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Dreams of Flight: General Aviation in the United States (Centennial of Flight Series) Hardcover – April 24, 2003
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In discussing aviation, it is important to understand what is meant by the term "general aviation." Prior to the 1950s what was known as "private or personal aviation" distinguished this category from the airlines or the military. Author Janet Bednarek's explanation, given in the alternative, is quite descriptive: "General aviation is not the scheduled commercial airlines and it is not military aviation. Pretty much all other aviation activities...fall under this broad heading." (xi)
Bednarek's definition needs to be clarified in one respect. Just as a passenger will buy a ticket on an airline, he may charter an airplane not operated as a scheduled air carrier. The mode of transportation is the same but the rules under which airlines and charters operate differ. Scheduled airlines are common carriers and more stringently regulated, whereas charters are operated "on demand" and governed separately.
Personal flying is the least regulated of all passenger air travel. One pays his own way and a friend can fly along too, but not for pay. Acting as the pilot, one must hold at least a private pilot license, possess a valid medical certificate, remain current for landings and instrument flight, and have successfully completed a biannual flight review (BFR). Clearly a higher level of fitness must be demonstrated to fly; a much higher level of competence, it should be noted, than that required to drive an automobile.
The different requirements for airline, on-demand, and personal flying are delineated within particular parts of the Federal Aviation Regulations (the FARs can be accessed online at [...Read more ›