Thursday, March 19, 2009

FAA History Lesson -- March 19 (09)

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

”Mar 1976: Responding to public and congressional concern about near collisions in the air, Administrator John L. McLucas announced a five-point separation assurance program: continued enhancement of ground-based air traffic control; consideration of increased use of Instrument Flight Rules and radar beacon surveillance; possible additional requirements for carriage of radar beacons (transponders) with altitude reporting capability; development of the Beacon Collision Avoidance System (BCAS); and development of Intermittent Positive Control (IPC), which would allow automatic transmission of collision warnings from ground facilities (see Mar 4, 1976).

The inclusion of BCAS represented a milestone in the long search for an airborne collision warning device that had been begun by the Air Transport Association in 1955. FAA began participating in 1959 by sponsoring a government-industry advisory group, but by the early 1970s was under fire for failure to achieve prompt deployment of such a system. At congressional request, the agency in 1972 undertook an evaluation of three forms of Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) developed by Honeywell, McDonnell-Douglas, and RCA. Within FAA, however, opinion tended to favor the BCAS system, which made use of radar transponders and was more compatible with the ground-based air traffic control system.
On Feb 9, 1976, McLucas reported to Senator Howard Cannon that, although Honeywell's system was the best of the three ACAS versions, increased separation assurance could best be achieved by other means,
including development of BCAS. (See Dec 27, 1978.) “

So, if NextGen is like TCAS, you’ll see it implemented (mostly) by 2040 or so. For another frame of reference, PanAm started flying Boeing 707s when we first started working on TCAS. By the time it was fielded, the airlines had been flying Boeing 757s and 767s for a decade.

”Jan 10, 1989: FAA published a rule requiring the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II) on all airliners with more than 30 passenger seats operating in U.S. airspace (see Mar 18, 1987). The airlines were to phase in TCAS II by Dec 30, 1991. On Apr 9, 1990, however, FAA extended the TCAS II compliance schedule completion date to Dec 30, 1993 (an extension that also applied to wind shear warning equipment: see Sep 22, 1988). The Jan 10, 1989, rule also required turbine-powered commuter aircraft with 10 to 30 passenger seats to install the simpler TCAS I by Feb 9, 1995, a deadline later extended to Dec 31, 1995.”

And NextGen is going to cure that delay you are steaming mad about today... about when Boeing is making 7-12-7s. Or will that be 848s ? Or will Boeing go the way of Douglas ?

Don Brown
March 19, 2009

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