19740529: FAA announced a new advisory circular on safety parameters for hang gliding, which included recommendations not to fly: over 500 feet above general terrain; in clouds; in controlled airspace, or within five miles of an uncontrolled airport without proper notification; in restricted or controlled areas without prior permission; over or within 100 feet horizontally of buildings, populated areas, or crowds.

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: May 28th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19370528: National Aviation Day occurred for the first time, on a one-time basis, pursuant to a Presidential proclamation issued in accordance with Public Resolution No. 32, 75th Congress, approved May 25, 1937. May 28 was selected because it marked the 20th anniversary of the decision to design what later became known as the Liberty engine, the principal U.S. contribution to aeronautics during World War I. (See August 19, 1939.)
19480528: The President approved legislation directing CAA to construct and operate public airports at or near Anchorage and Fairbanks “adequate for the needs of air-transportation services and air commerce of the United States serving the territory of Alaska and foreign countries by way of points within the territory of Alaska.” The act also authorized the Administrator to provide for facilities, roads, and services necessary to the operation of the airports.

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TDiFH

This Day in FAA History: May 27th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.
19460527: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Causby v. United States that flights over private land represent the taking of an air easement if they are “so low and so frequent as to be a direct and immediate interference with the enjoyment and use of the land.” Causby owned a small chicken farm near a municipal airport used by military aircraft that passed over his property at an altitude below 100 feet. The noise from these flights frightened the chickens, caused a drop in production, and eventually forced Causby to close down his chicken-raising operation. The Court found that the United States had taken an air easement over Causby’s property that interfered with its normal use. Causby’s Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, it held, because his property had been put to public use without just compensation. (See December 13, 1956, and March 5, 1962.)
19560527: The Sud-Aviation SE 210 Caravelle made its first flight.