HOME

TheInfoList




The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of
civil aviation Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military and non-state aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object (physics), object mot ...
in the country as well as over surrounding
international waters The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed region ...

international waters
. Its powers include
air traffic management 334x334px, Air Traffic Management Air traffic management (ATM) is an aviation term encompassing all systems that assist aircraft to depart from an aerodrome, transit airspace, and land at a destination aerodrome, including Air Traffic Control (ATC), ...
, certification of personnel and aircraft, setting standards for airports, and protection of U.S. assets during the launch or
re-entry (MER) aeroshell, artistic rendition Atmospheric entry is the movement of an object from outer space Outer space is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and between astronomical object, celestial bodies. Outer space is not completely empt ...
of commercial space vehicles. Powers over neighboring international waters were delegated to the FAA by authority of the
International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized and funding agency of the United Nations. It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of internationa ...
. Created in August 1958, the FAA replaced the former
Civil Aeronautics Administration
Civil Aeronautics Administration
(CAA) and later became an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation.


Major functions

The FAA's roles include: *Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation *Regulating air navigation facilities' geometric and
flight inspectionFlight inspection refers to the periodic evaluation of navigational aids used in aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object (physics), object motion (physics), moves t ...
standards *Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology *Issuing, suspending, or revoking pilot certificates *Regulating civil aviation to promote
transportation safety in the United States up Flowers, balloons, and notes left at the crash scene in the United States Transportation safety in the United States encompasses safety of transportation in the United States, including automobile crashes, airplane crashes, rail crashes, ...
, especially through local offices called
Flight Standards District OfficeA Flight Standards District Office, or FSDO for short (pronounced: fIz-dƏƱ), is a locally affiliated field office of the United States Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest modern transportati ...
s *Developing and operating a system of
air traffic control Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controller Air traffic control specialists, abbreviated ATCS, are personnel responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global ...

air traffic control
and navigation for both civil and military aircraft *Researching and developing the
National Airspace SystemThe National Airspace System (NAS) is the airspace, navigation facilities and airports of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United State ...
and civil aeronautics *Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation


Organizations

The FAA operates five "lines of business" (LOB). Their functions are: *
Air Traffic Organization The Air Traffic Organization (ATO) is America's air navigation service provider, as the operations arm of the Federal Aviation Administration. Its customers are commercial and private aviation and the military, and it employs more than 35,000 con ...
(ATO): provides air navigation service within the
National Airspace SystemThe National Airspace System (NAS) is the airspace, navigation facilities and airports of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United State ...
. In ATO, employees operate air traffic control facilities comprising Airport Traffic Control Towers (ATCT), Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities ( TRACONs), and Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC). *Aviation Safety (AVS): responsible for aeronautical certification of personnel and aircraft, including pilots, airlines, and mechanics. *Airports (ARP): plans and develops the national airport system; oversees standards for airport safety, inspection, design, construction, and operation. The office awards $3.5 billion annually in grants for airport planning and development. *
Office of Commercial Space Transportation The Office of Commercial Space Transportation (generally referred to as FAA/AST or simply AST) is the branch of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country ...
(AST): ensures protection of U.S. assets during the launch or reentry of commercial space vehicles. *Security and Hazardous Materials Safety (ASH): responsible for risk reduction of terrorism and other crimes and for investigations, materials safety, infrastructure protection, and personnel security.


Regions and Aeronautical Center Operations

The FAA is headquartered in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
and also operates the William J. Hughes Technical Center in
Atlantic City, New Jersey Atlantic City, often known by its initials A.C., is a coastal resort city A resort town, often called a resort city or resort destination, is an urban area where tourism at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tou ...
, for support and research, and the
Mike Monroney Aeronautical CenterMike Monroney Aeronautical Center is a regional office of the United States Federal Aviation Administration on the grounds of Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. With around 7,500 direct federal employees, the Aeronautical Center is one of the USDO ...
in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City (), officially the City of Oklahoma City, and often shortened to OKC, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...
, for training. The FAA has nine regional administrative offices: * Alaskan Region –
Anchorage, Alaska Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: ) is a unified municipal consolidated city-borough in the U.S. state of Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Y ...
* Northwest Mountain –
Seattle, Washington Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bo ...

Seattle, Washington
* Western Pacific –
Los Angeles, California Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles, California
* Southwest –
Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locate ...
* Central –
Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City (abbreviated KC or KCMO) is the largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Stat ...
* Great Lakes –
Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago, Illinois
* Southern –
Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta, Georgia
* Eastern –
New York, New York New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York, New York
* New England –
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts


History

The
Air Commerce ActThe Air Commerce Act of 1926The Air Commerce Act of 1926 created an Aeronautic Branch of the United States Department of Commerce. Its functions included testing and licensing of pilots, certification of aircraft and investigation of accidents. In 1 ...
of May 20, 1926, is the cornerstone of the federal government's regulation of civil aviation. This landmark legislation was passed at the urging of the aviation industry, whose leaders believed the airplane could not reach its full commercial potential without federal action to improve and maintain safety standards. The Act charged the
Secretary of Commerce The United States secretary of commerce (SecCom) is the head of the United States Department of Commerce. The secretary serves as the principal advisor to the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is t ...
with fostering air commerce, issuing and enforcing air traffic rules, licensing pilots, certifying aircraft, establishing airways, and operating and maintaining aids to air navigation. The newly created Aeronautics Branch, operating under the
Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an United States federal executive departments, executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks ...
assumed primary responsibility for aviation oversight. In fulfilling its civil aviation responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Commerce initially concentrated on such functions as safety regulations and the certification of pilots and aircraft. It took over the building and operation of the nation's system of lighted airways, a task initiated by the
Post Office Department The United States Post Office Department (USPOD; also known as the Post Office or U.S. Mail) was the predecessor of the United States Postal Service The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal S ...
. The Department of Commerce improved aeronautical radio communications—before the founding of the
Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdictions. I ...
in 1934, which handles most such matters today—and introduced radio beacons as an effective aid to air navigation. The Aeronautics Branch was renamed the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1934 to reflect its enhanced status within the Department. As commercial flying increased, the Bureau encouraged a group of airlines to establish the first three centers for providing
air traffic control Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controller Air traffic control specialists, abbreviated ATCS, are personnel responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global ...

air traffic control
(ATC) along the airways. In 1936, the Bureau itself took over the centers and began to expand the ATC system. The pioneer air traffic controllers used maps, blackboards, and mental calculations to ensure the safe separation of aircraft traveling along designated routes between cities. In 1938, the
Civil Aeronautics ActThe Air Commerce Act of 1926The Air Commerce Act of 1926 created an Aeronautic Branch of the United States Department of Commerce. Its functions included testing and licensing of pilots, certification of aircraft and investigation of accidents. In 1 ...
transferred the federal civil aviation responsibilities from the Commerce Department to a new independent agency, the
Civil Aeronautics Authority The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) was an agency of the federal government of the United States, formed in 1938 and abolished in 1985, that regulated aviation services including scheduled passenger airline serviceStringer, David H."Non-Skeds: The St ...

Civil Aeronautics Authority
. The legislation also expanded the government's role by giving the CAA the authority and the power to regulate airline fares and to determine the routes that air carriers would serve. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
split the authority into two agencies in 1940: the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the
Civil Aeronautics Board The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) was an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to me ...

Civil Aeronautics Board
(CAB). CAA was responsible for ATC, airman and aircraft certification, safety enforcement, and airway development. CAB was entrusted with safety regulation, accident investigation, and economic regulation of the airlines. The CAA was part of the Department of Commerce. The CAB was an independent federal agency. On the eve of America's entry into
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, CAA began to extend its ATC responsibilities to takeoff and landing operations at airports. This expanded role eventually became permanent after the war. The application of
radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, Marine radar, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor ...

radar
to ATC helped controllers in their drive to keep abreast of the postwar boom in commercial air transportation. In 1946, meanwhile, Congress gave CAA the added task of administering the federal-aid airport program, the first peacetime program of financial assistance aimed exclusively at development of the nation's civil airports. The approaching era of jet travel, and a series of midair collisions (most notable was the
1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision The Grand Canyon mid-air collision occurred in the Western United States, western United States on Saturday, June 30, 1956, when a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 struck a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over Grand Canyon Na ...

1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision
) prompted passage of the
Federal Aviation Act of 1958 The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 was an act of the , signed by President , that created the Federal Aviation Agency (later the or the FAA) and abolished its predecessor, the (CAA). The act empowered the FAA to oversee and regulate in the and ...
. This legislation gave the CAA's functions to a new independent body, the Federal Aviation Agency. The act transferred air safety regulation from the CAB to the new FAA, and also gave the FAA sole responsibility for a common civil-military system of air navigation and air traffic control. The FAA's first administrator, Elwood R. Quesada, was a former
Air Force
Air Force
general and adviser to
President Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term " ...
. The same year witnessed the birth of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), created in the wake of the Soviets launching the first artificial satellite and assuming NACA's role of aeronautical research. In 1967, a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) combined major federal responsibilities for air and surface transport. The Federal Aviation Agency's name changed to the Federal Aviation Administration as it became one of several agencies (e.g., Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, the Coast Guard, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Commission) within DOT (albeit the largest). The FAA administrator would no longer report directly to the president but would instead report to the Secretary of Transportation. New programs and budget requests would have to be approved by DOT, which would then include these requests in the overall budget and submit it to the president. At the same time, a new
National Transportation Safety Board The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB inv ...
took over the Civil Aeronautics Board's (CAB) role of investigating and determining the causes of transportation accidents and making recommendations to the secretary of transportation. CAB was merged into DOT with its responsibilities limited to the regulation of commercial airline routes and fares. The FAA gradually assumed additional functions. The hijacking epidemic of the 1960s had already brought the agency into the field of civil aviation security. In response to the hijackings on September 11, 2001, this responsibility is now primarily taken by the
Department of Homeland Security The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North Amer ...
. The FAA became more involved with the environmental aspects of aviation in 1968 when it received the power to set aircraft noise standards. Legislation in 1970 gave the agency management of a new airport aid program and certain added responsibilities for airport safety. During the 1960s and 1970s, the FAA also started to regulate high altitude (over 500 feet) kite and balloon flying. By the mid-1970s, the agency had achieved a semi-automated air traffic control system using both
radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, Marine radar, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor ...

radar
and computer technology. This system required enhancement to keep pace with air traffic growth, however, especially after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 phased out the CAB's economic regulation of the airlines. A nationwide strike by the air traffic controllers union in 1981 forced temporary flight restrictions but failed to shut down the airspace system. During the following year, the agency unveiled a new plan for further automating its air traffic control facilities, but progress proved disappointing. In 1994, the FAA shifted to a more step-by-step approach that has provided controllers with advanced equipment. In 1979, Congress authorized the FAA to work with major commercial airports to define
noise pollution Noise pollution, also known as or sound , is the propagation of noise with ranging impacts on the activity of human or animal life, most of them harmful to a degree. The source of outdoor noise worldwide is mainly caused by machines, transport, ...
contours and investigate the feasibility of
noise mitigation Noise control or noise mitigation is a set of strategies to reduce noise pollution Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise Environmental noise is an accumulation of noise pollution that occurs outside. This noise can be caused b ...
by residential retrofit programs. Throughout the 1980s, these charters were implemented. In the 1990s, satellite technology received increased emphasis in the FAA's development programs as a means to improvements in communications, navigation, and airspace management. In 1995, the agency assumed responsibility for safety oversight of commercial space transportation, a function begun eleven years before by an office within DOT headquarters. The agency was responsible for the decision to ground flights after the
September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks, also commonly referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated by the militant terrorist group against the on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that morning, four commercial s traveling fro ...
.


21st century

In December 2000, an organization within the FAA called the
Air Traffic Organization The Air Traffic Organization (ATO) is America's air navigation service provider, as the operations arm of the Federal Aviation Administration. Its customers are commercial and private aviation and the military, and it employs more than 35,000 con ...
, (ATO) was set up by presidential executive order. This became the air navigation service provider for the airspace of the United States and for the New York (Atlantic) and Oakland (Pacific) oceanic areas. It is a full member of the
Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) is a representative body of companies that provide air traffic control Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controllers who direct aircraft on the gr ...
. The FAA issues a number of awards to holders of its certificates. Among these are demonstrated proficiencies as an aviation mechanic (the AMT Awards), a flight instructor (Gold Seal certification), a 50-year aviator (Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award), a 50-year mechanic (Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award) or as a proficient pilot. The latter, the FAA " WINGS Program", provides a lifetime series of grouped proficiency activities at three levels (Basic, Advanced, and Master) for pilots who have undergone several hours of ground and flight training since their last WINGS award, or "Phase". For more information on all these programs, visit www.faasafety.gov or inquire at an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). For more information on the WINGS program, please see FAA Advisory Circular AC 61-91J. The FAA encourages volunteerism in the promotion of aviation safety. The FAA Safety Team, or FAASTeam, works with Volunteers at several levels and promotes safety education and outreach nationwide. For more information, inquire at an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). On March 18, 2008, the FAA ordered its inspectors to reconfirm that airlines are complying with federal rules after revelations that
Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines Co., typically referred to as Southwest, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, als ...
flew dozens of aircraft without certain mandatory inspections. The FAA exercises surprise
Red Team A red team is a group that plays the role of an enemy or competitor, and provides security feedback from that perspective. Red teams are used in many fields, especially in cybersecurity, airport security, the military A military, also k ...
drills on national airports annually. On October 31, 2013, after outcry from media outlets, including heavy criticism from
Nick Bilton Nick Bilton is a British-American journalist, author, and film producer. He is currently a special correspondent at Vanity Fair (magazine), ''Vanity Fair''. Life and career Bilton was born in Darlington, UK, and grew up in Leeds. He attended M ...
of ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', the FAA announced it will allow airlines to expand the passengers use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight, but
mobile phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the tra ...

mobile phone
calls would still be prohibited (and use of cellular networks during any point when aircraft doors are closed remains prohibited to-date). Implementation initially varied among airlines. The FAA expected many carriers to show that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of 2013. Devices must be held or put in the seat-back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing. Mobile phones must be in airplane mode or with mobile service disabled, with no signal bars displayed, and cannot be used for voice communications due to
Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdictions. I ...
regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using mobile phones. From a technological standpoint, cellular service would not work in-flight because of the rapid speed of the airborne aircraft: mobile phones cannot switch fast enough between cellular towers at an aircraft's high speed. However, the ban is due to potential radio interference with aircraft avionics. If an air carrier provides
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi () is a family of wireless network A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installa ...

Wi-Fi
service during flight, passengers may use it. Short-range
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
accessories, like wireless keyboards, can also be used. In July 2014, in the wake of the downing of
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on 17 July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine. All 283 ...
, the FAA suspended flights by U.S. airlines to
Ben Gurion Airport Ben Gurion Airport ( he, נמל התעופה בן-גוריון; ar, مطار بن غوريون الدولي) , commonly known by its Hebrew acronym as ''Natbag'' (), is the main international airport of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְ ...
during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict for 24 hours. The ban was extended for a further 24 hours but was lifted about six hours later. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 gives the FAA one year to establish minimum pitch, width and length for airplane seats, to ensure they are safe for passengers. The first FAA licensed orbital human space flight took place on November 15, 2020, carried out by
SpaceX Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space trans ...
on behalf of NASA.


History of FAA Administrators

The administrator is appointed for a five-year term. On March 19, 2019, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Stephen Dickson, a former executive and pilot at
Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines, Inc., typically referred to as Delta, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sa ...
, to be the next FAA Administrator. On July 24, 2019, the Senate confirmed Dickson by a vote of 52–40. He was sworn in as Administrator by
Transportation Secretary The United States secretary of transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation. The secretary serves as the principal advisor to the president of the United States on all matters relating to transportation. The secret ...
Elaine Chao Elaine Lan Chao (born March 26, 1953) is an American businesswoman and politician. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Chao served as United States Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Transportation in the Pre ...

Elaine Chao
on August 12, 2019.


Criticism


Conflicting roles

The FAA has been cited as an example of
regulatory captureIn politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social scien ...
, "in which the airline industry openly dictates to its regulators its governing rules, arranging for not only beneficial regulation, but placing key people to head these regulators." Retired NASA Office of Inspector General Senior Special Agent Joseph Gutheinz, who used to be a Special Agent with the
Office of Inspector General for the Department of Transportation The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG) is one of the Inspector General offices created by the Inspector General Act of 1978 The Inspector General Act of 1978 is a United States federal law () defining a stan ...
and with FAA Security, is one of the most outspoken critics of FAA. Rather than commend the agency for proposing a $10.2 million fine against Southwest Airlines for its failure to conduct mandatory inspections in 2008, he was quoted as saying the following in an
Associated Press The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...

Associated Press
story: "Penalties against airlines that violate FAA directives should be stiffer. At $25,000 per violation, Gutheinz said, airlines can justify rolling the dice and taking the chance on getting caught. He also said the FAA is often too quick to bend to pressure from airlines and pilots." Other experts have been critical of the constraints and expectations under which the FAA is expected to operate. The dual role of encouraging aerospace travel and regulating aerospace travel are contradictory. For example, to levy a heavy penalty upon an airline for violating an FAA regulation which would impact their ability to continue operating would not be considered encouraging aerospace travel. On July 22, 2008, in the aftermath of the Southwest Airlines inspection scandal, a bill was unanimously approved in the
House A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range ...
to tighten regulations concerning airplane maintenance procedures, including the establishment of a whistleblower office and a two-year "cooling off" period that FAA inspectors or supervisors of inspectors must wait before they can work for those they regulated. The bill also required rotation of principal maintenance inspectors and stipulated that the word "customer" properly applies to the flying public, not those entities regulated by the FAA. The bill died in a Senate committee that year. In September 2009, the FAA administrator issued a directive mandating that the agency use the term "customers" to refer to only the flying public.


Lax regulatory oversight

In 2007, two FAA
whistleblower A whistleblower (also written as whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person, usually an employee, who exposes information or activity within a private, public, or government organization that is deemed illegal, illicit, unsafe, fraud, or abus ...

whistleblower
s, inspectors Charalambe "Bobby" Boutris and Douglas E. Peters, alleged that Boutris said he attempted to ground Southwest after finding cracks in the
fuselage In aeronautics Aeronautics is the science or art involved with the study, design process, design, and manufacturing of air flight–capable machines, and the techniques of operating aircraft and rockets within the atmosphere. The British Ro ...

fuselage
of an
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (force), dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in ...

aircraft
, but was prevented by supervisors he said were friendly with the airline.Johanna Neuman
"FAA's 'culture of coziness' targeted in airline safety hearing"
''
Los Angeles Times The ''Los Angeles Times'' (abbreviated as ''LA Times'') is a daily newspaper A newspaper is a containing written and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as , ...

Los Angeles Times
'' (April 3, 2008). Retrieved April 11, 2011
This was validated by a report by the
Department of Transportation ''Department of transportation'' (DOT) is the most common name for a government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsi ...
which found FAA managers had allowed
Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines Co., typically referred to as Southwest, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, als ...
to fly 46 airplanes in 2006 and 2007 that were overdue for safety inspections, ignoring concerns raised by inspectors. Audits of other airlines resulted in two airlines grounding hundreds of planes, causing thousands of flight cancellations.Paul Lowe
"Bill proposes distance between airlines and FAA regulators"
AINonline.com (September 1, 2008). Retrieved April 11, 2011
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held hearings in April 2008.
Jim Oberstar James Louis Oberstar (September 10, 1934 – May 3, 2014) was an United States, American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 2011. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, he rep ...
, former chairman of the committee, said its investigation uncovered a pattern of regulatory abuse and widespread regulatory lapses, allowing 117 aircraft to be operated commercially although not in compliance wit
FAA safety rules
Oberstar said there was a "culture of coziness" between senior FAA officials and the airlines and "a systematic breakdown" in the FAA's culture that resulted in "malfeasance, bordering on corruption". In 2008 the FAA proposed to fine Southwest $10.2 million for failing to inspect older planes for cracks,David Koenig
"Southwest Airlines faces $10.2 million fine"
''
Mail Tribune The ''Mail Tribune'' is a seven-day daily newspaper based in Medford, Oregon, United States that serves Jackson County, Oregon, and adjacent areas of Josephine County, Oregon and northern California. Its coverage area centers on Medford and Ashl ...
'',
Associated Press The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...

Associated Press
(March 6, 2008). Retrieved April 11, 2011
and in 2009
Southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
and the FAA agreed that
Southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
would pay a $7.5 million penalty and would adopt new safety procedures, with the fine doubling if Southwest failed to follow through.


Changes to air traffic controller application process

In 2014, the FAA modified its approach to air traffic control hiring. It launched more "off the street bids", allowing anyone with either a four-year degree or five years of full-time work experience to apply, rather than the closed college program or VRA bids, something that had last been done in 2008. Thousands have been picked up, including veterans, CTI grads, and people who are true "off the street" hires. The move was made to open the job up to more people who might make good controllers but did not go to a college that offered a CTI program. Before the change, candidates who had completed coursework at participating colleges and universities could be "fast-tracked" for consideration. However, the CTI program had no guarantee of a job offer, nor was the goal of the program to teach people to work actual traffic. The goal of the program was to prepare people for the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK. Having a CTI certificate allowed a prospective controller to skip the Air Traffic Basics part of the academy, about a 30- to 45-day course, and go right into Initial Qualification Training (IQT). All prospective controllers, CTI or not, have had to pass the FAA Academy in order to be hired as a controller. Failure at the academy means FAA employment is terminated. In January 2015 they launched another pipeline, a "prior experience" bid, where anyone with an FAA Control Tower Operator certificate (CTO) and 52 weeks of experience could apply. This was a revolving bid, every month the applicants on this bid were sorted out, and eligible applicants were hired and sent directly to facilities, bypassing the FAA academy entirely. In the process of promoting diversity, the FAA revised its hiring process. The FAA later issued a report that the "bio-data" was not a reliable test for future performance. However, the "Bio-Q" was not the determinating factor for hiring, it was merely a screening tool to determine who would take a revised Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test (ATSAT). Due to cost and time, it was not practical to give all 30,000 some applicants the revised ATSAT, which has since been validated. In 2015 Fox News levied unsubstantiated criticism that the FAA discriminated against qualified candidates. In December 2015, a reverse discrimination lawsuit was filed against the FAA seeking class-action status for the thousands of men and women who spent up to $40,000 getting trained under FAA rules before they were abruptly changed. The prospects of the lawsuit are unknown, as the FAA is a self-governing entity and therefore can alter and experiment with its hiring practices, and there was never any guarantee of a job in the CTI program.


Next Generation Air Transportation System

A May 2017 letter from staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to members of the same committee sent before a meeting to discuss air traffic control privatization noted a 35-year legacy of failed air traffic control modernization management, including NextGen. The letter said the FAA initially described NextGen as fundamentally transforming how air traffic would be managed. In 2015, however, the
National Research CouncilNational Research Council may refer to: * National Research Council (Canada), sponsoring research and development * National Research Council (Italy), scientific and technological research, Rome * National Research Council (United States), part of t ...
noted that NextGen, as currently executed, was not broadly transformational and that it is a set of programs to implement a suite of incremental changes to the National Airspace System (NAS). More precise PBN can reduce fuel burn, emissions, and noise exposure for a majority of communities, but the concentration of flight tracks also can increase noise exposure for people who live directly under those flight paths. A feature of the NextGen program is GPS-based waypoints, which result in consolidated flight paths for planes. The result of this change is that many localities experience huge increases in air traffic over previously quiet areas. Complaints have risen with the added traffic and multiple municipalities have filed suit.


Boeing 737 MAX controversy

As a result of the March 10, 2019
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is an international airport An international airport is an airport ...
crash and the
Lion Air Flight 610 Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610/LNI610) was a scheduled domestic flight operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang. On 29 October 2018, the Boeing 737 ...

Lion Air Flight 610
crash five months earlier, most airlines and countries began grounding the
Boeing 737 MAX 8 The Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth generation of Boeing 737 The Boeing 737 is a narrow-body aircraft A narrow-body aircraft or single-aisle aircraft is an airliner arranged along a single aisle, permitting up to 6-abreast airline seat, sea ...
(and in many cases all MAX variants) due to safety concerns, but the FAA declined to temporarily ground Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in the U.S. On March 12, the FAA said that its ongoing review showed "no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft." Some U.S. Senators called for the FAA to ground the aircraft until an investigation into the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash was complete. U.S. Transportation Secretary
Elaine Chao Elaine Lan Chao (born March 26, 1953) is an American businesswoman and politician. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Chao served as United States Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Transportation in the Pre ...

Elaine Chao
said that "If the FAA identifies an issue that affects safety, the department will take immediate and appropriate action." On March 13,
President Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American media personality Celebrity is a condition of fame and broad public recognition of an individual or group, or occasionally a character or animal, as a result of the attention give ...

President Donald Trump
announced that all
Boeing 737 MAX The Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth generation of Boeing 737 The Boeing 737 is a produced by at its in . Developed to supplement the on short and thin routes, the retains the fuselage cross-section and nose with two underwing s. Env ...
airplanes within U.S. territory would be grounded, and the FAA issued the official order, citing new evidence of similarity between the two accidents. Three major U.S. airlines--
Southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
, , and
American Airlines American Airlines, Inc. (AA or AAL) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly kn ...

American Airlines
—were affected by this decision.


Regulatory process


Designated Engineering Representative

A Designated Engineering Representative (DER) is an engineer who is appointed under 14 CFR section 183.29 to act on behalf of a company or as an independent consultant (IC). The DER system enables the FAA to delegate certain involvement in
airworthiness Airworthiness is the measure of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lif ...
exams, tests, and inspections to qualified technical people outside of the FAA. Qualifications and policies for appointment of Designated Airworthiness Representatives are established in FAA Order 8100.8, ''Designee Management Handbook''. Working procedures for DERs are prescribed in FAA Order 8110.37, ''Designated Engineering Representative (DER) Handbook''. * Company DERs act on behalf of their employer and may only approve, or recommend that the FAA approves, technical data produced by their employer. * Consultant DERs are appointed to act as independent DERs and may approve, or recommend that the FAA approves, technical data produced by any person or organization. Neither type of DER is an employee of either the FAA or the United States government. While a DER represents the FAA when acting under the authority of a DER appointment; a DER has no federal protection for work done or the decisions made as a DER. Neither does the FAA provide any indemnification for a DER from general
tort law A tort, in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law ...

tort law
. "The FAA cannot shelter or protect DERs from the consequences of their findings."


Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR)

A DAR is an individual appointed in accordance with 14 CFR 183.33 who may perform examination, inspection, and testing services necessary to the issuance of certificates. There are two types of DARs: manufacturing, and maintenance. * Manufacturing DARs must possess aeronautical knowledge, experience, and meet the qualification requirements of FAA Order 8100.8. * Maintenance DARs must hold: *# a mechanic's certificate with an airframe and powerplant rating, under 14 CFR part 65 ''Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers'', or *# a repairman certificate and be employed at a repair station certificated under 14 CFR part 145, or an air carrier operating certificate holder with an FAA-approved continuous airworthiness program, and must meet the qualification requirements of Order 8100.8, Chapter 14. Specialized Experience – Amateur-Built and Light-Sport Aircraft DARs Both Manufacturing DARs and Maintenance DARs may be authorized to perform airworthiness certification of light-sport aircraft. DAR qualification criteria and selection procedures for amateur-built and light-sport aircraft airworthiness functions are provided in Order 8100.8.


Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC)

A Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (commonly abbreviated as CANIC) is a notification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to civil airworthiness authorities of foreign countries of pending significant safety actions. The FAA Airworthiness Directives Manual, states the following:
8. Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC). :a. A CANIC is used to notify civil airworthiness authorities of other countries of pending significant safety actions. A significant safety action can be defined as, but not limited to, the following: ::(1) Urgent safety situations; ::(2) The pending issuance of an Emergency AD; ::(3) A safety action that affects many people, operators; ::(4) A Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR); ::(5) Other high interest event (e.g., a special certification review).


Notable CANICs

The FAA issued a CANIC to state the continued airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX, following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Another CANIC notified the ungrounding of the MAX, ending a 20-month grounding.


Proposed regulatory reforms


FAA reauthorization and air traffic control reform

U.S. law requires that the FAA's budget and mandate be reauthorized on a regular basis. On July 18, 2016, President Obama signed a second short-term extension of the FAA authorization, replacing a previous extension that was due to expire that day. The 2016 extension (set to expire itself in September 2017) left out a provision pushed by Republican House leadership, including House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman
Bill Shuster William Franklin Shuster (born January 10, 1961) is an American politician and lobbyist who served as the U.S. Representative for from 2001 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political par ...
(R-PA). The provision would have moved authority over
air traffic control Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controller Air traffic control specialists, abbreviated ATCS, are personnel responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global ...

air traffic control
from the FAA to a non-profit corporation, as many other nations, such as Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, have done. Shuster's bill, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, expired in the House at the end of the 114th Congress. The House T&I Committee began the new reauthorization process for the FAA in February 2017. It is expected that the committee will again urge Congress to consider and adopt air traffic control reform as part of the reauthorization package. Shuster has additional support from President Trump, who, in a meeting with aviation industry executives in early 2017 said the U.S. air control system is "....totally out of whack."


See also

* Acquisition Management System *
Airport Improvement ProgramThe Airport Improvement Program is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 ...
*
Federal Aviation Regulations The Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governing all aviation activities in the United States. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). A wide variet ...
*
National aviation authority A national aviation authority (NAA) or civil aviation authority (CAA) is a government statutory authority in each country that maintains an aircraft register and oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Role Due to the inherent da ...
(generic term) * Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition * SAFO, Safety Alert for Operators * United States government role in civil aviation * Weather Information Exchange Model


References


External links

*
Records of the Federal Aviation Administration in the National Archives (Record Group 237)

Federal Aviation Administration
in the Federal Register * * {{Authority control Federal Aviation Administration, 1958 establishments in the United States Air navigation service providers Aviation safety Civil aviation authorities in North America, United States Government agencies established in 1958 Regulatory authorities of the United States, Aviation