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Significant Developments In The Regulation Of Air Travel

1157 words - 5 pages

In December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilber Wright were successfully in their attempt to fly a heavier that air contraption. This event was labeled in history as the “birth of aviation”. The flight occurred in a field which did not have a paved runway and only enough room to take off and land. Additionally, they had no lights or terminal. More importantly they had no regulatory governing body to oversee operations (Young & Wells, 2011). There are various events through history of Air Transportation which have led to the advent and development of the aviation oversight program in the United States. The two events that I felt had a major part are the Air Commerce Act of 1926 and the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.
With the increase in the movement of air mail in the 1920’s and the reliance of commercial companies on the air transportation system the government decided to transfer management of the industry to the commercial sector. The Kelly Act of 1925 put this into motion, transferring responsibility for the movement of mail to commercial contractors. This move, which made mail routes available to commercial companies, was the spark that led to the formation of an abundance of new transportation companies. The follow-on to this was the introduction of new aircraft designs to fit the requirements of moving the mail. The actions of the government lead to President Calvin Coolidge introducing the Air Commerce Act of 1926. This act was the first signs of an aviation oversight program. It gave regulatory oversight to the Department of Commerce. Initially, they focused their attention on the probably the item that required the most attention the many safety issues. It seemed to have a positive impact with a significant decrease in the airline fatality rates (Meyer & Strong, 1992). The act also had the responsibility of developing air traffic rules, designated air routes, developed navigations systems, and created a licensing program and rating system for commercial pilots (Huebert, 2010).
The next significant action towards and establishment of a regulatory body was the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. One of the key events that led to the creation of a regulatory body was the air tragedy over the Grand Canyon in 1956. On June 30, 1956, two of the largest commercial aircraft in service, a Trans World Airline, Lockheed Super Constellation and a United Airlines, Douglas DC-7 collided over the Grand Canyon killing all 128 people on board both of the aircrafts. This accident became known as the greatest air tragedy of its time in U.S. aviation (Around Arizona Index, 2005). The accident brought to light the fact that airline traffic had doubled since World War II and little had been done to prevent to risk of midair collisions (Federal Aviation Authority, 2010). This led to the birth of the Federal Aviation Agency.
On May 21, 1958, Democratic Senator Monroney, from Oklahoma tabled a bill to create and...

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