Friday, May 16, 2008

FAA History Lesson -- May 16



Here is something new for today’s history lesson -- a political two-for-one.

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

”May 16, 1940: President Roosevelt called for the production of 50,000 airplanes a year. Since there were only about 30,000 pilots in the country, CAA subsequently announced that it would expand the Civilian Pilot Training Program to provide pilots for the increased number of planes. In 1940, the CPTP graduated 9,885 pilots, and in the 18 months before the United States entered the war, the number of pilots in the country rose from 31,000 to over 100,000, primarily throught the CPTP. (See Jun 27, 1939, and Dec 12, 1941.) ”

Dang ! If only I had finished that piece about Billy Mitchell bombing hillbillies I could really tie all this in. Alas...

The important thing to note -- Roosevelt knew he had a war coming and he knew how he wanted to fight it. Airpower. You’ll have to read your history to understand his brilliance. Remember, at this time the U.S. was in a depression and dead-set against becoming involved in the war. It was a good thing -- in that we were a third-rate military power.

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

”May 16, 1972: President Nixon signed into law the Air Traffic Controllers Career Program Act (Public Law 92-297). The act, an outgrowth of a Corson Committee recommendation (see Jan 29, 1970), authorized controllers to retire after 25 years of active duty, or at age 50 if they had 20 years of active service. The new law also established a mandatory age for retirement at 56, with exemptions at the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation up to age 61. (Normal voluntary retirement for Federal employees came at age 55 after 30 years service, or at age 60 after 20 years; mandatory retirement came at age 70.) The act also provided for a “second career program” of up to two years of training at government expense for controllers who had to leave traffic control work because of medical or proficiency disqualification. The act became effective on Aug 14 and was implemented by FAA on Sep 8.”

As NATCA enters it’s 621st day without a contract, I wanted to remind the newer generation that Republicans haven’t always been crazy. They’ve never been friendly to unions but they were, once upon a time, at least practical.

Don Brown
May 16, 2008

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