FAA History Lesson -- September 1

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

” Sep 1, 1966 A voluntary agreement effective this date limited operations at Washington National Airport to a maximum of 60 Instrument Flight Rules operations per hour--40 for air carriers and 20 for general aviation. If air carrier IFR operations dropped below 40 per hour, general aviation would assume the unused “slots.” The agreement had been reached between FAA and the aviation groups using the airport, and approved by CAB. The need to limit operations at Washington National had risen from crowded condititions in the terminal buildings and on the runways, and from the rise in noise complaints since the introduction of jets into the airport. On Jul 1, 1966, FAA had issued a new operating policy, to be effective Aug 7, 1966, which required flights originating or departing from National to land on their first stop within a radius of 500 miles from Washington, D.C. This would have reduced the 650-mile radius agreed to in Apr by the airlines serving National (see Apr 24, 1966, and May 26, 1981). Shrinking the perimeter served by National, FAA had calculated, would have reduced the flow of passenger traffic through the terminal from 22,000 people daily to a manageable 18,000. FAA decided, however, to drop the more restrictive perimeter rule in favor of a rule limiting operations at National to 60 per hour. The quota rule was never issued because the airport users’ voluntary agreement made it unnecessary. With FAA's and CAB's blessing, a scheduling committee composed of representatives of carriers serving the airport was constituted to distribute slots among its membership. The agreement formally expired on Dec 1, 1966, but its terms were continued in force voluntarily. (See Spring 1967 and Jun 1, 1969.) ”

”Spring, 1967: Scheduled air-taxi operators agreed to limit their operations at Washington National Airport to a maximum of eight per hour. (See Sep 1, 1966, and Jun 1, 1969.)

(emphasis added)

We’ll save Jun 1, 1969 for a later date (like Jun 1.)

You might want to ask yourself how this particular airport came to this voluntary agreement way back in 1966. An agreement that, in one form or another, is still in force today. I think the answer lies right across the river from the airport.

Don Brown
September 1, 2007


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