California Department of Transportation

Physical Address:
Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics
1120 N Street, Room 3300
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:
Department of Transportation
Division of Aeronautics,
MS 40 P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

Shipping Address:
1415 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information:
Fax - 916.653.9531



Federal and State Aviation Roles

California Department of Transportation

Division of Aeronautics

Federal and State Roles in Aviation


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  1. Controls all of the nation’s airspace.
  2. Operates the Air Traffic Control system.
  3. Develops and enforces certification standards for all aircraft, pilots, flight crews and mechanics.
  4. Administers an ongoing aviation safety program.
  5. Develops standards for the construction of airports and heliports.
  6. Inspects Commercial Service airports to ensure compliance with FAA safety regulations.


Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

  1. The TSA employs baggage screeners at airports, and oversees airport security programs.


Federal excise taxes support the Airport and Airway Trust Fund:  7.5 percent on airline tickets (plus a segment fee), 6.25 percent on air cargo, 19.3¢/gallon avgas, 18.3¢/gallon non-commercial jet fuel, and fees for international arrivals and departures.  Airlines pay 4.3¢ per gallon on jet fuel to the Trust Fund.  The Trust Fund supports FAA’s operations and grant programs.  Commercial Service airports can collect a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), as much as $4.50 per passenger.  However, they can only spend the PFC receipts with the FAA’s approval.


Airport Improvement Program provides grants to airports for capital improvements and special categories such as noise mitigation, system planning, and conversion of military airports to civilian use.  For discretionary grants, the FAA’s top two priorities are airport and airway safety and capacity.


State Aviation (Caltrans, Division of Aeronautics)

Funded by general aviation fuel excise taxes: 18¢ per gallon for avgas, 2¢ per gallon for jet fuel (non-commercial use only).

Performs safety functions which are not FAA’s responsibility:

  1. Permit and inspect over 300 public-use and special-use airports.  In addition, under contract for the FAA, the Division conducts federal Airport Master Record inspections at non-commercial, public use airports in conjunction with the Division's periodic airport permit compliance and safety inspection program.
  2. Permit and inspect over 460 hospital and other special-use heliports.  Conduct a periodic permit compliance and safety inspection program for hospital heliports.
  3. Authorize helicopter landings at or within 1000 feet of schools (K-12).
  4. Evaluate the acquisition of proposed public schools (K-12), community college, and State building sites within two miles of an airport runway.


State law requires an Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) for public use airports.

State law requires standards for aircraft-generated noise for county designated “noise problem airports” (10 are so designated) to achieve land use compatibility within their 65dB Community Noise Equivalent Level aircraft noise contours. 

State law requires a California Aviation System Plan (CASP) including, but not limited to a Policy Element, a Capital Improvement Plan, an Inventory Element and a System Requirements Element.

Non-commercial airports can receive a State matching grant equal to 5 percent of an FAA AIP grant.  Acquisition and Development (A&D) grants complement FAA’s priorities (airport and airway safety and capacity) by funding pavement maintenance, ALUCPs, and projects at publicly owned airports that are not eligible for FAA AIP grants.  The Annual Credit Grant provides $10,000/year to 149 eligible airports for operation, maintenance and minor improvements.  Infrastructure improvement loans are also available to eligible publicly owned airports.