Essay on Navigating the Skies: The Impact of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 on Aviation Safety and Industry Growth

Published: 2024-01-16
Essay on Navigating the Skies: The Impact of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 on Aviation Safety and Industry Growth
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Aviation Airline industry
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1395 words
12 min read


The Air Commerce Act of 1926 was a law that was established to regulate airplanes and other activities within the sector (Lee,1926). The act triggered the improvement of the sector, especially in safety, which was an essential aspect of the growth of the industry. The research paper examines factors that lead to the law, its importance, and its long-term impacts.

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What Led to the Air Commerce Act?

In the 19th and early 20th century, aviation in the United States was not effectively controlled by the government. The lack of better regulation triggered an increase in the number of accidents caused by airplanes. According to research, 66 % of the accidents experienced before 1920 were caused by ignorance from human beings (Lee,1926). Due to the rise in the number of plane accidents, there was a need for the establishment of the law, which was to regulate and promote the safety of air transport (Grzebyk, 2019). Additionally, it was highlighted that the aviation industry could not reach its full commercial potential without federal support, especially on the improvement and maintenance of safety standards (Bubb, 2020). In this case, improvement in the safety of air transport was perceived as an integral way of increasing the number of individuals that could use this form of movement (Lee,1926). As a way of enhancing air transport, President Calvin Coolidge appointed a committee that was meant to investigate the problem, which reported that there was a need for the establishment of federal safety regulations (Polkowska, 2019). The report triggered the introduction of the Air Commerce Act on May 20, 1926 (Lee,1926).

The act led to the establishment of an Aeronautic Branch that was under the United States Department of Commerce, and it was required to ensure the degree of civil air safety is maintained by all companies in the aviation industry. As such, the Aeronautic Branch was required to conduct testing and licensing of pilots and provide certificates to approve the airworthiness of planes (Bubb, 2020). Additionally, the department was mandated to enforce safety regulations, establish airways, and provide assistance, especially in the operational and maintenance of planes (Lee,1926). In case of an accident, Aeronautic was responsible for conducting the investigation. As a way of enhancing aviation responsibilities, Aeronautics highly focused on promoting safety rulemaking and the certification of pilots and aircraft since they appeared to be the base factors that led to an increase in air accidents (Grzebyk, 2019). Furthermore, the department of commerce profoundly enhanced aeronautical radio communication, which was perceived as an essential way of enhancing response in case of an emergency. By 1934, the government had managed to reduce the number of aircraft accidents, and this triggered the Aeronautic Branch to be renamed the Bureau of Air Commerce (Lee,1926). Due to the low rate of aircraft accidents, commercial aviation grew at a high rate, and more centers, such as Newark, were established, this gave the government an easier way of controlling traffic in the airways (Polkowska, 2019). As such, pilots could effectively navigate different routes by the use of maps, which was a critical aspect in avoiding issues such as plane collide.

Why was the Air Commerce Act of 1926 Important at that Time?

The establishment of the act was a major move toward the improvement of air transport. By the time the law was being established, the country experienced the challenge of navigating airways, and this triggered an increase in air accidents (Grzebyk, 2019). As such, the establishment of the law activated the improvement of the navigation process, thus avoiding issues such as aircraft corrosion, which was highly experienced within the time (Lee,1926). Additionally, the establishment of law led to the growth and development of new air centers. The low number of individuals using this mode of transport has negatively affected the growth of the industry (Jones Jr, 2020). However, the act prompted the introduction of new airways as the number of passengers using air transport increased dramatically (Polkowska, 2019). For instance, in 1934, the Bureau of Air Commerce introduced three centers, which were led by the demand for air transport (Lee,1926). Furthermore, the law activated the introduction of move communication technology, which enhanced the navigation process. Through the use of aeronautic radio communication, pilots could effectively connect and understand where exactly they are, and this was an essential way of helping them to find the required ways (Bubb, 2020). Therefore, the law helped in controlling issues that may arise, especially when the pilot lost the way. For instance, losing the way increased the chance of pilots hitting high structures, such as a mountain, which were common accidents that were experienced before the establishment of the act.

Flight safety was another critical aspect that the law dramatically improved. Most companies that were operating flights were highly associated with challenges in providing high maintenance standards, which was a key aspect in enhancing plane safety. Due to the challenge, technical issues were highly associated, such as engine failure were highly associated with many accidents (Bubb, 2020). Therefore, the law encouraged the department to assist companies in providing safety and maintenance of the airplane. As such, the department was responsible for approving whether a plane was safe to fly, and this played a vital role in enhancing flight safety (Lee,1926). Moreover, the department was mandated to approve whether pilots have the required skills and qualifications for them to operate an airplane. The approach helped in reducing unqualified individuals from operating an airplane, which was linked to numerous accidents (Grzebyk, 2019). Due to the safety of planes, new centers and airways were introduced, and this triggered an increase in the number of passengers using the mode of transport.

What Long-Term Impacts did it have on the Commercial Aviation Industry?

The establishment of the act was a major move that led to the growth of the commercial aviation industry. In particular, the law led to the establishment of lighted airways, which assisted pilots in navigating numerous centers, and this facilitated the development and growth of the commercial aviation industry (Bubb, 2020). Due to the establishment of more air centers, more companies that were operating in the commercial aviation industry arose, and this triggered an increase in the number of people using the mode of transport (Grzebyk, 2019). The approach opened other economic sectors such as towns, which were a major move toward economic development in the country.

The establishment of airplane and pilot certification dramatically impacted the commercial aviation industries as many people developed trust in the safety of this mode of transport (Polkowska, 2019). Therefore, people were certain that the systems they were using were safe, and this triggered a positive increase in the number of passengers using the mode of transport (Grzebyk, 2019). Additionally, the establishment of navigation facilities positively impacted the safety of passengers, and thus, people using the system were certain of the nature of the airplanes they were using. For many years, people have developed negative perceptions due to deadly accidents that occur in the sector, and this affected their popularity (Bubb, 2020). Therefore, the physical fitness of airplanes and other facilities used in the process was integral and impacted people to use this form of transport (Grzebyk, 2019). Through the approach, the law helped in air traffic regulation, and this ensured all planes were controlled at the center.


The establishment of the act dramatically improved aircraft safety. The approach triggered a reduction of accidents, thus, increasing the number of users. Due to the approach, the sector experienced a major improvement, and this led to its growth.


Bubb, D. K. (2020). Taking flight: The foundations of American commercial aviation, 1918–1938 by M. Houston Johnson V. Journal of Southern History, 86(2), 499-500.

Grzebyk, A. (2019). The unconstitutionality of privatizing air traffic control. Syracuse L. Rev., 69, 391.

Jones Jr, B. (2020). Regional Airlines. Erau.

Lee, F. P. (1926). The air commerce act of 1926. American Bar Association Journal, 12(6), 371-376.

Polkowska, M. (2019). Governance in the context of air and space. Law and management issues. modern| Management|, 37.,nOJH83DzY3HmQbezAaPTE_cy18IgVCKCkwKxYpYDM_NAJtImhZailBJ1s/mmr-02-2019-pw-01.pdf#page=37

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Essay on Navigating the Skies: The Impact of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 on Aviation Safety and Industry Growth. (2024, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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