What does the FAA do and when was it started?
Don’t you love to learn new things? I know I do. Did you know that the modern age of powered flight
began in 1903 when Orville and Wilber Wright made the first sustained, powered flight on December 17
in a plane they built? Do you know how long that flight lasted? 12 seconds. Did you know that early
aviation was a dangerous business?! Flying conditions were difficult because the only navigation devices
available to most pilots were magnetic compasses. Pilots flew 200 to 500 feet above ground so they
could navigate by roads and railways. Low visibility and night landings were made using bonfires on the
field for lighting!! Fatal accidents were routine.
The Air Mail Act of 1925 facilitated the creation of a
profitable commercial airline industry, and the Air Commerce Act of May 1926, is the cornerstone of the
federal government’s regulation of civil aviation. What’s interesting is that if you google “When did the
FAA start?” it says, “August 23, 1958.” On August 23, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the
Federal Aviation Act, which transferred the Civil Aeronautics Authority’s functions to a new independent
Federal Aviation Agency responsible for civil aviation safety.
Therefore, from 1903 to 1958, US government regulations were not well established for aviation. Can
you imagine being a pilot in, say, 1937? I would be scared to fly! Here is a video of Amelia’s Earhart’s last flight.
Now that we know when the FAA started, let’s talk about what the FAA does. The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) is a United States national authority regulating civil aviation. The FAA roles include
1. Regulating civil aviation to promote transportation safety in the United States, especially
through local offices called Flight Standards District Offices
2. Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military
3. Regulating air navigation facilities; geometric and flight inspection standards
4. Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation
5. Issuing, suspending, or revoking pilot certificates
6. Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects
of civil aviation
7. Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology
8. Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics
Now that you know what the FAA is, and when it began, you might be asking, “What does that have to
do with InterConnect Wiring?” Well, InterConnect prides itself on educating its customers on all aspects
of aircraft wiring. Over the past several years our focus was on aircraft wiring for defense. We are now expanding our focus on aircraft wiring in the civil arena. What better way to start than to talk about the
entity that regulates and helps keep civil aviation safe, the FAA!!
I hope you enjoyed the lesson for the week. Next week we will answer the question, “What is aircraft
registration?” If you have any questions about commercial aircraft wiring, please go to