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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the United States. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created the organization under the name "Federal Aviation Agency," and adopted its current name in 1966 when it became a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The FAA's major roles include:

  • 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.