In case you’re unaware of what the Federal Aviation Administration’s role is within our government, here’s a bit of history directly from the FAA’s website:
The modern age of powered flight began in 1903, when Orville Wright made the first sustained, powered flight on December 17 in a plane he and his brother Wilbur built. This twelve-second flight led to the development of the first practical airplane in 1905, and launched worldwide efforts to build better flying machines. As a result, the early twentieth century witnessed myriad aviation developments as new planes and technologies entered service. During World War I, the airplane also proved its effectiveness as a military tool and, with the advent of early airmail service, showed great promise for commercial applications.
Despite limited post-World War I technical developments, early aviation remained a dangerous business. Flying conditions proved difficult since the only navigation devices available to most pilots were magnetic compasses. Pilots flew 200 to 500 feet above ground so they could navigate by roads and railways. Low visibility and night landings were made using bonfires on the field as lighting. Fatal accidents were routine.
The Air Mail Act of 1925 facilitated the creation of a profitable commercial airline industry, and airline companies such as Pan American Airways, Western Air Express, and Ford Air Transport Service began scheduled commercial passenger service. By the mid-1930s, the four major domestic airlines that dominated commercial travel for most of the twentieth century began operations: United, American, Eastern, and Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA).
As air travel increased, some airport operators, hoping to improve safety, began providing an early form of air traffic control (ATC) based on visual signals. Early controllers stood on the field and waved flags to communicate with pilots. Archie League, the system’s first flagmen, began work in the late 1920s at the airfield in St. Louis, Missouri.
Over the years the nature of flight and commercial airlines has evolved, as one would expect, the scope of the FAA’s work has evolved right along with it. Today they handle everything from having armed guards to (hopefully) prevent hijackings to monitoring levels of pollution given off by the jets which cross our country on a daily basis.
These are some of the FAA’s current roles:
- Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation
- Regulating air navigation facilities’ geometry and flight inspection standards
- Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology
- Issuing, suspending, or revoking pilot certificates
- Regulating civil aviation to promote safety, especially through local offices called Flight Standards District Offices
- 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
Seems rather a lot that the FAA is responsible for, yet we are expected to believe that the only area of the entire FAA budget they can pull money from for Congress’ Sequestration bullshit is from the aircraft controllers at airports. Because it’s easiest to inconvenience all of us who travel daily than consider alternatives. Especially if you are one who never has to deal with public transportation because everything is given to you.
From where I sit, the US government is no better than the Greek or Spanish governments, expecting people to swallow whatever they say…