The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is an organization that works under the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) as a governing body to the aviation industry. The FAA creates and enforces rules in an effort to provide a safe, efficient airspace system.
After World War I, the United States saw a surplus of pilots and aircraft. A somewhat quiet airspace had become noisy and crowded, and industry leaders sought to regulate the aviation activity somehow. Thus, in 1926, the Air Commerce Act was passed, lending way for the government to legislate air commerce, pilot licensing and air traffic rules, among other things.
The early version of the FAA was first named the Aeronautics Branch, then the Bureau of Air Commerce, and later, the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA).
Finally, in 1958, Mike Monroney, an Oklahoma Senator introduced the Federal Aviation Act, a bill that the president signed. The Federal Aviation Act created the new Federal Aviation Agency. In 1966, the Federal Aviation Agency became the Federal Aviation Administration and was placed under the newly designed Department of Transportation.
Today, the FAA oversees multiple sectors of aviation, including airports, air navigation and air traffic, aviation safety, space transportation, government affairs, NextGen, airmen and mechanic certification, manufacturer inspections, flight training standards, and the modernization of the nation's rapidly-growing airspace system.
The FAA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has nine regional offices, called Flight Standard District Offices (FSDOs) across the United States.