Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind
The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States
to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.
As the UN and world nations have now adopted Agenda 2030, and embarked on a new era in global sustainable development, the importance of aviation as an engine of global connectivity has never been more relevant to the Chicago Convention's objectives to look to international flight as a fundamental enabler of global peace and prosperity.
Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries (2014/2019/2024/2029/etc.), the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period.
For 2015-2018 inclusive the Council has selected the following theme: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind.
The campaign highlights ICAO’s efforts to assist States in implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). The main goal of this work is to help ensure that SARP implementation is better harmonized globally so that all
States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport and can address safety, security and emissions-related issues.
Governments have played an important part in shaping air transportation. This role began as early as 1783, when the king of France summoned the Montgolfier brothers to demonstrate their balloon. In 1892, the French War Ministry backed an attempt to build a heavier-than-air flying machine. Six years later, a military board in the United States approved a grant to assist similar efforts by Samuel P. Langley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. These early military grants gave a hint of how important airplanes would become in warfare, but they properly belong to the history of air power. This essay deals with the official influence on civilian flying, and it focuses on the U.S. experience.
Langley's Smithsonian was a significant source of information for those interested in the possibility of heavier-than-air flight. The Institution distributed literature about aeronautical principals as part of its scientific mission, which was partly supported by federal taxes. Among those who studied this material were Wilbur and Orville Wright, whose own experiments led them to achieve controlled, powered flight in 1903.
Despite its early start, the United States soon lost aeronautical leadership. European enthusiasm for air power was sparked by an arms race and then by the outbreak of war in 1914. During the following year, Congress took a step toward revitalizing American aviation by establishing the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), an organization dedicated to the science of flight.
Upon entering World War I in 1917, the U.S. government mobilized the nation's economy, with results that included an expansion of the small aviation manufacturing industry. Before the end of the conflict, Congress voted funds for an innovative postal program that would serve as a model for commercial air operations.
With initial help from the Army, the Post Office in 1918 initiated an intercity airmail route. The subsequent achievements of the Air Mail Service included the establishment of a transcontinental route and the development of airway lighting.
In 1925, new postal legislation authorized the Post Office to contract with private airlines to transport mail. This prospect offered the hope of steady income to America's struggling air carriers.
Many aviation leaders in the 1920s believed that federal regulation was necessary to give the public confidence in the safety of air transportation. Opponents of this view included those who distrusted government interference or wished to leave any such regulation to state authorities. To investigate the issue, President Calvin Coolidge appointed a board whose report favored federal safety regulation. Congress passed the Air Commerce Act of 1926, which assigned to the U.S. Department of Commerce the fundamental tasks needed for civil air safety. Among these functions were: testing and licensing pilots, issuing certificates to guarantee the airworthiness of aircraft, making and enforcing safety rules, and investigating air accidents. The Act also directed the department to take certain actions to assist the progress of aviation.
To fulfill its new aviation responsibilities, the Department of Commerce created an Aeronautics Branch. The first head of this organization was William P. MacCracken, Jr., whose approach to regulation included consultation and cooperation with industry. A major challenge facing MacCracken was to enlarge and improve the nation's air navigation system. The Aeronautics Branch took over the Post Office's task of building airway light beacons, and in 1928 introduced a new navigation aid known as the low frequency radio range. The branch also built additional airway communications stations as part of its effort to encourage broader use of aeronautical radio and to combat problems of adverse weather.
While the Aeronautics Branch was making these advances, NACA was producing benefits through a program of laboratory research begun in 1920. In 1928, for example, the organization's pioneering work with wind tunnels produced a new type of engine cowling that made aircraft more aerodynamic.
Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Aeronautics Branch cooperated with public works agencies on projects that represented an early form of federal aid to airports. Budget cuts and distracting quarrels hampered the branch during this period. It achieved a more unified organizational structure, however, and in 1934 received a new name, the Bureau of Air Commerce.
The year 1934 also saw a crisis over airmail contracts that former Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown had used to strengthen the airline route structure. Investigators now charged that Brown's methods had been illegal, and President Roosevelt canceled the contracts. Army fliers experienced many accidents carrying the mail before a modified contract system was restored.
Increased commercial flying heightened the danger of midair collisions. In 1935, therefore, the Bureau of Air Commerce encouraged a group of airlines to establish the first three centers for providing air traffic control along the airways. In the following year, the Bureau itself took over the centers and began to expand the control system.
In 1938, the Civil Aeronautics Act transferred federal responsibilities for non-military aviation from the Bureau of Air Commerce to a new, independent agency, the Civil Aeronautics Authority. The legislation also gave the authority the power to regulate airline fares and to determine the routes that air carriers would serve.
In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt split the authority into two agencies, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). The CAA was responsible for air traffic control, safety programs, and airway development. The CAB was entrusted with safety rulemaking, accident investigation, and economic regulation of the airlines. Although both organizations were part of the Department of Commerce, the CAB functioned independently.
After World War II began in Europe, the CAA launched a Civilian Pilot Training Program to provide the nation with more aviators. On the eve of America's entry into the conflict, the agency began to take over operation of airport control towers, a role that eventually became permanent. During the war, the CAA also greatly enlarged its en route air traffic control system. In 1944, the United States hosted a conference in Chicago that led to the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization and set the framework for future aviation diplomacy.
In the post-war era, the application of radar to air traffic control helped controllers to keep abreast of the postwar boom in air transportation. In 1946, Congress gave the CAA the task of administering a federal-aid airport program aimed exclusively at promoting development of the nation's civil airports.
The approaching era of jet travel, and a series of midair collisions, prompted passage of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. This legislation gave the CAA's functions to a new independent body, the Federal Aviation Agency. The act transferred safety rulemaking from CAB to the new FAA, and also gave the FAA sole responsibility for a common civil-military system of air navigation and air traffic control. The FAA's first administrator, Elwood R. Quesada, was a former Air Force general and advisor to President Eisenhower.
The same year witnessed the birth of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), created in the wake of the Soviet launching of the first artificial satellite. NASA assumed NACA's role of aeronautical research while achieving world leadership in space technology and exploration.
In 1967, a new Department of Transportation (DOT) combined major federal responsibilities for air and surface transport. FAA's name changed to the Federal Aviation Administration as it became one of several agencies within DOT. At the same time, a new National Transportation Safety Board took over the CAB's role of investigating aviation accidents.
The FAA gradually assumed additional functions. The hijacking epidemic of the 1960s had already brought the agency into the field of civil aviation security. The FAA became more involved with the environmental aspects of aviation in 1968 when it received the power to set aircraft noise standards. Legislation in 1970 gave the agency management of a new airport aid program and certain added responsibilities for airport safety.
By the mid-1970s, the FAA had achieved a semi-automated air traffic control system using both radar and computer technology. This system required enhancement to keep pace with air traffic growth, however, especially after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 phased out the CAB's economic regulation of the airlines. A nationwide strike by the air traffic controllers union in 1981 forced temporarily flight restrictions but failed to shut down the airspace system. During the following year, the agency unveiled a new plan for further automating its air traffic control facilities, but progress proved� disappointing. In 1994, the FAA shifted to a more step-by-step approach that has provided controllers with advanced equipment.
In the 1990s, satellite technology received increased emphasis in the FAA's development programs as a means to improvements in communications, navigation, and airspace management. In 1995, the agency assumed responsibility for safety oversight of commercial space transportation, a function begun eleven years before by an office within DOT headquarters.
As the new century began, issues facing the FAA included the progress of reforms aimed at giving the agency greater flexibility. Airline accidents, although rare in statistical terms, showed the need for further safety advances. The huge volume of flights challenged the capacity of the airport system, yet demonstrated the popularity of air travel.� In September 2001, however, the air transportation system was challenged by terrorist attacks in which hijacked airliners were used as missiles that killed thousands of U.S. citizens as well as many others from around the world. The government's response included legislation, enacted in November, that established a new DOT organization. This new Transportation Security Administration received broad powers to protect air travel and other transportation modes against criminal activity.� Its creation was the latest step in the evolution of U.S. government's civil aviation role to meet changing needs and priorities.
--Edmund Preston, Agency Historian
Federal Aviation Administration
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Churchill, R.R. and Lowe, A.V. The Law of the Sea. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1983.
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Johnson, D.H.N. Rights in Air Space. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1965.
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Kershner, William K. The Student Pilot's Flight Manual. �Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1993.
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Sochor, Eugene The Politics of International Aviation. Iowa City, Iowa, University of Iowa Press, 1991.
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Wells, Alexander T. Airport Planning & Management. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books, 1992.
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Note: The listed books published by government agencies may often be found in libraries' government documents sections rather than in their general catalog.
�Airline Handbook.� Air Transport Association. Airline Handbook. http://www.air-transport.org/public/Handbook/Default.htm
�The Airmail Act of 1925.� http://avstop.com/History/NeedRegulations/Act1925.htm
�The Airmail Act of 1930.� http://avstop.com/History/NeedRegulations/Act1930.htm.
Air Transport World. http://atw.atwonline.com/links.cfm#AIRPORTS �(URLs for airports and airlines worldwide)
Articles about the history of international civil aviation. http://www.icao.int/cgi/goto.pl?icao/en/history.htm. (requires free DjVu viewer available from this site)
�Aviation Security Initiatives Post September 11, 2001.� Fact Sheet, November 2001. http://www.faa.gov/apa/FACTSHEET/2001/fact1nov.htm
�A Brief History of the Federal Aviation Administrationand Its Predecessor Agencies.�http://www.faa.gov/apa/history/briefhistory.htm
�Building A Safer and More Effective Air Traffic Control System.� National Transportation Library, Department of Transportation. http://www.rppi.org/ps126.pdf
�Cuba's Commercial Aviation History and the Pichs Collection.� National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution. http://www.si.edu/postal/pichs/aviation.exhibit1.htm.
�Denver International Airport Factsheet.� http://www.flydenver.com/z401-3.html
FAA Airports 50th Anniversary.� http://www.faa.gov/arp/annivers.htm.
�FAA Federal Air Marshal Program.� FAA Fact Sheet. September 2001. http://www.faa.gov/apa/FACTSHEET/2001/fact1sep.htm
FAA Historical Album. http://www.faa.gov/apa/history/1album.htm
FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996. http://www.faa.gov/apa/history/ChronIntro.htm
FAA historical photo album: http://www.faa.gov/apa/history/grpCaFa.htm.
FAA history: http://www.faa.gov/apa/history/history.htm.
Federal Aviation Administration. Aeronautical Information Manual - Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures. http://www.faa.gov/Atpubs/AIM/index.htm.
�Flight Into History: Earle Ovington Was First.� http://www.airmailpioneers.org/history/milestone3.html.
Glines, C.V �The Airmail Takes Wing� (condensed). http://www.aerofiles.com/airmail.html.
�History of ICAO.� http://www.icao.int/cgi/goto.pl?icao/en/history.htm
�The Instrument Landing System.� Allstar Network. http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/ILS.htm.
�International Aviation Competition Issues.� Statement of John H. Anderson, Jr., Director, Transportation Issues, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, General Accounting Office. June 4, 1997. http://ntl.bts.gov/data/GAO/rc97103t.pdf.
�Milestones in Federal Aid to Airports.� http://www.faa.gov/arp/anniv01.htm.
NASA History: http://history.nasa.gov/.
National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution: http://www.nasm.si.edu/.
�The Ninety-Nines � Which Airport Is That?� http://www.ninety-nines.org/airmark.html
Office of Inspector General. Audit Report. "Airport Access Control." Federal Aviation Administration. Report No. AV-2000-017. http://cas.faa.gov/ig5.pdf.
_____________. Audit Report. "Controls Over Airport Identification Media." Federal Aviation Administration. Report No.: AV-2001-010, December 7, 2000. http://cas.faa.gov/pdf/faa_report_redacted_12-19-00.pdf.
Original Air Service Map. http://www.airmailpioneers.org/flightinfo/Mapsoriginal.htm.
Poole, Robert W., Jr. �Building A Safer and More Effective Air Traffic Control System.� http://www.rppi.org/ps126.pdf.
Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell With Lockerbie Family Members, February 8, 2001 Washington, D.C. http://www.thelockerbietrial.com/Colin_Powell.htm
Thompson, Scott. �The History of Flight Inspection in the United States of America.� http://avstop.com/Stories/inspection.html. Also at http://avnwww.jccbi.gov/icasc/fh(united_states).html
�U.S. Airport Emplanement Activity by Rank, Order.� http://www.faa.gov/arp/pdf/vpd.pdf.
�Who's On First?� http://www.airmailpioneers.org/history/milestone4.html.
Wright, Nancy Allison. �On Wings of Faith: Navigating the First Day/Night Transcontinental.� http://www.airmailpioneers.org/history/milestone2.html/
_____________. �The Reluctant Pioneer and Air Mail's Origin.� http://www.airmailpioneers.org/history/milestone1.html.