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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

History and Legacy

Flight May Change But Our Mission Does Not

In 1903, the Wright Brothers ushered in the modern era of powered flight. From there, aviation began to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. Initially developments and technologies were centered on military aviation, but before long the potential of utilizing flight for commercial purposes became clear.

By 1934, aviation had grown enough to necessitate the newly formed Bureau of Air Commerce to establish the nation's first air traffic control centers. The focus then shifted to aviation safety with the creation of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, an air safety board dedicated to investigating and preventing accidents.

In response to an increasingly congested national airspace, the Federal Aviation Agency was created in 1958. While the Agency had a slightly different name, its core mission was no different than that of the modern FAA — to provide for the safe and efficient use of the national airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was introduced as part of a restructured Department of Transportation (DOT) in April 1967. From that point forward, as air traffic grew exponentially, so did the FAA. Advances in air traffic control automation, commercial space transportation, safety and inspection standards as well as organizational restricting have shaped the FAA into the far-reaching organization that it is today.

From the early days of commercial flight to the NextGen advances of today, the FAA has long been the chief force in ensuring that the skies stay safe and that the future of aviation continues to grow.

If you're interested in becoming a part of aviation history, work for the one organization that will use your diverse talents to make the future happen: the Federal Aviation Administration. Learn more about the different types of FAA occupations in the Career Fields section.

Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024