Air Law – The Federal Aviation Act of 1958

On August 23, 1958 the President signed into law the most important piece of aviation legislation to come out of Congress in the past two decades. After several study groups had worked on the air safety problem, the President acted in February 1956 by appointing Edward P. Curtis as his Special Assistant for Aviation Facilities Planning. In May 1957 the now famous Curtis Report was submitted to Congress in which it was suggested that an independent aviation agency be set up by 1959. It took several major air tragedies, however, to awaken Congress and the nation to the need for immediate action. Two crashes in 1958, occurring within one month of each other, between military and civilian aircraft pointed up the need for unified control of the flight of both military and civilian aircraft. On June 13, 1958 the President submitted a message to Congress recommending immediate formation of an independent Federal Aviation Agency, and the important and far-reaching legislation which will be the subject of this comment was enacted within three months.