Fri, Dec 16, 2011
Led The Agency Under President Ronald Reagan
Former FAA Administrator J. Lynn Helms, who led the agency
during Ronald Regan's first term as president and was instrumental
in the firing of some 11,000 striking air traffic controllers,
passed away December 11th at the age of 86. The Washington
Post reports that he succumbed to heart failure and
complications from pneumonia at his home in Westport, CT.
Helms was administrator from April 22, 1981 to January 31, 1984.
According to Wikipedia, Helms retired from Piper in 1980 to assist
the incoming Regan administration with aviation policy, eventually
being confirmed as the Administrator. As such, he was a key player
when some 13,000 air traffic controllers walked off the job in what
was considered an illegal strike. Some 11,000 of those controllers
never returned to their jobs. He also was instrumental in the
decertification of the union which represented the controllers, and
air traffic was restricted for some time while new controllers were
trained and placed in facilities around the nation.
Helms is credited with originating the traffic avoidance concept
which eventually became TCAS, for which he was awarded the Collier
Trophy. During his career, he was named General Aviation Man of the
Year by GAMA in 1978, and became chairman of the organization in
1979. He was also awarded the General James H. Doolittle award and
trophy by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1980.
Helms is survived by his wife Lorraine, three children, three
grandchildren, and a brother.
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