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1926 Air Commerce Act

Calvin Coolidge

1926 Air Commerce Act: The Air Commerce Act was approved on May 19, 1926 during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

Definition and Summary of the 1926 Air Commerce Act
Summary and definition:
The Air Commerce Act was approved on May 19, 1926 to establish a bureau enforcing procedures for the licensing of aircraft, engines, pilots, and other personnel. New regulations governing civil aeronautical activities were published with the act. The term air commerce referred to the transportation, navigation and the operation of aircraft. The Wright Brothers made the first powered airplane flight on December 17, 1903 which began the rapid progression of Air Commerce.

Facts about 1926 Air Commerce Act
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on 1926 Air Commerce Act.

Congress passed the Air Commerce Act, placing responsibility with the federal government for fostering air commerce, establishing new airways, improving aids to navigation, and making and enforcing flight safety rules.

The Wright Brothers made the first powered airplane flight over sand dunes near Kitty Hawk in Dare County, North Carolina on December 17, 1903 This historical event began the rapid progression of Air Commerce.

Calvin Coolidge was the 30th American President who served in office from August 2, 1923 to March 4, 1929. One of the important events during his presidency was the 1926 Air Commerce Act.

Flight technology had advanced significantly during World War One and the Contract Air Mail Act of 1925 paved the way for the expansion and regulation of flights in the United States of America, allowing the U.S. Post Office to pay private airlines to deliver the mail.

The airline industry received a boost in the 1920's with the passage of the 1926 Air Commerce Act which provided federal government aid for building new airports across the United States of America.

The emerging aircraft industry produced 4600 American airplanes in 1928 and passenger terminals were built with comfortable waiting rooms.

To undertake the provisions of the act, the Department of Commerce formed an Aeronautics Branch.

The regulations required all pilots to obtain licenses. On April 6, 1927, William P. MacCracken, Jr.,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, received Pilot License No. 1, a private pilot license.

The first woman to obtain a United States pilot’s license was Phoebe Omlie who received Transport License No. 199 from the Aeronautics Branch on June 30, 1927.

In August 1926, William P. MacCracken was appointed as the first Assistant Secretary of Commerce for
Aeronautics, becoming the first head of the Aeronautics Branch.

The new regulations to govern civil aeronautical activities was written by William P. MacCracken and first published in a 45-page publication called “Air Commerce Regulations”. The regulations were published in December 1926 covering Licensing of Aircraft, Air Traffic Rules, Marking of Aircraft, Operation of Aircraft, Licensing of Pilots and Mechanics together with a Miscellaneous section.

The new regulations required that all aircraft used in commercial aeronautics to be registered, have a national identification mark. The first aircraft ‪license was issued to the Buhl Airster biplane in March 1927.

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition
Facts and Biography of the Wright Brothers
Early US Aviation

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