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The Foundation

Safety Certification Begins

1927, first federal pilot's license.

The Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce began pilot certification with this license, issued on April 6, 1927. The recipient was the chief of the Branch, William P. MacCracken, Jr. Orville Wright, who was no longer an active flier, had declined the honor.) MacCracken's license was the first issued to a pilot by a civilian agency of the Federal government.

Some three months later, the Branch issued the first federal aircraft mechanic license.

Equally important for safety was the establishment of a system of certification for aircraft. On March 29, 1927, the Aeronautics Branch issued the first airworthiness type certificate to the Buhl Airster CA-3, a three-place open biplane. The Airster is shown below in a 1926 photograph. (National Archives photo)

1927 Buhl-Verbille Airster

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