General aviation (GA) is all civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to corporate business jet flights. The majority of the world's air traffic falls into this category, and most of the world's airports serve general aviation exclusively.
General aviation covers a large range of activities, both commercial and non-commercial, including flying clubs, flight training, agricultural aviation, light aircraft manufacturing and maintenance.
General aviation in 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., and over 1,000 in Canada). In comparison, scheduled flights operate from around 560 airports in the U.S. According to the U.S. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, general aviation provides more than one percent of the United States' GDP, accounting for 1.3 million jobs in professional services and manufacturing.
Regulation and safety
Most countries have authorities that oversee all civil aviation, including general aviation, adhering to the standardized codes of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Examples include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) in Germany, and Transport Canada in Canada.
Aviation accident rate statistics are necessarily estimates. According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, in 2005 general aviation in the United States (excluding charter) suffered 1.31 fatal accidents for every 100,000 hours of flying in that country, 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.
- General aviation in the United Kingdom
- General aviation in Europe
- Light aircraft
- Aviation and the environment
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
- Canadian Owners and Pilots Association
- Experimental Aircraft Association
- National Business Aviation Association
- Transport Canada (14 March 2012). "Glossary". Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- AOPA, What is GA?, Retrieved 17 November 2012
- Crane, Dale: Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms, third edition, page 238-239. Aviation Supplies & Academics, 1997. ISBN 1-56027-287-2
- Nav Canada: Canada Flight Supplement - Canada and North Atlantic Terminal and Enroute Data Nav Canada, 2010.
- FAA Administrator's Fact Book (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. March 2010. p. 16.
- AOPA USA's General Aviation website.
- "NTSB accident rates by flying category". Ntsb.gov. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Safety Indicators and Targets". Tc.gc.ca. 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Knecht, WR (2012). Predicting general aviation accident frequency from pilot total flight hours (Technical Report DOT/FAA/AM-12/15). Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration.
- Knecht, WR (2015). The "killing zone" revisited: Serial nonlinearities predict general aviation accident rates from pilot total flight hours. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 60, 50-56.
- Knecht, WR (2015). Predicting accident rates from general aviation pilot total flight hours (Technical Report DOT/FAA/AM-15/3). Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration.
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