Friday, October 19, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- October 19

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

”Oct 19, 1981: FAA placed a General Aviation Reservation (GAR) plan in effect, because the number of private aircraft flying in the sytem increased substantially after the controllers' strike. General aviation pilots who wished to fly under air traffic control were required to make reservations under a quota based on the percentage of flights that aircraft in their category had flown prior to the PATCO strike of Aug 3, 1981 (see that date). The restriction became necessary as non-airline pilots, some of whom had refrained from using the air traffic control system at the strike's beginning, began to increase operations. After two weeks under the GAR plan, FAA announced that the number of private aircraft flying in the system had been reduced to approximately the pre-strike level, and that the plan had helped to cut delays for both airline and private flights. (See Dec 31, 1983.)“

Maybe it’s just me, but this entry seems to lead people astray right from the start. The General Aviation Reservation plan wasn’t because there were too many airplanes -- it was because there was a lack of controllers. I’d also argue with the use of “refrained.” If you go back and check the entry from August 3rd -- the day of the PATCO strike...

“...General aviation flights operated under the severest restrictions. Aircraft with a gross takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less were prohibited from flying under instrument flight rules; moreover, aircraft flying under visual flight rules were prohibited from entering terminal control areas. Other general aviation aircraft were served, as conditons permitted, on a first-come-first-served basis. (See Jul 2, 1981, and Sep 4, 1981.)”

A lack of controllers. Hmmm...I wonder why that sounds familiar ?

Don Brown
October 19, 2007

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