The age of manned flight was born free of federal regulations during a 12-second flight that took place in 1903, and the new adventure of flight was to remain uncontrolled until the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926. This act has been called the “legislative cornerstone for the development of commercial aviation in America,” because it put in place the first federal agency with authority for licensing, inspection, and operation of aircraft.
This paper provides a review of those events that led up to the passage of the Air Commerce Act and then describes the process used to develop the first set of aviation regulations. Also included is a brief discussion on the company, its chief designer, and the airplane that received ATC No. 1 in March 1927.