Friday, August 17, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- August 17

In that I’ve been so busy this week (sorry about that) you get a two-for-one today.

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

”Aug 17, 1990: A portion of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) was called up for the first time in history as the Defense Department activated CRAF Level 1. Participating airlines provided aircraft and crews to expand U.S. airlift capability for the Operation Desert Shield deployment in the Middle East. (See Aug 2, 1990, and Sep 25, 1990.) ”

This was (of course) in support of the Persian Gulf war. It’s just a little reminder of how integrated the National Airspace System (NAS) is in national defense. Also, let me go with it just a little further. When the Department of Defense needs additional airlift capacity, they don’t need regional jets. They need aircraft with “legs” -- long range aircraft with large capacity. Regional jets are all well and good for certain markets but they do not a National Airspace System make.

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

” Aug 17, 1994: President Clinton signed the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994. Under the new law, manufacturers could not be held liable for accidents happening more than 18 years after the production of general aviation aircraft, engines, or parts. The legislation was followed by an upturn for this sector of industry. “

I haven’t really studied this issue but on the surface it seems to be another example of good public policy. Just as the average citizen never hears of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, most don’t have any idea how much General Aviation contributes to the National Airspace System. Lawsuits were slowly but surely killing off the industry. I’d like to see more done in public policy to promote General Aviation but at least we didn’t let it die off.

Don Brown
August 17, 2007

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