Dreams of flight: general aviation in the United States by Janet Rose Daly Bednarek, Michael H. Bednarek

By Janet Rose Daly Bednarek, Michael H. Bednarek

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There was, therefore, still a place for the makers of homebuilt aircraft. Licensed aircraft had to meet certain airworthiness requirements. These requirements covered such aspects of aircraft construction and equipment as structural strength, the power plant, propellers, and the aircraft’s general flying characteristics and qualities. Once the proper paperwork had been submitted and an aircraft design deemed airworthy, it was awarded an Approved Type Certificate. 4 The end result was a more formal structure for aviation.

12 However, just as the homebuilt movement gained its initial momentum, federal and state regulations combined to gradually apply the brakes. The Air Commerce Act of , as noted, called for the licensing of all aircraft except those flown strictly for recreation—which applied to most homebuilt aircraft. The regulations were also interpreted as excluding aircraft flown only intrastate rather then interstate, particularly if they were not being flown for hire. The federal government, though, was not the only level of government in the United States creating regulations for aircraft.

Only publicly owned airports were eligible for the program. The result was that the majority of airports receiving aid were in major metropolitan areas. These airports, while available to general aviation, focused on serving commercial airlines. However, a number of local governments saw the advantage of creating airfields for private and sport pilots in order to encourage tourism. 15 One of the most extensive of the WPA aviation programs was the airmarking campaign. Although the instruments necessary for “blind” or instrument flying had been developed by the late s, the new and expensive equipment was primarily limited to commercial airlines.

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