If you have ever flown you likely are aware of several government organizations dedicated to the oversight of the aviation industry. Alphabet soup sounding names such as the FAA, DOT, and NSTB are often mentioned, but each organization has a distinct role in ensuring passenger safety. Let’s take a look at three federal agencies tasked with ensuring that your next flight is a safe one.
Federal Aviation Administration – The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is responsible for the safety of civil aviation. According to their web site , the FAA is tasked with the following responsibilities:
• Regulating civil aviation to promote safety
• Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology
• 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
• Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation
You can learn more information about the FAA, how it is managed, governing responsibilities, and even hiring information at www.faa.gov
U.S. Department of Transportation – The Department of Transportation, or DOT, overseas the operation of 13 governmental agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration. The chief responsibilities of the DOT is to, “keep the traveling public safe and secure, increase their mobility, and have our transportation system contribute to the nation’s economic growth.”  Visit www.dot.gov for more information.
The National Safety Transportation Board – The National Safety Transportation Board, or NSTB, is an independent federal agency appointed by Congress and tasked with investigating every civil aviation accident in the US as well as in marine, roads, and other transportation areas. Since its inception in 1967, the NSTB has investigated over 124,000 aviation accidents. Visit www.nstb.gov for more information.
Of course, today there is a fourth agency involved to some degree in ensuring passenger safety. The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, was created in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This department oversees several other agencies including the Transportation Security Administration, the organization that hires, trains, and deploys transportation security screeners at airports across the U.S.
You may not know an FAA, DOT, NSTB, or DHS employee when you see one, but together they are all tasked with ensuring that your next flight is a safe one.