At FAA, what drives us — through everything we do — is our mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. We continually strive to improve the safety and efficiency of flight in this country.

FAA's major roles and responsibilities

Under the broad umbrella of safety and efficiency, we have several major roles:

  • Regulating civil aviation to promote safety
  • Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology
  • Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft
  • Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics
  • Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation
  • Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation

What We Do

Our 44,000 employees throughout the United States
participate in a wide variety of activities

Safety Regulation

We issue and enforce regulations and minimum standards covering manufacturing, operating, and maintaining aircraft. We certify airmen and airports that serve air carriers.

Airspace and Air Traffic Management

We operate a network of airport towers, air route traffic control centers, and flight service stations. We develop air traffic rules, assign the use of airspace, and control air traffic. For more information, see Air Traffic Organization Safety.

Air Navigation Facilities

We build and install visual and electronic aids to air navigation. We maintain, operate, and assure the quality of these facilities. We also sustain other systems to support air navigation and air traffic control, including voice and data communications equipment, radar facilities, computer systems, and visual display equipment at flight service stations.

Civil Aviation Abroad

We promote aviation safety and encourage civil aviation abroad. We exchange aeronautical information with foreign authorities; certify foreign repair shops, airmen, and mechanics; provide technical aid and training; negotiate bilateral airworthiness agreements with other countries; and take part in international conferences.

Commercial Space Transportation

We regulate and encourage the U.S. commercial space transportation industry. We license commercial space launch facilities and private launches of space payloads on expendable launch vehicles.

Research, Engineering, and Development

We do research on and develop the systems and procedures we need for a safe and efficient system of air navigation and air traffic control. We help develop better aircraft, engines, and equipment and test or evaluate aviation systems, devices, materials, and procedures. We also do aeromedical research.

Other Programs

We register aircraft and record documents reflecting title or interest in aircraft and their parts. We administer an aviation insurance program, develop specifications for aeronautical charts, and publish information on airways, airport services, and other technical subjects in aeronautics.