On December 17, 1903 on the windswept Bodie Island peninsula in the North Carolina Outer Banks, powered aviation was born. Over the next one hundred years the world’s most extensive air transportation infrastructure developed in accordance with the will of the people of the United States, as expressed through the guidance of the United States Congress. It remains one of the crowning achievements of the most prosperous nation that has ever existed in human history.
Freedom to fly protected by law
From the earliest days of flight, federal laws have been enacted to ensure the freedom of every citizen to exercise the right to use the airspace of the United States for the pursuit of private benefit. This doctrine is enshrined in the codified federal statutes:
49 USC § 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
(a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
(2) A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.
FAA mandate to promote civil aviation and safety
In the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (as amended) the Federal Aviation Administration was created and given the mandate to promote civil aeronautics and to ensure the safety of air commerce:
49 USC § 40104 - Promotion of civil aeronautics and safety of air commerce
(a) Developing Civil Aeronautics and Safety of Air Commerce.— The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall encourage the development of civil aeronautics and safety of air commerce in and outside the United States.
Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR) designed to ensure the safety of air commerce have been developed over many decades pursuant to the law that mandates their creation:
49 USC § 44701 - General requirements
(a) Promoting Safety.— The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall promote safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing—
(5) regulations and minimum standards for other practices, methods, and procedure the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security.Somewhere between the right to fly ("transit through the navigable airspace") and safety, is a balance point that is agreeable to society. This blog is about identifying that point and making a public choice to attain it.