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General aviation (GA) is defined by the
International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized and funding agency of the United Nations. It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of internationa ...
(ICAO) as all
civil aviation Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military and non-state aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object (physics), object mot ...
aircraft operations with the exception of commercial air transport or aerial work, which is defined as specialized aviation services for other purposes. However for statistical purposes ICAO uses a definition of general aviation which includes aerial work. General aviation thus represents the "
private transport File:Cycle bridge over the M11 - geograph.org.uk - 705991.jpg, A park and ride incentive sign in the United Kingdom, for people heading into a city centre to transition between private and public transport Private transport (as opposed to publi ...
" and recreational components of aviation.


Definition

The
International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized and funding agency of the United Nations. It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of internationa ...
(ICAO) defines civil aviation aircraft operations in three categories: General Aviation (GA), Aerial Work (AW) and Commercial Air Transport (CAT). Aerial work operations are separated from general aviation by ICAO by this definition. Aerial work is when an aircraft is used for specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, search and rescue, and aerial advertisement. However for statistical purposes ICAO includes aerial work within general aviation, and has proposed officially extending the definition of general aviation to include aerial work, to reflect common usage. The proposed ICAO classification includes as part of general aviation (non-aerial-work). The
International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Albums * ''International'' (Kevin Michael album), 2011 * ''International'' (New Order album), 2002 * ''International'' (The Th ...
(IAOPA) refers to the category as General Aviation/Aerial Work (GA/AW) to avoid ambiguity. Their definition of General Aviation includes: *Corporate Aviation: Company own-use flight operations *Fractional Ownership Operations: aircraft operated by a specialized company on behalf of two or more co-owners *Business Aviation (or Travel): self-flown for business purposes *Personal/Private Travel: travel for personal reasons/personal transport *Air Tourism: self-flown incoming/outgoing tourism *Recreational Flying: powered/powerless leisure flying activities *Air Sports: Aerobatics, Air Races, Competitions, Rallies etc. General aviation thus includes both
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...
and
non-commercial A non-commercial (also spelled noncommercial) activity is an activity that does not, in some sense, involve commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' ...
activites. IAOPA's definition of Aerial Work includes but is not limited to: *Agricultural Flights, including
crop dusting Aerial application, or what is informally referred to as crop dusting, involves spraying crops with crop protection products from an agricultural aircraft. Planting certain types of seed are also included in aerial application. The specific spr ...
*Banner Towing *Fire Fighting *Medical Evacuations *Pilot Training *Search and Rescue *Sight Seeing Flights *Skydiver Hoisting *Transplant Organ Transports Commercial Air Transport includes: *Scheduled Air Services *Non-Scheduled Air Transport *Air Cargo Services *Air Taxi Operations However in some countries Air Taxi is regarded as being part of GA/AW. Private flights are made in a wide variety of aircraft:
light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 ...

light
and ultra-light aircraft, ,
homebuilt aircraft Homebuilt aircraft, also known as amateur-built aircraft or kit planes, are constructed by persons for whom this is not a professional activity. These aircraft may be constructed from "scratch", from plans, or from assembly kits.Armstrong, Kenn ...
,
business aircraft Business aircraft are those used by companies and corporations to enable the movement of people or goods related to the needs of the business. Most business aircraft are general aviation General aviation (GA) represents all civil aviation " ...
(like private jets),
gliders Glider may refer to: Aircraft and transport Aircraft * Glider (aircraft), heavier-than-air aircraft primarily intended for unpowered flight ** Glider (sailplane), a rigid-winged glider aircraft with an undercarriage, used in the sport of gliding * ...
and
helicopters A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally-spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attributes ...

helicopters
. Flights can be carried out under both visual flight (VFR) and instrument flight (IFR) rules, and can use controlled airspace with permission. The majority of the world's air traffic falls into the category of general aviation, and most of the world's airports serve GA exclusively.
Flying club A flying club or aero club is a non-profit organization, not-for-profit, member-run organization that provides its members with affordable access to aircraft. Many clubs also provide flight training, flight planning facilities, pilot supplies and ...
s are considered a part of general aviation.


Geography


Europe

In 2003 the
European Aviation Safety Agency The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) with responsibility for civil aviation safety. It carries out certification Certification is the formal attestation or confirmation of certain chara ...
(EASA) was established as the central EU regulator, taking over responsibility for legislating airworthiness and environmental regulation from the national authorities.


United Kingdom

Of the 21,000 civil aircraft registered in the UK, 96 percent are engaged in GA operations, and annually the GA fleet accounts for between 1.25 and 1.35 million hours flown. There are 28,000
Private Pilot Licence A private pilot licence (PPL) or, in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists ...
holders, and 10,000 . Some of the 19,000 pilots who hold professional licences are also engaged in GA activities. GA operates from more than 1,800 airports and landing sites or
aerodrome An aerodrome (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become th ...

aerodrome
s, ranging in size from large
regional airport A domestic airport is an airport that handles only domestic flights—flights within the same country. Domestic airports do not have customs and immigration facilities and so cannot handle flights to or from a foreign airport. These airports oft ...
s to farm strips. GA is regulated by the
Civil Aviation Authority A national aviation authority (NAA) or civil aviation authority (CAA) is a government statutory authority in each country that maintains an Aircraft registration, aircraft register and oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Role Du ...
(CAA). The main focus is on standards of
airworthiness Airworthiness is the measure of an aircraft's suitability for Air safety, safe flight. Certification of airworthiness is conferred by a certificate of airworthiness from the state of aircraft registry national aviation authority, and is maintained b ...
and pilot licensing, and the objective is to promote high standards of safety.


North America

General aviation is particularly popular in North America, with over 6,300 airports available for public use by pilots of general aviation aircraft (around 5,200 airports in the
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...

U.S.
and over 1,000 in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
Nav Canada Nav Canada (styled as NAV CANADA) is a privately run, not-for-profit corporation A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and op ...
: ''Canada Flight Supplement - Canada and North Atlantic Terminal and Enroute Data'' Nav Canada, 2010.
). In comparison, scheduled flights operate from around 560 airports in the U.S. According to the U.S.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a Frederick, Maryland-based United States, American non-profit organization, non-profit political organization that advocates for general aviation. The organization started at Wings Field in ...
(AOPA), general aviation provides more than one percent of the United States'
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is any ...
, accounting for 1.3 million jobs in professional services and
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
.


Regulation

Most countries have a
national aviation authority A national aviation authority (NAA) or civil aviation authority (CAA) is a government statutory authority in each country that maintains an aircraft register and oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Role Due to the inherent da ...
that oversees all
civil aviation Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military and non-state aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object (physics), object mot ...
, including general aviation, adhering to the standardized codes of the
International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized and funding agency of the United Nations. It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of internationa ...
(ICAO). Examples include the
Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country as well as over surrounding international waters. Its powers include air traffic m ...
(FAA) in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
, the
Civil Aviation Authority A national aviation authority (NAA) or civil aviation authority (CAA) is a government statutory authority in each country that maintains an Aircraft registration, aircraft register and oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Role Du ...
(CAA) in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is the civil aviation agency of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordere ...
( CAAZ) in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
, the
Luftfahrt-Bundesamt The ''Luftfahrt-Bundesamt'' (LBA, "Federal Aviation Office") is the national civil aviation authority of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , ...
(LBA) in
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
, the Bundesamt für Zivilluftfahrt in
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
,
Transport Canada Transport Canada (french: Transports Canada) is the department within the Government of Canada responsible for developing regulations, policies and services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activitie ...
in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
, the
Civil Aviation Safety Authority The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is the Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the isla ...
(CASA) in Australia, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
and
Iran Civil Aviation Organization The Civil Aviation Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran (CAO.IRI), ( fa, سازمان هواپیمایی کشوری جمهوری اسلامی ایرانIran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
.


Safety

Aviation accident rate statistics are necessarily estimates. According to the U.S.
National Transportation Safety Board The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, moveme ...
, general aviation in the United States (excluding charter) suffered 1.31 fatal accidents for every 100,000 hours of flying in 2005, compared to 0.016 for scheduled airline flights. In Canada, recreational flying accounted for 0.7 fatal accidents for every 1000 aircraft, while air taxi accounted for 1.1 fatal accidents for every 100,000 hours. More experienced GA pilots appear generally safer, although the relations between flight hours, accident frequency, and accident rates are complex and often difficult to assess.Knecht, WR (2015)
DOT/FAA/AM-15/3 "Predicting accident rates from general aviation pilot total flight hours"
(Technical Report). Washington, D.C.: Federal Aviation Administration.
A small number of commercial aviation accidents in the United States have involved collisions with general aviation flights, notably TWA Flight 553,
Piedmont Airlines Flight 22 The 1967 Hendersonville mid-air collision occurred when a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 727-22 and a twin-engine Cessna 310 The Cessna 310 is an American four-to-six-seat, low-wing, twin-engine monoplane produced by Cessna between 1954 and 1980 ...
, Allegheny Airlines Flight 853,
PSA Flight 182 Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight 182 was a Boeing 727, Boeing 727-214 commercial airliner, Aircraft registration, registration N533PS, that collided with a private Cessna 172 light aircraft, registration N7711G, over San Diego, California, ...
and Aeromexico Flight 498.


See also

*
Commercial aviation Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation that involves operating aircraft for remuneration or hire, as opposed to private aviation. Definition Commercial aviation is not a rigorously defined category. All Commercial Air Transport and Ae ...
*
Private aviation Private aviation is the part of civil aviation that does not include flying for hire, as opposed to commercial aviation. Definition Private aviation and commercial aviation are not rigorously defined. In general, private aviation is regarded a ...
*
Environmental impact of aviation Like other emissions resulting from fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally an ...
* General Aviation Revitalization Act *
List of current production certified light aircraft List of current production certified light aircraft for general aviation References

{{reflist Aircraft by type General aviation Lists of aircraft by design configuration ...
*
OpenAirplane OpenAirplane was a private for-profit company founded in 2012 by Rod Rakic. It intended to "make renting a (general aviation) plane as easy as renting a car." The company ceased operations on 23 December 2019. History OpenAirplane was founded in ...
;Associations *
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a Frederick, Maryland-based United States, American non-profit organization, non-profit political organization that advocates for general aviation. The organization started at Wings Field in ...
*
Canadian Owners and Pilots Association The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) (French: ''Association canadienne des pilotes et propriétaires d'aéronefs'') is a federally registered not-for-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not- ...
*
Experimental Aircraft Association The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 200,000 members and nearly 1,000 chap ...
*
General Aviation Manufacturers AssociationThe General Aviation Manufacturer's Association (GAMA) is an aviation industry trade association. It is the industry trade association representing general aviation General aviation (GA) represents all civil aviation "aircraft operation other than ...
*
National Business Aviation Association The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is a non-profit, 501(c)(6) organization based in Washington, DC, United States. NBAA’s mission, according to the non-profit data and transparency organization GuideStar Candid is an informat ...


References


External links


International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations

European General Aviation Safety Team (EGAST)
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