Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control centers. It investigates air accidents and in response may establish new rules, for example, on de-icing and air-frame inspections. It also promotes the development of a national system of airports. Established as a federal agency in 1958 to regulate air commerce, it assumed many of the functions of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB; est. as the Civil Aeronautics Authority, 1938) and the Airways Modernization Board. The agency became part of the newly formed Dept. of Transportation in 1967. In 1981–82, it took over authority for the limited regulation of domestic routes and fares from the CAB, which was abolished by 1985.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.