Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA)

The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA) is responsible for regulating aviation in the state of Arkansas as well as encouraging the development of aeronautics-related industries.

The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics was created as the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics by Act 457 of 1941, which established the agency for a period of twenty-five years, to be headed by a commission consisting of the chairperson of the State Police Commission, the adjutant general of the State of Arkansas, the chairperson of the State Penal Board, the chairperson of the State Highway Commission, and the head of the ADA. The duties, as defined by the act, consisted of providing for the examination, rating, and licensing of airports; adopting rules and regulations for airports and other landing sites; providing for the protection of necessary air space reservations in the state; designating and charting civil airways; investigating accidents; encouraging the establishment of airports; regulating flight instruction; and enforcing air traffic rules. In addition, the ADA was authorized to use convict labor for construction work on airports and runways.

Later acts changed the composition of the commission overseeing the ADA. Act 155 of 1961 added a few individuals, including the commanding officer of the Arkansas Air National Guard, although Act 456 of 1965 changed the number of commissioned members appointed by the governor. As of 2010, it consists of seven appointed commissioners who hold five-year terms and is the smallest of the state agencies, having only four paid personnel.

The ADA is not funded by general revenue appropriations but rather receives its funding from a special account into which is paid the sales tax on aircraft, aviation fuel, and aviation-related parts, products, and services, as per Act 924 of 1997. However, the agency does disburse state and federal grant money for airport improvement and related programs. In addition, the ADA maintains a number of aviation safety and education programs.

Act 910 of 2019 placed the ADA (now a division rather than a department) under the umbrella entity of the Department of Commerce.

For additional information:
Arkansas Division of Aeronautics. (accessed March 9, 2022).

Oman, Noel E. “Big Challenges Nearing for State’s Small Airports.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 26, 2006, pp. 1, 15A.

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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