Welcome to the definitions section of the Federal Aviation Regulations. This is one of the longer sections, thus will be broken into three parts. This is A-F.
Acronyms and Rules of construction.
My explications are in small print after the definitions to which they apply.
A-F of Subchapter A, Part 1, of the FARs
As used in Subchapters A through K of this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:
Administrator means the Federal Aviation Administrator or any person to whom he has delegated his authority in the matter concerned.
Aerodynamic coefficients means non-dimensional coefficients for aerodynamic forces and moments.
Air carrier means a person who undertakes directly by lease, or other arrangement, to engage in air transportation.Anyone who carries stuff for money.
Air commerce means interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce or the transportation of mail by aircraft or any operation or navigation of aircraft within the limits of any Federal airway or any operation or navigation of aircraft which directly affects, or which may endanger safety in, interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce. same as above, but refers to the act of carrying goods/people.
Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air. Dare I explain?
Aircraft engine means an engine that is used or intended to be used for propelling aircraft. It includes turbo/superchargers, appurtenances, and accessories necessary for its functioning, but does not include propellers. Propellers are governed by their own section. An exception to this definition are self-launch gliders; the engine is used only for takeoff.
Airframe means the fuselage, booms, nacelles, cowlings, fairings, airfoil surfaces (including rotors but excluding propellers and rotating airfoils of engines), and landing gear of an aircraft and their accessories and controls. Anything that holds the airplane together is the airframe. Propellers don't hold the plane together.
Airplane means an engine-driven fixed-wing aircraft heavier than air, that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its wings. duh
Airport means an area of land or water that is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and includes its buildings and facilities, if any.
Airship means an engine-driven lighter-than-air aircraft that can be steered. Different from ballons, which cannot be steered.
Air traffic means aircraft operating in the air or on an airport surface, exclusive of loading ramps and parking areas. by airport surface, they mean runways and taxi-ways.
Air traffic clearance means an authorization by air traffic control, for the purpose of preventing collision between known aircraft, for an aircraft to proceed under specified traffic conditions within controlled airspace.
Air traffic control means a service operated by appropriate authority to promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. For now, this system is entirely government controlled.
Air Traffic Service (ATS) route is a specified route designated for channeling the flow of traffic as necessary for the provision of air traffic services. The term "ATS route" refers to a variety of airways, including jet routes, area navigation (RNAV) routes, and arrival and departure routes. An ATS route is defined by route specifications, which may include:
(1) An ATS route designator;
(2) The path to or from significant points; Landmarks or radio beacons
(3) Distance between significant points; compass and watch navigation
(4) Reporting requirements; and
(5) The lowest safe altitude determined by the appropriate authority. Mountains
Air transportation means interstate, overseas, or foreign air transportation or the transportation of mail by aircraft.
Alert Area. An alert area is established to inform pilots of a specific area wherein a high volume of pilot training or an unusual type of aeronautical activity is conducted. Alert areas include military areas, gliderports, ballooning places, etc.
Alternate airport means an airport at which an aircraft may land if a landing at the intended airport becomes inadvisable. Oops, I ran out of fuel.
Altitude engine means a reciprocating aircraft engine having a rated takeoff power that is producible from sea level to an established higher altitude. reciprocating means piston. This means that the engine shows no notable decrease in power up to a certain altitude.
Appliance means any instrument, mechanism, equipment, part, apparatus, appurtenance, or accessory, including communications equipment, that is used or intended to be used in operating or controlling an aircraft in flight, is installed in or attached to the aircraft, and is not part of an airframe, engine, or propeller.
Approved unless used with reference to another person, means approved by the Administrator.
Area navigation (RNAV) is a method of navigation that permits aircraft operations on any desired flight path.
Area navigation (RNAV) route is an ATS route based on RNAV that can be used by suitably equipped aircraft.
Armed Forces means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, including their regular and reserve components and members serving without component status.
Autorotation means a rotorcraft flight condition in which the lifting rotor is driven entirely by action of the air when the rotorcraft is in motion. Autorotation is when a helocopter rotor moves because the craft is falling through the air. This usually happens when the engine dies.
Auxiliary rotor means a rotor that serves either to counteract the effect of the main rotor torque on a rotorcraft or to maneuver the rotorcraft about one or more of its three principal axes. The tail rotor.
Balloon means a lighter-than-air aircraft that is not engine driven, and that sustains flight through the use of either gas buoyancy or an airborne heater.
Brake horsepower means the power delivered at the propeller shaft (main drive or main output) of an aircraft engine.
Calibrated airspeed means the indicated airspeed of an aircraft, corrected for position and instrument error. Calibrated airspeed is equal to true airspeed in standard atmosphere at sea level.
Canard means the forward wing of a canard configuration and may be a fixed, movable, or variable geometry surface, with or without control surfaces. See Burt Rutan
Canard configuration means a configuration in which the span of the forward wing is substantially less than that of the main wing.
(1) As used with respect to the certification, ratings, privileges, and limitations of airmen, means a broad classification of aircraft. Examples include: airplane; rotorcraft; glider; and lighter-than-air; and
(2) As used with respect to the certification of aircraft, means a grouping of aircraft based upon intended use or operating limitations. Examples include: transport, normal, utility, acrobatic, limited, restricted, and provisional.
Category A, with respect to transport category rotorcraft, means multiengine rotorcraft designed with engine and system isolation features specified in Part 29 and utilizing scheduled takeoff and landing operations under a critical engine failure concept which assures adequate designated surface area and adequate performance capability for continued safe flight in the event of engine failure.
Category B, with respect to transport category rotorcraft, means single-engine or multiengine rotorcraft which do not fully meet all Category A standards. Category B rotorcraft have no guaranteed stay-up ability in the event of engine failure and unscheduled landing is assumed.
Category II operations, with respect to the operation of aircraft, means a straight-in ILS Instrument Landing System approach to the runway of an airport under a Category II ILS instrument approach procedure issued by the Administrator or other appropriate authority. A category II operation is any commercial airport or an airport with equipment to land planes during bad weather
Category III operations, with respect to the operation of aircraft, means an ILS approach to, and landing on, the runway of an airport using a Category III ILS instrument approach procedure issued by the Administrator or other appropriate authority.
Category IIIa operations, an ILS approach and landing with no decision height (DH), or a DH below 100 feet (30 meters), and controlling runway visual range not less than 700 feet (200 meters).
Category IIIb operations, an ILS approach and landing with no DH, or with a DH below 50 feet (15 meters), and controlling runway visual range less than 700 feet (200 meters), but not less than 150 feet (50 meters).
Category IIIc operations, an ILS approach and landing with no DH and no runway visual range limitation.
The category III definitions are safety ranges for airports without the ILS system
Ceiling means the height above the earth's surface of the lowest layer of clouds or obscuring phenomena that is reported as "broken", "overcast", or "obscuration", and not classified as "thin" or "partial". This defins how high planes operating under (VFR) Visual Flight Rules can go
Civil aircraft means aircraft other than public aircraft.
(1) As used with respect to the certification, ratings, privileges, and limitations of airmen, means a classification of aircraft within a category having similar operating characteristics. Examples include: single engine; multiengine; land; water; gyroplane; helicopter; airship; and free balloon; and
(2) As used with respect to the certification of aircraft, means a broad grouping of aircraft having similar characteristics of propulsion, flight, or landing. Examples include: airplane; rotorcraft; glider; balloon; landplane; and seaplane.
(1) For turbine engine powered airplanes certificated after August 29, 1959, an area beyond the runway, not less than 500 feet wide, centrally located about the extended centerline of the runway, and under the control of the airport authorities. The clearway is expressed in terms of a clearway plane, extending from the end of the runway with an upward slope not exceeding 1.25 percent, above which no object nor any terrain protrudes. However, threshold lights may protrude above the plane if their height above the end of the runway is 26 inches or less and if they are located to each side of the runway.
(2) For turbine engine powered airplanes certificated after September 30, 1958, but before August 30, 1959, an area beyond the takeoff runway extending no less than 300 feet on either side of the extended centerline of the runway, at an elevation no higher than the elevation of the end of the runway, clear of all fixed obstacles, and under the control of the airport authorities. This defines the safety area needed around turbine aircraft, as they generate a large amount of noise and hot air, especially at full power. The dates represent a change in FAR Part 34 of the FARs that happened in 1958, governing how turbine engines could be vented.
Climbout speed, with respect to rotorcraft, means a referenced airspeed which results in a flight path clear of the height-velocity envelope during initial climbout. Sorry, I don't fly helicoptors.
Commercial operator means a person who, for compensation or hire, engages in the carriage by aircraft in air commerce of persons or property, other than as an air carrier or foreign air carrier or under the authority of Part 375 of this title. Where it is doubtful that an operation is for "compensation or hire", the test applied is whether the carriage by air is merely incidental to the person's other business or is, in itself, a major enterprise for profit.
Controlled airspace means an airspace of defined dimensions within which air traffic control service is provided to IFR flights and to VFR flights in accordance with the airspace classification.
Note: Controlled airspace is a generic term that covers Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E airspace. To enter any of the above airspaces, you gotta ask for clearance. See part 71
Controlled Firing Area. A controlled firing area is established to contain activities, which if not conducted in a controlled environment, would be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. This refers to a military operations area specifically closed for live fire
Crewmember means a person assigned to perform duty in an aircraft during flight time.
Critical altitude means the maximum altitude at which, in standard atmosphere, it is possible to maintain, at a specified rotational speed, a specified power or a specified manifold pressure. Unless otherwise stated, the critical altitude is the maximum altitude at which it is possible to maintain, at the maximum continuous rotational speed, one of the following:
(1) The maximum continuous power, in the case of engines for which this power rating is the same at sea level and at the rated altitude.
(2) The maximum continuous rated manifold pressure, in the case of engines, the maximum continuous power of which is governed by a constant manifold pressure.
Critical engine means the engine whose failure would most adversely affect the performance or handling qualities of an aircraft. this is generally any engine on a 1 or 2 engine plane, and the outboard engines on a 4 engine plane.
Decision height, with respect to the operation of aircraft, means the height at which a decision must be made, during an ILS or PAR Precision Approach Procedure instrument approach, to either continue the approach or to execute a missed approach.
One does not decide to abandon a landing 2 feet off the ground, however, deciding to try landing again at 250 feet is ok.
Equivalent airspeed means the calibrated airspeed of an aircraft corrected for adiabatic compressible flow for the particular altitude. Equivalent airspeed is equal to calibrated airspeed in standard atmosphere at sea level.
Extended over-water operation means --
(1) With respect to aircraft other than helicopters, an operation over water at a horizontal distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline; and
(2) With respect to helicopters, an operation over water at a horizontal distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline and more than 50 nautical miles from an off-shore heliport structure.
External load means a load that is carried, or extends, outside of the aircraft fuselage. Like bombs.
External-load attaching means means the structural components used to attach an external load to an aircraft, including external-load containers, the backup structure at the attachment points, and any quick-release device used to jettison the external load. Like missle hardpoints.
Final takeoff speed means the speed of the airplane that exists at the end of the takeoff path in the en route configuration with one engine inoperative.
(1) With respect to materials and parts used to confine fire in a designated fire zone, means the capacity to withstand at least as well as steel in dimensions appropriate for the purpose for which they are used, the heat produced when there is a severe fire of extended duration in that zone; and Steel is the standard against which fireproofness is compared.
(2) With respect to other materials and parts, means the capacity to withstand the heat associated with fire at least as well as steel in dimensions appropriate for the purpose for which they are used.
Fire resistant --
(1) With respect to sheet or structural members means the capacity to withstand the heat associated with fire at least as well as aluminum alloy in dimensions appropriate for the purpose for which they are used; and Aluminium is the standard for fire-resistant.
(2) With respect to fluid-carrying lines, fluid system parts, wiring, air ducts, fittings, and powerplant controls, means the capacity to perform the intended functions under the heat and other conditions likely to occur when there is a fire at the place concerned.
Flame resistant means not susceptible to combustion to the point of propagating a flame, beyond safe limits, after the ignition source is removed.
Flammable, with respect to a fluid or gas, means susceptible to igniting readily or to exploding.
Flap extended speed means the highest speed permissible with wing flaps in a prescribed extended position.
Flash resistant means not susceptible to burning violently when ignited.
Flightcrew member means a pilot, flight engineer, or flight navigator assigned to duty in an aircraft during flight time. someone who helps keep the bird in the air
Flight level means a level of constant atmospheric pressure related to a reference datum of 29.92 inches of mercury. Each is stated in three digits that represent hundreds of feet. For example, flight level 250 represents a barometric altimeter indication of 25,000 feet; flight level 255, an indication of 25,500 feet. 29.92 is the arbitrary standard atmospheric pressure. Just chop the last two numbers off for your flight level. FL 3,000 is not 3,000 feet, it is space.
Flight plan means specified information, relating to the intended flight of an aircraft, that is filed orally or in writing with air traffic control. Tell them where you are going with a flight plan
Flight time means:
(1) Pilot time that commences when an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing; or
(2) For a glider without self-launch capability, pilot time that commences when the glider is towed for the purpose of flight and ends when the glider comes to rest after landing.
Flight time is from when the plane starts moving to when it stops.
Flight visibility means the average forward horizontal distance, from the cockpit of an aircraft in flight, at which prominent unlighted objects may be seen and identified by day and prominent lighted objects may be seen and identified by night.
Foreign air carrier means any person other than a citizen of the United States, who undertakes directly, by lease or other arrangement, to engage in air transportation.
Foreign air commerce means the carriage by aircraft of persons or property for compensation or hire, or the carriage of mail by aircraft, or the operation or navigation of aircraft in the conduct or furtherance of a business or vocation, in commerce between a place in the United States and any place outside thereof; whether such commerce moves wholly by aircraft or partly by aircraft and partly by other forms of transportation.
Foreign air transportation means the carriage by aircraft of persons or property as a common carrier for compensation or hire, or the carriage of mail by aircraft, in commerce between a place in the United States and any place outside of the United States, whether that commerce moves wholly by aircraft or partly by aircraft and partly by other forms of transportation.
Forward wing means a forward lifting surface of a canard configuration or tandem-wing configuration airplane. The surface may be a fixed, movable, or variable geometry surface, with or without control surfaces.
G-P. Q-Z and acronyms
Federal Aviation Regulations