Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- June 19th

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

” Jun 19, 1970: 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 Dec 1969 and Jul 1971.) “

I bet most civilians have never heard of a “Microwave Landing System” (in that it didn’t go anywhere) but the story sure sounds familiar doesn’t it ? Would you like to see how this story turns out ? Read on.

”Jun 1976: FAA received delivery of the first prototype microwave landing system (MLS). The program--a high-priority undertaking begun in 1971 and participated in by FAA, DOD, and NASA--was considered a key element of the upgraded third generation air traffic control system (see Jul 1971). FAA planned to test the prototypes at the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center, in Atlantic City, and at a NASA base in California. (See Jul 22, 1975, and Mar 16, 1977.) “

”Jan 12, 1984: The Federal Aviation Administration awarded a contract to Hazeltine Corporation for 178 Microwave Landing Systems (MLSs). (See Jan 28, 1982, and May 20, 1987.) “

”Apr 6, 1989: In Lebanon, NH, FAA commissioned the first permanent, Federally funded Microwave Landing System (MLS) at a commercial airport. The Hazeltine Corporation had delivered the system to the agency under a contract for 178 MLS units. On Aug 7, 1989, however, FAA notified Hazeltine that it was terminating the contract because of the company's failure to meet the specified delivery schedule. (See May 20, 1987, and Dec 6, 1989.) “

”Jun 2, 1994: Administrator Hinson announced that FAA would halt further development of the Microwave Landing System (MLS) for use under the more difficult visibility conditions rated Category 2 and 3 (see Jun 15, 1992). He stated that the agency instead would concentrate on the development of the Global Positioning System, known as GPS (see Feb 17, 1994). On Jun 8, FAA issued a request for proposals for an initial Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for GPS. The initial WAAS would be a network of 24 ground stations and related communications systems that would enhance the integrity and availability of GPS signals (see entry for Aug 1, 1995). On Jul 16, Administrator Hinson and President Phil Boyer of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association landed at the Frederick, Md., airport using the first FAA-approved public "stand alone" GPS instrument approach. On Oct 17, the Administrator formally offered free use of GPS for 10 years to International Civil Aviation Organization member states, reconfirming a previous verbal offer (see entry for Apr 1, 1991). Other related events during 1994 included FAA’s Dec 8 announcement of approval of GPS as a primary means of navigation for oceanic/remote operations, subject to certain conditions. “

(emphasis added)

Don Brown
June 19, 2007

No comments: