Happy Birthday FAA

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Substantive Breadth of Responsibility Exceptional

24/7/365 and 6 time zones

Drones, space and flying cars 

August 30,1958 was the date on which the Congress created the Federal Aviation Administration. It was the third iteration[1] in trying to define the authority needed for safe air transportation.

One of very few federal civil agencies which operates 24/7/365 in 7 time zones—through its Air Traffic Organization (which hires and trains all of the controllers as well as maintains all of the equipment). From a safety regulatory basis, the FAA has the enormous responsibilities

  • to regulate the design and manufacture of all types of aircraft (now including drones, flying cars and spacecraft),
  • to license the pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers who operate those aerial vehicles,
    • plus a sizeable cadre of instructors, examiners and inspectors for these skills
  • to authorize and inspect airfields,
  • to qualify and issue certificates for the maintenance of aircraft,
  • to regulate the launch, flight and recovery of spacecraft,
  • to research a wide-ranging number of subjects related to flight, including aeronautical medicine and the environment
  • to review and issue grants for airport developments
  • to maintain international relations with all of the governments who involved in aviation
  • to assure that the impacts of aviation are minimized
  • and a long list of other substantive powers.

A monumental FAA task is to keep the technology needed to maximize safety of the ATC system by research and installing state-of-the-art equipment.

In response to a number of challenges, the safety organization has initiated an innovative surveillance system which reduces risk with a limited staff.

The employees are highly dedicated career, with minor exceptions[2],employees.

The sixtieth birthday should recognize the women and men who have devoted their talents to this challenging and rewarding mission.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao presided over an event to celebrate the 60th milestone (her presentation ) and Acting Administrator Dan Elwell made remarks. They honored Alphonso Barr for 61 years of service at the FAA.

Who can predict what 2058 holds for this organization?

[1]  Air Commerce Act 1926. created an Aeronautic Branch within the United States Department of Commerce. The Civil Aeronautics Act 1938 created the Civil Aeronautics Authority, later authority.

[2] Among the FAA personnel are about 10 non-career employees. All are political appointments.


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1 Comment on "Happy Birthday FAA"

  1. A. “Pete” Palmerine | September 4, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Reply

    I was an air traffic controller in the US AirForce in 1958 due for discharge in early 1959. I was going to re-up, but my squadron commander advised me to get out. Because of the Grand Canyon accident in 1957,the newly formed FAA was going to do mass hirings. Got out in April 1959 and was hired by the FAA in August 1960. Retired from FAA in 1995 as a manager after 35 years of service. Also, worked under Joe DelBalso when he was Eastern director in the 1980’s.

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