Monday, April 21, 2008

FAA History Lesson -- April 21



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

”Apr 21, 1958: An Air Force jet fighter collided with a United Air Lines DC-7 near Las Vegas, Nev., killing both occupants of the fighter and all 47 persons aboard the airliner. Another midair collision between a military jet and an airliner occurred on May 20 when a T-33 trainer and a Capital Airlines Viscount collided over Brunswick, Md. This second accident cost the lives of one of the two persons aboard the T-33 and all 11 aboard the Viscount. The twin tragedies spurred governmental action already underway to improve air traffic control and to establish a comprehensive Federal Aviation Agency. (See May 21 and May 28, 1958.) “

You’ll see a lot of the 50-year-anniversary stories this year. As noted above, there will most likely be another on May 20th. That one, today’s and the Grand Canyon mid-air collision in 1956 make “the big three” that finally motivated the Federal Government to create a National Airspace System unified under civilian control -- the FAA.

I found a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the event this weekend and I think it’s worth your time. I hope you’ll note that the people interviewed don’t talk about government policy -- they talk of the loved ones lost. Even after 50 years. That is what makes policy important -- the impact it has on plain, ordinary people. Just like you and me.

Don Brown
April 21, 2008

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