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The United States News July 24, 1939 traveled with him. When in 1914 I took my first flight, I thought of this childhood tale - and felt my dreams had come true. The great avenues of the heavens afford a constantly changing scene of wonder and beauty. The airliner is our magic carpet, available to Everyman. Upon it he may ride on a voyage of exploration denied to the earthbound. The vast panorama of the earth, set off by an occasional fleecy cloud, presents a map more fascinating than could be drawn by the most skillful cartographer. In clean air, above the dust and grime of cities, the traveler moves through nature's most intimate chambers of delight. For your children, the value of a single journey by air far exceeds many days of poring over books of geography. And for the busy man or woman, air transport brings relief from the drab scenes of every day, restoring a vision of God's great universe, a vision all too frequently lost in the bustle of modern life. In this, then, is the eternal adventure of air travel. Icarus dreamed of it - and tried. The Little Lame Prince brought it to us in story. Now we have it at our fingertips. Passengers are attracted, of course, by the extraordinary speed and the luxurious comfort of the modern airliner. But beyond all that, there is the appeal of a highway bounded only by the far horizon, where the mind and soul of a man can soar to new heights, or fulfill childhood dreams. The vision of the Wright brothers and the painstaking preparations of men such as Charles Lindbergh are reaping the most satisfactory of all rewards in that a swelling army of us ordinary men and women are enjoying this great new means of travel and trade which their genius has made available to us. Month by month thousands more of our countrymen are crowding the air line terminals. Through the long years of depression air transport planes that operate under differing circumstances. To fail to make this distinction is like judging the safety of our great motor bus lines by the huge accident toll among miscellaneous automobile drivers. I had a dear and very old great aunt who recently went to her grave breathing imprecations and warnings against the dangers of railroads and automobiles. She had never traveled save by horse and buggy; resolutely she shut her eyes to the fine safety record of the railroads, always recalling in her arguments with me the very occasional train wreck and triumphantly concluding that the use of horse and buggy never resulted in such tragedies. When I protested that rail travel was so safe that insurance companies would sell the rail passenger a $5,000 insurance policy at a rate of 25 cents, she would wave me aside with the devastating comment that the insurance companies were interested only in making money. Insurance as Gauge of Safety of Travel And so they are. When insurance companies, by careful calculations, find that they can make money by the sale of insurance to cover this or that contingency we may be sure that the contingency is remote indeed. There is no truer indication of the safety of travel by rail than the insurance policy, at a low premium, which may be purchased in any railroad station. For over a year the insurance companies have made available to every traveler on the scheduled air lines the same sort of policy. The air passenger can buy an even more liberal $5,000 policy at a rate which is almost exactly the same as that available to the rail passenger. So insurance companies have passed judgment upon the safety of travel by air, just as they have upon the safety of travel by rail, and they have not found it wanting. Carefully.... Aeronautics Act, in the drafting of which the statesmanship of foresight was employed in liberal degree, and in the support of which the President and the Congress, after a patient, long-continued and conscientious study, made an immeasurable contribution to the needs and aspirations and the future welfare of our commerce, our postal service and our national defense. Already America has recognized their action as just and wise. The brake has been taken from the wheel. Already we are progressing readily but deliberately, bravely but conservatively, to a determination of problems of a new and matchless age. Civil aeronautics did not trust its country in vain. But even more fortunate is it that the President has selected for the administration of this new Act a body of men second to none in all Washington in the quality of their leadership, in their ability and in their devotion to the great national ends which the Congress defined in the new statute. In each case appointment was in accord with the credo that the office should seek the man. To each the office is not his reward but his responsibility. The members of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the Air Safety Board and the Administrator, the two last mentioned being daily subject to Presidential challenge, have already made a deep and favorable impression in Washington, and an even deeper and more favorable impression upon the industry with the regulation of which this new agency is charged. History will record as one of the great accomplishments of our President his decision that the regulation and development of the vital civil aeronautics industry should be vested in a group of men of such outstanding qualifications. Decision otherwise would have destroyed the temple as soon as it had been constructed. The functions vested in the Civil Aeronautics Authority, including its Administrator and Safety Board, by the new Civil Aeronautics Act are far more extensive than the functions relating to civil aeronautics which our Government had assumed prior to the adoption of this Act. Notable, of course, is that fact that the new Act imposes a comprehensive system of economic regulation of air carriers, heretofore lacking, which is, as the Interstate Commerce Commission has said, if anything, more comprehensive than that applying to the railroads. But in addition to this vast economic regulation, the new Act imposes an improved regulation of safety, a vastly expanded program for private and miscellaneous flying, and other important detailed functions. In assuming these new responsibilities you might well presume that a greatly increased administrative expense would have resulted. This certainly would have been true had the new Authority been composed of men of minor ability and were it staffed by a personnel less devoted to their task. However, we find that for the succeeding fiscal year, despite this greatly expanded program of regulation and of development, it will be necessary for our government to increase its expenditures beyond the expenditures it would have been making had the Civil Aeronautics Act not been passed, by a figure well under two million dollars. This incredibly small increase as the price for the vast benefits accruing from the new statue is due solely to the fact that the President appointed men to the new Civil Aeronautics Authority who are more than worthy of their trust. Scope of Regulation Widened by Act By the end of February of this year the Authority had grappled with these greatly expanded functions with a net increase of only 254 employees beyond the number Congress had already authorized for the civil aeronautical functions of the Government prior to the adoption of the Civil Aeronautics Act. The fact to be emphasized today is that the record of the Authority and of its staff is a warm reminder that patriotic service to the Government and to the country is not reserved for a wartime crisis. If, then, I believe fervently in the zeal with which the air lines have pushed forward in the development under the American Flag of this new and modern means of travel and trade, I hasten to acknowledge that private enterprise in air transportation has no monopoly upon selfless zeal. Because of the character of this new Governmental agency, because of the men in whom the President has placed his trust for the successful administration of the new Act, the zeal of the air lines is matched and oft-times exceeded by the zeal of your Governmental servants in Washington. Since the dawn of history man, in his travels and trade, has struggled to break the bonds of time and space. Air transport, under the Civil Aeronautics Authority, at last promises to set him free. (The foregoing is the full text of an address July 18 at Dallas, Tex.)
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