The Federal Aviation Regulations
, or FAR
s, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) governing all aviation
activities in the United States
. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR). A wide variety of activities are regulated, such as airplane design, typical airline flights, pilot training activities, hot-air ballooning
, lighter than air
craft, man-made structure heights, obstruction lighting and marking
, and even model rocket
launches and model aircraft
operation. The rules are designed to promote safe aviation
, protecting pilots, passengers and the general public from unnecessary risk. They are also intended to protect the national security
of the United States, especially in light of the September 11, 2001 attacks
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
- Part 136 – Commercial Air Tours and National Parks Air Tour Management
- Part 137 – Agricultural Aircraft Operations
- 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 comprised of 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 contains airworthiness standards for airplanes in the normal, utility, acrobatic, 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 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 fpm), 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 and Cirrus SR20 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 and Piper Cherokee are type certificated to CAR Part 3.
This Part contains airworthiness standards for airplanes in the transport category. The majority of airplanes up to 12,500 lb Maximum Takeoff Weight are type certificated in the normal, utility or acrobatic categories so most airplanes certificated to Part 25 have Maximum Takeoff Weights greater than 12,500 lb, although there is no lower weight limit.
The Boeing 737 and later types, and Airbus A300 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 were promulgated in Part 4b of the US Civil Air Regulations. The Boeing 707 and 727 are two well-known airplane types that were certificated to CAR Part 4b.
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.
This Part contains airworthiness standards for rotorcraft in the transport category
. 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.
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 to the extent required to handle the emergency.
This section describes a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR). A TFR is a geographically-limited, short-term, airspace restriction, typically in the United States. Temporary flight restrictions often encompass major sporting events, natural disaster areas, air shows, space launches, and Presidential movements. Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, 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 radius no-fly zone for non-scheduled flights. They are also available to other important people such as presidential and vice-presidential candidates (though Senator John Kerry, a pilot, declined TFRs during the 2004 election). TFRs are deeply unpopular with pilots in the general aviation sector. Large Presidential TFRs frequently close off not only the airport Air Force One is using but nearby airports as well. Others, including the Transportation Security Administration, argue that they are necessary for national security.
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 141 is a more intensive set of standards for pilot training, based on FAA syllabus and other standards.
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 121 is scheduled air carrier (commercial aviation).