Federal Aviation Regulations
The Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) governing all aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 activities in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

 (CFR). A wide variety of activities are regulated, such as airplane design, typical airline flights, pilot training activities, hot-air ballooning
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

, lighter-than-air aircraft, man-made structure heights, obstruction lighting and marking, and even model rocket
Model rocket
A model rocket is a small rocket that is commonly advertised as being able to be launched by anybody, to, in general, low altitudes and recovered by a variety of means....

 launches and model aircraft
Model aircraft
Model aircraft are flying or non-flying models of existing or imaginary aircraft using a variety of materials including plastic, diecast metal, polystyrene, balsa wood, foam and fibreglass...

 operation. The rules are designed to promote safe aviation
Air safety
Air safety is a term encompassing the theory, investigation and categorization of flight failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education and training. It can also be applied in the context of campaigns that inform the public as to the safety of air travel.-United...

, protecting pilots, flight attendants, passengers and the general public from unnecessary risk. They are also intended to protect the national security
National security
National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

 of the United States, especially in light of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...



The FARs are organized into sections, called parts due to their organization within the CFR. Each part deals with a specific type of activity. For example, 14 CFR Part 141 contains rules for pilot training schools. The sections most relevant to aircraft pilots and AMTs (Aviation Maintenance Technicians) are listed below. Many of the FARs are designed to regulate certification of pilots, schools, or aircraft rather than the operation of airplanes. In other words, once an airplane design is certified using some parts of these regulations, it is certified regardless of whether the regulations change in the future. For that reason, newer planes are certified using newer versions of the FARs, and in many aspects may be thus considered safer designs.
  • Part 1 – Definitions and Abbreviations
  • Part 13 – Investigation and Enforcement Procedures
  • Part 21 – Certification Procedures for Products and Parts
  • Part 23 – Airworthiness Standards: Normal, Utility, Acrobatic and Commuter Airplanes
  • Part 25 – Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Airplanes
  • Part 27 – Airworthiness Standards: Normal Category Rotorcraft
  • Part 29 – Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Rotorcraft
  • Part 33 – Airworthiness Standards: Aircraft Engines
  • Part 34 – Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emission Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered Airplanes
  • Part 35 – Airworthiness Standards: Propellers
  • Part 39 – Airworthiness Directives
  • Part 43 – Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration
  • Part 45 – Identification and Registration Marking
  • Part 47 – Aircraft Registration
  • Part 61 – Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors
  • Part 65 – Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers
  • Part 67 – Medical Standards and Certification
  • Part 71 – Designation of Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E Airspace Areas; Airways; Routes; and Reporting Points
  • Part 73 – Special Use Airspace
  • Part 91 – General Operating and Flight Rules
  • Part 97 – Standard Instrument Approach Procedures
  • Part 101 – Moored Balloons, Kites, Unmanned Rockets and Unmanned Free Balloons
  • Part 103 – Ultralight Vehicles
  • Part 105 – Parachute Operations
  • Part 119 – Certification: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators
  • Part 121 – Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations
  • Part 125 – Certification and Operations: Airplanes Having a Seating Capacity of 20 or More Passengers or a Payload Capacity of 6,000 Pounds or More
  • Part 133 – Rotorcraft External-Load Operations
  • Part 135 – Operating Requirements: Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft
  • Part 136 – Commercial Air Tours and National Parks Air Tour Management
  • Part 137 – Agricultural Aircraft Operations
  • Part 139 – Certification of Airports
  • Part 141 – Flight Schools
  • Part 142 – Training Centers
  • Part 145 – Repair Stations
  • Part 147 – Aviation Maintenance Technicians Schools
  • Part 183 – Representatives of The Administrator

Regulations of interest

The FARs are divided into tens of thousands of separate sections, many of which have large numbers of researchers using them on any given day. A few of the regulations particularly interesting to laypersons, relevant to current political issues, or of historical interest are listed below.

Part 23

Part 23 contains airworthiness standards for airplanes in the normal, utility, aerobatic, and commuter categories. It dictates the standards required for issuance and change of type certificates for airplanes in these categories. The Maximum Takeoff Weight of an airplane in the normal, utility or acrobatic category cannot exceed 12,500 lb. The Maximum Takeoff Weight of an airplane in the commuter category cannot exceed 19,000 lb.

This Part has a large number of regulations to ensure airworthiness in areas such as structural loads, airframe, performance, stability, controllability, and safety mechanisms, how the seats must be constructed, oxygen and air pressurization systems, fire prevention, escape hatches, flight management procedures, flight control communications, emergency landing procedures, and other limitations, as well as testing of all the systems of the aircraft. It also determines special aspects of aircraft performance such as stall speed (for single engine airplanes - not more than 61 knots), rate of climb (not less than 300 ft/min), take off speed (not less than 1.2 x Vs1), weight of each pilot and passenger (170 lb for airplanes in the normal and commuter categories, and 190 lb for airplanes in the acrobatic and utility categories).

The Cessna 177
Cessna 177
The Cessna 177 Cardinal is a light, high-wing general aviation aircraft that was intended to replace Cessna's 172 Skyhawk. First announced in 1967, it was produced from 1968 to 1978.-Development:...

, Cirrus SR20
Cirrus SR20
The Cirrus Design SR20 is a piston engine composite monoplane that seats four. The SR20 is noted for being the first production general aviation aircraft equipped with a parachute designed to lower the aircraft safely to the ground after loss of control or structural failure.-Design and...

 and Piper PA-34 Seneca
Piper PA-34 Seneca
The Piper PA-34 Seneca is an American twin-engined light aircraft, produced by Piper Aircraft since 1971 and still in production in 2011.The Seneca is primarily used for personal and business flying.-Development:...

 are well-known airplanes types that were certificated to FAR Part 23.

Most of the Federal Aviation Regulations, including Part 23, commenced on February 1, 1965. Prior to that date, airworthiness standards for airplanes in the normal, utility and acrobatic categories were promulgated in Part 3 of the US Civil Air Regulations. Many well-known types of light airplane are type certificated to CAR Part 3, even though they remained in production after 1965. For example, the Cessna 150
Cessna 150
The Cessna 150 is a two-seat tricycle gear general aviation airplane, that was designed for flight training, touring and personal use.The Cessna 150 is the seventh most produced civilian plane ever, with 23,839 aircraft produced...

 and Piper Cherokee
Piper Cherokee
The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of light aircraft designed for flight training, air taxi, and personal use. It is built by Piper Aircraft....

 are type certificated to CAR Part 3.

Part 25

This Part contains airworthiness standards for airplanes in the transport category
Transport category
Transport category is a category of airworthiness applicable to large civil airplanes and large civil helicopters. Any aircraft's airworthiness category is shown on its airworthiness certificate...


Transport category airplanes are either:
  • Jets with 10 or more seats or a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12500 pounds (5,670 kg); or
  • Propeller-driven airplanes with greater than 19 seats or a MTOW greater than 19000 pounds (8,618 kg).

The Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 and later types, and Airbus A300
Airbus A300
The Airbus A300 is a short- to medium-range widebody jet airliner. Launched in 1972 as the world's first twin-engined widebody, it was the first product of Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace companies, wholly owned today by EADS...

 series, are well-known airplane types that were certificated to FAR Part 25.

Most of the Federal Aviation Regulations, including Part 25, commenced on February 1, 1965. Prior to that date, airworthiness standards for airplanes in the transport category
Transport category
Transport category is a category of airworthiness applicable to large civil airplanes and large civil helicopters. Any aircraft's airworthiness category is shown on its airworthiness certificate...

 were promulgated in Part 4b of the US Civil Air Regulations. The Boeing 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

 and 727
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

 are two well-known airplane types that were certificated to CAR Part 4b.

Part 27

This Part contains airworthiness standards for rotorcraft in the normal category. Rotorcraft up to 7,000 lb Maximum Takeoff Weight and 9 or fewer passengers are type certified in this Part.

Examples of rotorcraft certified in this Part are the Schweizer 300 and the Bell 429
Bell 429
The Bell 429 is a light, twin-engine helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries, based on the Bell 427. First flight of the Bell 429 prototype took place on February 27, 2007, and received type certification on July 1, 2009. The Bell 429 is capable of single-pilot IFR...


Part 29

This Part contains airworthiness standards for rotorcraft in the transport category
Transport category
Transport category is a category of airworthiness applicable to large civil airplanes and large civil helicopters. Any aircraft's airworthiness category is shown on its airworthiness certificate...

. Rotorcraft with more than 20,000 lb Maximum Takeoff Weight and 10 or more passengers must be certified to Category A standards.

An example of rotorcraft certified in this Part is the Sikorsky S-92
Sikorsky S-92
The Sikorsky S-92 is a four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the civil and military helicopter market. The S-92 was developed from the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter and has similar parts such as flight control and rotor systems.The H-92 Superhawk is a military...


Section 91.3(b)

This regulation states that the pilot-in-command is the party directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, an aircraft being operated.

Additionally, this regulation states that in an emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot-in-command may deviate from any regulation contained within Part 91 to the extent required to handle the emergency.

Temporary Flight Restrictions

The pertinent sections of the FAR (14 CFR Sections 91.137, 91.138, 91.139, 91.141, 91.143, 91.145, 99.7) describe Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR). A TFR is a geographically-limited, short-term, airspace restriction, typically in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Temporary flight restrictions often encompass major sporting events, natural disaster areas, air shows, space launches, and Presidential
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 movements. Before the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, most TFRs were in the interest of safety to flying aircraft with occasional small restrictions for Presidential movements. Since 9/11, TFRs have been routinely used to restrict airspace for 30 nautical miles around the President, with a 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) radius no-fly zone
No-fly zone
A no-fly zone is a territory or an area over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in a military context, somewhat like a demilitarized zone in the sky, and usually prohibit military aircraft of a belligerent nation from operating in the region.-Iraq,...

 for non-scheduled flights. They are also available to other important people such as presidential and vice-presidential candidates (though Senator John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, a pilot, declined TFRs during the 2004 election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...


TFRs are deeply unpopular with pilots in the general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

 sector. Large Presidential TFRs frequently close off not only the airport Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

 is using but nearby airports as well. Others, including the Transportation Security Administration
Transportation Security Administration
The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the safety and security of the traveling public in the United States....

, argue that they are necessary for national security.

The responsibility for screening requests for TFR and for subsequent granting or denying them, lies with the FAA's Office of System Operations Security, which effectively serve as advocates for pilots' free access to the skies and strive to protect that access for all airspace users, including General Aviation.

Two-way radio communications failure

Section 91.185 of the Federal Aviation Restrictions deals with loss of radio communications whilst in flight
Flight is the process by which an object moves either through an atmosphere or beyond it by generating lift or propulsive thrust, or aerostatically using buoyancy, or by simple ballistic movement....

If a loss of radio communications were to be encountered during VFR
Visual flight rules
Visual flight rules are a set of regulations which allow a pilot to operate an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going. Specifically, the weather must be better than basic VFR weather minimums, as specified in the rules of the...

 conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after loss of the loss of communication with the ground and other aircraft, the pilot of the aircraft shall continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable.
If, however, the failure occurs in IFR
Instrument flight rules
Instrument flight rules are one of two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation aircraft operations; the other are visual flight rules ....

 conditions and/or the VFR conditions are not forthcoming, the pilot should continue under the following conditions:
  • Route - The pilot will follow
  • The route assigned in the last contact with ATC
    Air traffic control
    Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

     before loss of communication, or, if being radar
    Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

     vectored, continue direct to the radar fix specified in the vector clearance;
  • In the absence of an assigned route, the pilot will follow the route advised by ATC;
  • In the absence of an ATC assigned or advised route, the pilot will follow the route set down in the flight plan.

  • Altitude - The pilot will continue at the highest of the following altitudes or flight levels:
  • The altitude assigned in the last contact with ATC before loss of communication;
  • The minimum altitude for IFR operations;
  • The altitude advised by ATC to be expected in a further clearance.

Private, commuter, and commercial

For pilots, there is an important distinction in the parts that address classes of flight. These parts do not distinguish type of aircraft, but rather type of activity done with the aircraft. Regulations for commuter and commercial aviation are far more intensive than those for general aviation, and specific training is required; flight schools will often designate themselves as "Part 61" or "Part 141," for example.

Part 61 is certification for private pilots, flight instructors and ground instructors.

Part 91 is general operating rules for all aircraft. Part 91, Subpart (K), prescribes operating rules for fractional ownership programs.

Part 121 is scheduled air carrier (commercial aviation).

Part 133 is external load (helicopter) operations.

Part 135 is a set of rules with more stringent standards for commuter and on demand operations.

Part 141 is a more intensive set of standards for pilot training, based on FAA syllabus and other standards.

Part 145 contains the rules a certificated repair station must follow as well as any person who holds, or is required to hold, a repair station certificate issued under this part.

See also

  • Airspace
    Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere....

  • Day-Night Average Sound Level
    Day-Night Average Sound Level
    The Day-Night Average Sound Level is the average noise level over a 24 hour period. The noise between the hours of 10pm and 7am is artificially increased by 10 dB...

  • National Security Area
    National Security Area
    In United States aviation, a National Security Area is a designated airspace through which flight is discouraged for reasons of national security....

  • Night Aviation Regulations
    Night Aviation Regulations
    -Night Aviation Regulations:There are at least three definitions of night time as it pertains to the Federal Aviation Regulations in the United States....

  • Prohibited airspace
    Prohibited airspace
    Prohibited airspace refers to an area of airspace within which flight of aircraft is not allowed, usually due to security concerns. It is one of many types of special use airspace designations and is depicted on aeronautical charts with the letter "P" followed by a serial number...

  • Restricted airspace
    Restricted airspace
    Restricted airspace is an area of airspace in which the local controlling authorities have determined that air traffic must be restricted for safety or security concerns...

  • Safety pilot
    Safety pilot
    A safety pilot is a certified pilot who scans for other aircraft while another pilot practices instrument approaches or other maneuvers under simulated low visibility conditions while the practicing pilot wears a view limiting device that prevents the pilot from seeing outside the cockpit window...

  • Special Flight Rules Area
    Special Flight Rules Area
    In United States aviation, a Special Flight Rules Area is a region in which the normal regulations of flight do not apply in whole or in part, especially regulations concerning airspace classification, altitude, course, and speed restrictions, and the like.Examples of SFRAs include those...

  • Special use airspace
    Special use airspace
    Special use airspace , is an area designated for operations of a nature such that limitations may be imposed on aircraft not participating in those operations. Often these operations are of a military nature...

  • Transport Category
    Transport category
    Transport category is a category of airworthiness applicable to large civil airplanes and large civil helicopters. Any aircraft's airworthiness category is shown on its airworthiness certificate...

External links

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