Did you know? Federal Aviation Regulations

Federal Aviaition Regualtions Origins

Did you know that the comprehensive Federal Aviation Regulations may have been inspired by the work of a city attorney in a small Florida town that had no airplanes?


In 1908, P.A. Vans Agnew, city attorney in Kissimmee, Florida, drafted the first law of its kind in a city ordinance that restricted low flights of “balloons, aeroplanes, heliocopters, ornithopters, or airships” over city streets. At the time, no airplanes were operating in Kissimmee. Van Agnew drafted the ordinance after visiting Paris where he had observed aircraft barnstorming city buildings. Cities and authorities around the world took notice of Van Agnew’s ordinance and his work was reported by the Washington Post in 1910 and referenced by legal commentator Harold Hazeltine in 1911. Kissimmee did not see its first airplane until 1911. That aircraft sadly killed a cow on its first attempted takeoff delaying the eventual development of today’s robust aviation industry in Kissimmee. The first federal regulations of pilots and aircraft did not occur until the passage of the Air Commerce Act in 1926.



Harold D. Hazeltine, The Law of the Air (Univ. of London Press 1911) (Compilation of lectures given by Hazeltine at King’s College, London in December 1910)
Rebecca Maksel, The First U.S. Air Law Was In a Town Without Airplanes, AIR & SPACE (June 8, 2015),
Brent Skorup, Drones, Airspace Design, and Aerial Law in States and Cities, Akron L. Rev. Vol. 55 Issue 1 Art. 4 (2022),