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FAA marks 60 years of safer skiesFAA marks 60 years of safer skies

In the 60 years since the FAA was established, it has fashioned a focus on safety and spurred phenomenal growth known and admired throughout the world, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said at an event to celebrate the agency’s milestone Aug. 30.

Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell (left) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (right) honor Alphonso Barr for 61 years of service at the FAA. Photo by Richard McSpadden.

Richard McSpadden, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, joined Chao, Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, three former leaders of the agency, and FAA employees and guests at its Washington, D.C., headquarters to mark the FAA’s six decades.

In her keynote remarks, Chao—who became the first woman of Asian descent in U.S. history to join a president’s Cabinet when she was Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009—noted the FAA’s “proud milestone” of the sixtieth anniversary. She credited the agency with shepherding air transportation through a period of growth during which aviation surpassed ships in transporting people across the Atlantic Ocean (1958); saw 173 million Americans fly (1970); and surpassed the one-billion-passenger mark in 2017.

Looking to the future, she pointed to the inception in May of the FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems integration program, which she said would contribute key guidance “to the regulatory framework in which safety will be a key objective.”

Disruptive technology always poses a regulatory challenge, but also offers “an opportunity.” she said.

Topics: Air Safety Institute, FAA Information and Services, Safety and Education

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