By Bill May
Journal Record Staff Reporter
A one-of-a-kind building at Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
will increase Oklahoma City employment, improve services and, at
the same time, help fight the drug wars, the head of the Federal
Aviation Administration said Thursday.
In his first public speaking engagement since his appointment
was confirmed by the U.S. Senate earlier this month, David R.
Hinson, a Muskogee native, said the $10 million structure is
"destined to become one of America's most important tools in our
war against drug traffic in the United States."
"This new Registry Building will fulfill a number of
requirements that we in the FAA have undertaken to help law
enforcement agencies stop the flow of illegal drugs," he said
during the dedication ceremony attended by officials from city,
county, state and federal governments.
Federal aviation regulations require that records of all
certified pilots, aircraft mechanics and inspectors, along with
every civil airplane in the United States, be kept in Oklahoma
City. Along with this information, the agency is required to
maintain reports on difficulty with servicing an aircraft,
accident and incident reports, and records of enforcement
Now, because of newly developed technology dealing with data
storage and retrieval, this information will be available almost
instantaneously to law enforcement agencies throughout the United
States. Easier and faster access to these records will enable
police officers and drug investigators to know of pilots who have
been convicted of drug-related offenses and what aircraft have
been modified to extend their range or carry a hidden cargo.
Although the building's dedication was Thursday morning, many
of the offices already are occupied, and work is under way to
implement the new system, which should become operational in
early 1995, according to Earl Mahoney, manager of the automation
technology staff of the Aviation Systems Standards office of the
As the system is developed, employees will transfer airman
information contained on 12,000 rolls of microfilm and 30 million
images of aircraft documentation data from microfiche to
electronic tape storage. The system designed by his office will
then transfer that massive amount of material onto optical laser
discs for use when needed, Mahoney said.
"When this whole system is completed and online, it will
contain about 80,000 pages on each (optical laser disc), which
will give us storage for 110 million pages of documents in just
one `juke box' (information retrieval device used by optical
laser disc technology)," he said. …