Last revised: September 06, 2013

1959 | 1962 | 1965 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1972 | 1974 | 1977 | 1979 | 1981 | 1982

ATC - 25 Best Years - (1958-83)

Album # 3.


March 1, 1962 - - New York

March 1, 1962 - American Airlines B-707 took off from Idlewild Airport (now JFK) for Los Angeles with 87 passengers and a crew of 8. Making a right turn over Queens, the jet banked too far, flipped 90 degrees, and began an upside-down, nose-first descent in a nearly vertical dive into the water only 50' from the shore. (95 Fatalities)


An improper maintenance technique resulted in internal wiring damage and rudder failure causing the jet to nose-dive into Jamaica Bay.

The FAA's mission of promoting safety in the airspace above America communicated with all B-707 operators to inform them of the potential danger of the cotter pin and bolt assembly in the B-707 rudder.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport

  1962 - ORD - The FAA authorizes simultaneous instrument approaches and landings on parallel runways at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to relieve traffic backup during peak activity periods.





March 22, 1962 - - Iowa

May 22, 1962 - An explosion (dynamite detonation in a rear lavatory) blew the tail off of a Continental Airlines B-707, from ORD to Kansas city, over southern Iowa. (45 Fatalities)

The pilot deviated from his filed flight plan to avoid a line of thunderstorms. The aircraft broke up and the main part of the fuselage was found about 6 miles northwest of Unionville, MO.


Initial reports assumed the aircraft broke apart by a tremendous force - possibly a tornado or extremely heavy turbulence. However FBI agents discovered that a man had purchased a life insurance policy for $150,000. plus another insurance policy for $150,000. He had recently been arrested for armed robbery and was facing a hearing in the matter. It was also found that this man had purchased dynamite shortly before the crash, and that a bomb had been placed in a rear lavatory. (Suicide-for-insurance plot)

  June, 1962 - Dulles International Airport opening ceremonies by both President Kennedy and former President Eisenhower, and Najeeb Halaby.


  1962 - The FAA commissioned nine new Air Traffic Control Center buildings: Fort Worth ARTCC - (ZFW at Ft. Worth, TX), Kansas City ARTCC - (ZKC at Olathe, KS), Denver ARTCC - (ZDV at Longmont, CO).


Memphis ARTCC - (ZME at Memphis, TN), Minneapolis ARTCC - (ZMP at Farmington, MN), Seattle ARTCC - (ZSE at Auburn, WA), Salt Lake City ARTCC - (ZLC at Salt Lake City, UT), Indianapolis ARTCC - (ZID at Indianapolis, IN) and on December 1, 1962: Chicago ARTCC - (ZAU at Aurora, IL)

In October the Pittsburgh ARTCC was transferred to Cleveland ARTCC - (ZOB at Oberlin, OH).


During the Cold War there was a continuing state of military tension between the Western world and the Communist world, led by the Soviet Union. The FAA, recognizing the possibility that an atomic bomb could be used to disrupt the safety of air travel, relocated many of the ARTCC's away from Metropolitan areas. Chicago ARTCC was moved from Chicago's Midway Airport to Aurora, IL.


(More photos of ZAU

Chicago Center at Midway Airport




Flight Progress Strips



"Shrimp Boats" were pieces of plastic with the aircraft call sign/tail number written on them with a grease pencil. The 'shrimp boat' would be placed on top of a horizontal radar screen and pushed along the scope on top of the radar beacon representing the aircraft.

Horizontal PVD - (with 'Shrimp Boats')


Plan View Display - (PVD)

A Ratheon CDC 19-inch circular radar scope.
Initially used in horizontal (analog) mode, and later in vertical (digital) mode.



February 9, 1963 - The first Boeing-727, (190 passengers), the world's 2nd most successful jet airliner built, a three engine jet of short/medium range first flew, was certificated in December, and entered scheduled airline service with Eastern Airlines in 1964. By 1988, U.S. air carriers were operating 1,246 B-727s.

The B-727 was the first rear-engine Trijet configuration, giving redundancy of three engines for better climb performance and improved operating economics over a four-engine jet. It was designed for short-haul routes and is capable of operating out of restricted length runways at smaller airports.

This Trijet features 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines at the rear section of the aircraft, along with a T-tail. One engine mounted on either side of the rear fuselage, and a center-installed engine connecting through an S-duct to an air inlet mounted at the junction of the tail and upper fuselage.

The B-727 first entered service with Eastern Airlines in 1964. A stretched version, B-727-200, was also later  produced. For over a decade, more B-727's were built than any other jet airliner. A total of 1,832 B727's were built when production ended in 1984 for a sales record for the most jet airliners ever sold. (Note: That sales record was broken with the introduction of the newer, twin-engine B-737's in the 1990s.)

Boeing B-727 accidents and incidents. An "aviation incident" is an occurrence, other than an accident, which affects or could affect the safety of operations. As of 2010 the B-727 was involved in a total of 325 incidents.

A "hull-loss" accident is one in which the damage to the aircraft is such that it must be written off, or in which the plane is completely destroyed. As of 2010 the B-727 was involved in a total of 112 hull-loss accidents. The combined incidents, and hull-loss accidents resulted in a total of 3,783 fatalities. The B-727 has also been involved in 178 world-wide hijackings involving 345 fatalities.

The first of many notable B-727 accidents occurred on August 16, 1965 When a United B-727 crashed into Lake Michigan 30 miles east of Chicago O'Hare Airport.

Comments in our guestbook from a B-727 pilot with over 14,000 hours in the B-727 for Eastern Airlines:

"...the crashes of the B-727 were not related to 'falling out of the sky' (as newspapers of the day incorrectly stated , due to 'High Sink Rate")... but rather pilot error.

The Boeing-727 was a very reliable and pleasant plane to fly, however the 'spool-up' for those engines was a very well-known characteristic... One of the reasons the B-727 had the high-drag flap arrangement was that it enabled the pilot to have the engines spooled up ready for a fast acceleration to full power if needed."

February 12, 1963 - - Miami, FL

February 12, 1963 - Miami, FL - Northwest B-720 crashed after penetrating a severe thunderstorm cell. While attempting to pull out of a turbulence-induced dive, the aircraft broke apart due to excessive G-forces. The B-720 has a tendency to 'weathervane' into wind gusts. When the initial updraft caught the aircraft, it would nose down into the gust. The pilot pulled up which actually worsened the situation. The same effect worked in the downdraft which followed. Full up-elevator was used in the recovery attempt, full nose-down trim was still wound in from the prior encounter with the updraft. Boeing tests showed that  recovery from the dive in this condition beyond 320kts is not possible. (43 Fatalities)  


In a concerted effort of the entire aviation community, The FAA initiated a program for educating pilots of the potential hazards of turbulence. The FAA issued many safety bulletins dealing with piloting technique and aircraft characteristics regarding turbulence. The FAA inspectors were tasked to insure that proper attention to this problem was addressed in airline training programs.

The FAA also required the aviation industry to develop improved attitude indicators, and aircraft manufacturers wrote improved rough air penetration techniques including restricted nose down electric stabilizer trim limits to reduce the likelihood of serious out-of-trim conditions.

Additionally, the FAA urged the aviation industry to develop improved flight simulators that can more realistically duplicate aircraft motions and rough air penetrations, and require their use in initial and recurrent flight training programs.

March 5, 1963 - - Tennessee

March 5, 1963 - Camden, TN - Country Western singer Patsy Cline, 30, Hawkshaw Hawkins, 39, Cowboy Copas, 49, and Cline's manager Randy Hughes were all killed when a chartered Piper Comanche flew into a storm and crashed. The pilot did not have an instrument rating.


"Your Cheatin' Heart"
"Have You Ever Been Lonely"
"Heartaches"     "Crazy"
"Faded Love"
            "Fall to Pieces"
     "3 Cigarettes In An Ashtray"
     "I Love You So Much It Hurts Me"


June 3, 1963 - - Pacific Ocean

June 3, 1963 - Pacific Ocean - A Northwest Airlines DC-7 crashed into the Pacific Ocean on a flight from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska. (101 Fatalities)  

The DC-7 was chartered by the Military Air Transport Service to carry 95 servicemen and their families from McChord AFB in Washington to Elmendorf AFB in Alaska. wreckage was recovered west of Annette Island, Alaska, but none of the bodies of the crew or passengers were ever recovered.

A large number of recovered adult life vests still in their plastic containers indicated that there was insufficient time to alert the passengers to prepare for a water landing, or they were unable to take appropriate action due to unusual aircraft attitudes.

Fragmentation of the aircraft  indicates that the DC-7 struck the water at a high speed and the damage to the seat backs shows forces applied to the top of the seat indicating that the airplane fuselage struck the water nearly inverted. The concentration of the observed wreckage and the failure to find any floating wreckage outside that general area shows that the aircraft was probably intact at impact.

Because of a lack of evidence, the NTSB was unable to determine the probable cause of this accident.



LOS ANGELES ARTCC was commissioned in 1937 and moved to Palmdale, CA in 1963

1963 -
Spokane ARTCC was transferred to the Seattle ARTCC - (ZSE), and the FAA commissioned the Albuquerque ARTCC - (ZAB at Albuquerque), Boston ARTCC - (ZBW at Nashua, NH), Los Angeles ARTCC - (ZLA at Palmdale, CA), Washington ARTCC - (ZDC in Leesburg, VA), and Miami ARTCC - (ZMA at Miami, FL) in September.


  November 22, 1963 - FAA Washington Headquarters staff began moving into the newly completed Federal Office Building at 800 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.


 November 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson.


December 8, 1963 - - Maryland

December 8, 1963 - Pan Am B-707 crashes over Elkton, MD. The B-707 was in a holding patter awaiting an instrument approach to the Philadelphia International Airport when it was struck by lightning resulting in an explosion and destruction of the aircraft. A large portion of the left wing separated in flight and the aircraft crashed in flames. (81 Fatalities)

The probable cause was lightning induced ignition of fuel/air mixture in the No. 1 reserve fuel tank with resultant explosive disintegration of the left outer wing and loss of control. A "MAYDAY" transmission was heard from the flight, and shortly thereafter, the pilot of another aircraft broadcasted that "Clipper 214 is going down in flames."


The FAA, working with the aviation and petroleum industries, developed a solution to the lightning problem applicable to all aircraft in service as well as new aircraft. Lightning static discharge wicks were then installed on all commercial jet liners.


February 25, 1964 - - Louisiana

February 25, 1964 - Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana - Eastern Air Lines, DC-8 crashed into Lake Pontchartrain after takeoff. (58 Fatalities)

Visibility was good with light rain and calm winds. Investigation concluded the the plane crashed due to degradation of aircraft stability characteristics in turbulence, because of abnormal longitudinal trim component positions.

During the climb the elevator moved to 2 degrees and the airplane nose down, which is  an abnormal flight condition. Climbing in clouds through 4,000', the DC-8 encountered moderate and probably severe wind shear turbulence. Control was lost and the airplane struck the surface of the lake at a dive angle in excess of 20 degrees. A possible factor was the attitude indicator which was small with a solid black background and difficult to interpret at night.

Reno to San Francisco - Skyjacking

May 7, 1964 - A passenger shot the captain and first officer of a Pacific Air Lines twin-engine turboprop Fairchild Fokker F-27 enroute from Reno, NV to San Francisco, CA. The aircraft crashed near San Ramon, CA. (44 fatalities).

The FBI found that when the passenger left SFO for Reno the day before, he was carrying the Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and that he had purchased $100,000 worth of life insurance at the airport, payable to his wife. (Murder/Suicide)

Interesting to note that one of the 3 daughters of the murdered Captain of Pacific Air Lines, and orphaned at the age of 15 by her father's death, became a commercial airline pilot for Northwest Airlines. The co-pilot's only son, and 4th child, attended the Air Force Academy and flew for Alaska Airlines.

June 30, 1964 - FAA begins a research and development on the automation of Air Traffic Control (called National Airspace System - NAS En route Stage A) at its 20 en route centers. The first installation was at the Jacksonville Center.

July 31, 1964 -   - Nashville, TN


July 31, 1964 - Country Western singer 'Travis' Jim Reeves, 40, died in a Beechcraft-25 Debonair, which Jim was piloting. He flew into an area of thunderstorms and crashed in woods 10 miles south of Nashville, TN. It took 2 days to find the wreckage in the dense forest. His manager was also killed.


  "I Fall to Pieces"
  "Now and Then There's A Fool Such As I"
  "Am I Losing You"
  "A Fallen Star"
        "Adios Amigos"         "One Dozen Roses"
        "Am I That Easy To Forget"
     "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"
     "Welcome to My World "



1959 | 1962 | 1965 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1972 | 1974 | 1977 | 1979 | 1981 | 1982

Last revised: September 06, 2013

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