Aircraft Equipment Requirements


In order to ensure safe flight operations, the FAA have defined minimum requirements of instruments and equipment to be on board and operative for any flight to be legal. These requirements vary depending upon the type of operation being conducted. Furthermore, each set of required equipment by operation can be divided into three groups of instruments and equipment. The primary reference for these requirements is found in 14 CFR 91.205.


Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Day

The requirements for flying visual flight rules (VFR) during the day are:

Category Instrument / Equipment Notes Reference
Engine Instruments Tachometer Required for each engine 14 CFR 91.205(b)(4)
Oil Pressure Gauge Required if using a pressure system 14 CFR 91.205(b)(5)
Oil Temperature Gauge Required for air-cooled engines 14 CFR 91.205(b)(7)
Manifold Pressure Gauge Required for each altitude engine 14 CFR 91.205(b)(8)
Temperature Gauge Required for liquid-cooled engines
14 CFR 91.205(b)(6)
Flight Instruments Airspeed Indicator 14 CFR 91.205(b)(1)
Altimeter 14 CFR 91.205(b)(2)
Magnetic Direction Indicator 14 CFR 91.205(b)(3)
Safety Equipment Anti-Collision Light Required if aircraft was certificated after March 11, 1996 14 CFR 91.205(b)(11)
Fuel Quantity Gauges Required for each fuel tank 14 CFR 91.205(b)(9)
Landing Gear Position Indicator Required for aircraft with retractable gear 14 CFR 91.205(b)(10)
Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Required unless exempted by 14 CFR 91.207 14 CFR 91.205(b)(15)
14 CFR 91.207(a)
Safety Belts Required for each occupant more than 2 years old
Shoulder harnesses required for each front seat
14 CFR 91.205(b)(13)
14 CFR 91.205(b)(14)

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Night

The requirements for flying visual flight rules (VFR) at night are:

 Category Equipment Notes Reference
Regulatory VFR-Day Required Equipment 91.205(c)(1)
 Safety   Position Lights Also known as "nav" lights 91.205(c)(2)
Anti-Collision Lights 91.205(c)(3)
Landing Lights If operated for hire 91.205(c)(4)
 Electrical Source of Energy Enough for all installed electrical and radio equipment 91.205(c)(5)
Fuses One complete set, or three of each kind, accessible to the pilot 91.205(c)(6)

Memory Aids

The following are the most widely-used acronyms for remembering the equipment requirements listed in 91.205.

Day VFR Requirements

A - Anti-Collision Lights
T - Tachometer
O - Oil Pressure Gauge
M - Manifold Pressure Gauge
A - Altimeter
T - Temperature Gauge
O - Oil Temperature Gauge
F - Fuel Gauges
L - Landing Gear Position Indicator
A - Airspeed Indicator
M - Magnetic Direction Indicator
E - Emergency Locator Transmitter
S - Seatbelts

Night VFR Requirements

F - Fuses
L - Landing Light
A - Anti-Collision Light
P - Position Lights
S - Source of Electricity


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