airplane airworthiness certificate

You Need to Have Your Airplane Airworthiness Certificate in Order to Fly

There are a few documents that will be necessary for you to fly your aircraft at all, which include your registration and the aircraft’s airplane airworthiness certificate. While most people seem to have a grasp on the former one, the latter one tends to give them some trouble. Allow us to explain.

What is an Airplane Airworthiness Certificate?

This Federal Aviation Administration document that grants authorization to operate an aircraft in flight? What does that mean? Well, it means that in order for an aircraft to be allowed to fly at all, it needs to be certified as able and safe to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration. This ensures that only those airplanes that don’t represent a danger to their crew or passengers can operate. Think of it as a sort of quality control on the part of the FAA. To obtain the airplane airworthiness certificate, a registered owner (or someone officially acting on their behalf) has to apply for it. You can conveniently do so here on our platform.

Standard or Special Certificate?

There are two kinds of airplane airworthiness certificates: standard and special. What’s the difference? A standard airworthiness certificate is the Federal Aviation Administration’s official authorization that allows for the operation of aircraft in these categories:

  • Normal
  • Utility
  • Acrobatic
  • Commuter
  • Transport
  • Manned free balloons
  • Special classes

Meanwhile, the special one will apply for aircraft in one or more of the following categories:

  • Primary (recreation and pleasure)
  • Restricted (Agricultural, Forest and wildlife conservation, Aerial surveying, Patrolling pipelines and power lines, Weather control, Aerial advertising, Other operations specified by the Administrator)
  • Multiple certificates
  • Limited
  • Light sport
  • Experimental (Research and development, showing compliance with regulations, Crew training, Exhibition, Air racing, Market surveys, Operating amateur-built aircraft, Operating kit-built aircraft, Operating light-sport aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems)
  • Special flight permits
  • Provisional

Understand the Certification Process

There are four stages that make part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification process, each meant to address a specific component of the aircraft’s performance. This is what the process consists of:

  • The FAA will review any proposed designs, as well methods that will be used to show that these designs, and the overall aircraft, companies with their standards.
  • They will conduct ground and flight tests to demonstrate the airplane does meet the standards set by the FAA.
  • The FAA will evaluate the airplane to determine what the required maintenance and operational suitability would be for its introduction into actual operations and service.
  • They will work with other authorities in civil aviation for their approval of the aircraft based on the work that has already been compiled by the FAA.

National Aviation Center

Aircraft documentation doesn’t have to be a complicated search through different categories in order to find the right certificate you need to get. We at the National Aviation Center want to make sure that this is an easy process for you, which is why all relevant forms are readily available for you on our sidebar. And, should you need some additional help with any of them, don’t worry. Use our website chat, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at 1-800-357-0893 and we’ll answer your questions in no time.