Saturday, January 12, 2008

FAA History Lesson -- January 12

Some entries in the FAA Historical Chronology don’t have specific dates associated with them. Today, I thought I’d post a few diverse entries from the month of January.

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

”Jan, 1966: FAA and the Department of Defense signed an agreement on development of DAIR (direct altitude and identity readout), an automated air traffic control configuration for military facilities and low-density civil terminals. Unlike more sophisticated automated ATC configurations designed to provide alphanumerics, DAIR would employ only numerics. During fiscal 1970, the Air Force contracted for 304 production models of the system, now renamed the AN/TPX-42, and FAA exercised an option to acquire 56 of the systems over a five-year period. “

Once again, you see the close relationship between the DOD and the FAA. The Approach Control at Asheville, NC (AVL) used a TPX-42 for most of my career.

”Jan 1975: FAA shut down the Fairbanks ARTCC, after 31 years of operation and transferred its functions to the Anchorage ARTCC. “

There have been many Centers in the FAA’s history. If you ever visit the link posted for each of these history entries, you can download a complete list. It’s listed on the web page as “Appendix V.”

”Jan 1978: FAA and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation submitted to Congress a new master plan for the long-delayed modernization of FAA's 292 flight service stations (FSSs). The plan involved a three-stage process to complete system automation. The first stage involved the installation of semi-automated computer equipment at the 43 busiest stations. The second involved a choice between: the eventual consolidation of all 292 stations into 20 large ones, co-located at the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs), and modernization of up to 150 of the existing stations at their present sites. The decision on this stage could be postponed until 1982. The third stage would add the capacity for pilot selfbriefings, thus completely automating the most important FSS function. FAA estimated that if the FSS system was left unchanged, up to 11,500 specialists would be needed to operate it by 1995, as opposed to only 4,500 in 1978. (See Sep 1977 and Jun 1979.) “

The best number I could find showed approximately 2,500 specialists employed when the FAA contracted them out to Lockheed in 2005.

Don Brown
January 12, 2008

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