UPDATED With New Research:    February 21, 2017

ATC - Next 30 Years
Significant Chronological History -  (1994)

 New Updates:   (February 21, 2017) 

The Next 30 Years: 1983-2013

Commercial Aviation and Air Traffic Control



    February 17, 1994 - FAA announced that it was implementing civil use of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC of the Global Positioning System) (GPS). The system's 24 satellites were operating in their assigned orbit and providing signals. Two types of GPS signal receivers were also certified.

Also called Navstar is a global navigation satellite system providing geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver in all weather conditions anywhere on or near the earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.


   April 15, 1994 - FAA'S Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATSCC) officially began operations in its new facility at Herndon, Virginia. They moved from FAA Headquarters in Washington D.C. because of size and technological constraints.

The ATSCC balances air traffic demand with system capacity in the National Airspace System (NAS). With record numbers of flights in the air, and continuously shifting weather patterns, the ATSCC is responsible to balance demand with capacity and weather variables.

With advanced automation tools, the Command Center is in direct communications with

  1. Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs).
  2. Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities (TRACONs).
  3. Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs).
  4. Aviation Industry Partners.


May 20, 1994 - The FAA introduced an interim policy on Boeing B-757 wake turbulence separations. Air traffic controllers must maintain a 4-mile separation for both large and small aircraft following B-757s.

The FAA indicated  they would revise guidance to pilots concerning wake turbulence and would study further changes in air traffic rules relating to this hazard.

New -- BOEING B-777 -- New

June 12, 1994 - The Boeing B-777, the first U.S. Jetliner to use a "fly-by-wire" control system, made its first flight. The B-777 is a long-range wide-body, twin-engine jet and is the world's largest twinjet with a seating capacity of up to 396 passengers, and a maximum range of 8,555 miles.

The FAA approved the B-777 to fly on long, over-water flights as far as 3 hours from a landing site. This was the first time that the FAA had granted this Extended Twin-Engine Operations (ETOPS) authority without an extensive period of in-service operation.


The Boeing B-777LR is the world/s longest-range airliner, able to fly more than halfway around the globe and holds the record for the longest distance flown non-stop by a commercial aircraft.

The B-777 first entered commercial service with United Airlines on June 7, 1995. It is one of Boeing's best -selling models, and is more fuel-efficient than other wide-body jets.


   April 7, 1994 - Federal Express Flight 705, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 cargo jet from Memphis, Tennessee to San Jose, California experienced an attempted hijacking by a FedEx employee. The 3 crew members were severely injured, but managed to subdue the attacker and land the DC-10 safely with no loss of life.

The FedEx employee boarded the flight carrying a guitar case concealing several hammers and a spear gun. He intended to switch off the jet's cockpit voice recorder before take-off and once airborne, kill the crew with hammers. He intended to use the spear-gun as a last resort. He wanted to let his family collect on a $2.5 million life insurance policy provided by Federal Express.

The hijacker pleaded temporary insanity but was sentenced to 2 consecutive life sentences for attempted murder and attempted air piracy.


July 2, 1994 - A USAir Flight 1016, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 flying from Columbia, South Carolina crashed while attempting to land in a heavy thunderstorm and microburst-induced windshear at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 37 of the 57 persons aboard, and seriously injured 16 others. The DC-9 crashed into heavy trees and a private residence near the airport.  (37 Fatalitiies)

Although the DC-9 was equipped with an on-board windshear warning system, it did not activate for some unknown reason, and the jet stalled and impacted the ground.


The NTSB listed 4 probable causes of this accident: 1. The crew's decision to continue an approach into severe convective activity that was conducive to a microburst;   2. The crew's failure to recognize a wind shear situation in a timely manner;  3. The crew's failure to establish and maintain the proper attitude and thrust setting necessary to escape the windshear; and  4. the lack of real-time adverse weather and windshear hazard information from Air Traffic Control.

Contributing to this accident were:  1. The lack of Air Traffic Control procedures that would have required the controller to display and issue ASR-9 radar weather information to the pilots;  2. The Charlotte tower supervisor's failure to properly advise and ensure that all controllers were aware of and reporting the reduction in visibility and the RVR value information;  3. The inadequate remedial actions by USAir to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures;  and 4. The inadequate software logic in the jet's windshear warning system that did not provide an alert upon entry into the windshear.


   September 8, 1994 - USAir Flight 427, a Boeing B-737-300, from Chicago ORD to Pittsburgh, crashed while attempting to land at Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board. The B-737 entered an aerodynamic stall, and the pilots were unable to recover.          (132 Fatalitiies)

Flight 427 was sequenced behind a Delta Boeing B-727-200, and encountered the wake turbulence of the B-727. The crew heard 3 sudden thumps, clicking sounds, and a louder thump as the B-737 began to bank and roll to the left, stalled and rolled upside down. The jet then rolled back upright, but after a few seconds on its side, the jet continued to roll while pitched nose-down at the ground. In an 80-degree nose-down position, banked 60 degrees left and travling at 300 mph, the B-737 slammed into the ground and exploded near Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, about 6 miles northwest of Pittsburgh International Airport. Weather was not a factor.

The NTSB listed the probable cause of this accident was a loss of control of the jet resulting from the movement of the rudder surface to its below down limit. The rudder surface most likely deflected in a direction opposite to that commanded by the pilots as a result of a jam of the main rudder power control unit servo valve secondary slide to the servo valve housing offset from its neutral position and over travel on the primary side. The safety issues focused on Boeing B-737 rudder malfunctions, including rudder reversals; the adequacy of the B-737 rudder system design; unusual attitude training for air carrier pilots, and flight data recorder parameters.

The FAA addressed the Boeing B-737 rudder malfunctions, including rudder reversals; the adequacy of the B-737 rudder system design; unusual attitude training for air carrier pilots and flight data recorder (FDR) parameters.


September  12, 1994 - At 2:00 AM, a Cesssna-150 flew low in the heart of the capital's downtown, banked left in a U-turn near the Washington Monument and headed straight toward the President's bedroom in the White House. Secret Service agents stationed outside the South Portico had only seconds to scramble out of the way as the two-seat, propeller-driven Cessna, with its power shut off and only its wing lights on, came straight at them.

The Cessna had been stolen and departed from Aldino Airport in Maryland. The pilot was intoxicated which led to his later miscalculation.  The Cessna was noticed by radar technicians at National Airport several minutes before he tried to steer it into the wall of the White House. He hit the south lawn and died on impact.

The pilot was arrested a few times for theft and drug dealing, and had spent 90 days in a drug rehabilitation center. When his 3rd wife left him he became depressed and suicidal.


The crash caused a re-evaluation in security procedures around the White House, as the pilot had entered restricted airspace. Though the White House is rumored to be equipped with surface-to-air missiles, none were fired.


October 31, 1994 - American Eagle Flight 4184, an ATR-72, (built by a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR), flying  from Indianapolis to Chicago O'Hare, flew into severe icing conditions, lost control and crashed into a field near Roselawn, Indiana.  All 68 people aboard were killed in the high speed impact.              (68 Fatalitiies)

Flight 4184 was in a holding pattern at 10,000 feet, and while the aircraft was descending to 8,000 feet, the aircraft went out of control due to the effects of icing and crashed. The icing occurred in areas of the wings that were beyond the area protected by the deicing system. A warning sound indicated an overspeed warning due to the extended flaps, and the flaps were retracted, followed by an uncommanded roll excursion that disengaged the autopilot. The aircraft subsequently went through at least one full roll, after which the crew regained control of the rapidly descending aircraft. Then another roll occurred, and 30 seconds later contact was lost and the plane crashed.


The ATR-72 is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner manufactured by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR.

The NTSB determined the probable causes were the loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal that occurred after a ridge of ice formed beyond the deice boots because:

1. ATR failed to disclose to operators, and incorporate in the flight manual, flight crew operating manual and flight crew training programs, adequate information concerning previously known effects of freezing precipitation on the stability and control characteristics, autopilot and related operational procedures when the ATR-72 was operated in such conditions.

2. Inadequate oversight and failure to take the necessary corrective action to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions; and failure to provide the FAA with timely airworthiness information developed from previous ATR incidents and accidents in icing conditions.

Contributing to this accident was the FAA's failure to ensure that aircraft icing certification requirements, operational requirements for flight into icing conditions and FAA published aircraft icing information adequately accounted for the hazards that can result from flight in freezing rain and other icing conditions, and FAA's inadequate oversight of the ATR-72 to ensure continued airworthiness in icing conditions.

The FAA prohibited flight by ATR models 72 and 42 into known or forecast icing conditions. They also required the installation of improved deicing boots.


   November 22, 1994 - TWA Flight 427, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, to Denver, CO, departing St. Louis International Airport, on takeoff roll struck a Cessna-441 Conquest II, killing both occupants.  (2 Fatalitiies)


The Cessna had been cleared to Runway 31 to wait for takeoff clearance. However it continued beyond Taxiway R to Runway 30R and held in position there. TWA Flight 427 was cleared by ground control to taxi to Runway 30R.

Cleared for take off, the copilot started the takeoff roll. When they saw the Cessna, they initiated braking and the captain attempted to use the rudder to go around the Cessna to the left. The jet struck the Cessna on the right side, shearing off the top of the small plane.

The NTSB concluded that the Cessna pilot may have believed 30R was the assigned runway for his departure. TWA 427 was cleared for takeoff while the Cessna was still on the ground control frequency. The NTSB recommended ground radar be installed at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and that pilots should be required to read back runway assignments and controllers verify readback.


   December 13, 1994 - An American Eagle commuter Flight 3379, (twin-turboprop), a BAe Jetstream 3201 aircraft from Greensboro, NC, crashed in fog and drizzle on approach to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina International Airport killing 15 of the 20 persons aboard.   (15 Fatalitiies)

When the No. 1 engine ignition light illuminated as a result of momentary negative torque condition when the propeller speed levers were advanced to 100% and the power levers were at flight idle, the captain suspected an engine flame out and decided to execute a missed approach. The speed had decreased to 122 knots and two momentary stall warnings sounded as the pilot called for max power. The flight was in a left turn at 1800 feet and continued to decrease to 103 knots, followed by stall warnings. The rate of descent increased rapidly and they struck some trees and crashed about 4 miles from the airport.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of this accident was the captain's improper assumption that an engine had failed and his subsequent failure to follow approved procedures for engine failure, single-engine approach and go-around and stall recovery. Contributing to the cause of this accident was the failure of AMR Eagle/Flagship management to identify, document, monitor and remedy deficiencies in pilot performance and training.

The NTSB cited errors by the captain, who had resigned from another airline following adverse performance evaluations. The NTSB recommended the establishment of a system for airlines to share information on pilot qualifications.

1st 25 Years:   | Pre-FAA | 1959 | 1962 | 1965 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1972 | 1974 | 1977 | 1979 | 1981 | 1982
 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 |
99 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 |  

Last revised: February 21, 2017

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