Federal Aviation Regulations


The Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) are a collection of legally-enforceable rules that govern nearly all aspects of aviation. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the primary producer of the FARs. Once a new regulation is established, it gets codified into the larger Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Therefore, the FARs have the same authority as other parts of the CFR such as the tax code, banking regulations, and health care regulations.


The FARs are a very narrow portion of the CFR that deals exclusively with aviation. A thorough understanding of the organization of the FARs is key to quickly finding and accurately interpreting the desired regulation.

The CFR is divided into 50 Titles. Each Title is a very broad classification of all the regulations contained within. The FARs are contained within Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space. Other unrelated Titles include Title 22 - Foreign Relations, and Title 42 - Public Health.

Within each Title are various Chapters. Generally speaking, a Chapter is given to each regulatory entity governed by that Title. In the case of the FARs, Chapter 1 contains regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Chapter 3 of Title 14 contains regulations regarding NASA. Although this is good knowledge to have, the Chapter is typically assumed when looking up FARs. Each Chapter is subdivided into multiple Subchapters. When searching for a regulation, Subchapters are typically the place to begin. Each subchapter organizes the regulations into groups of similar content. For example, Subchapter D contains all rules related to Airmen. Even though searching subchapters is an efficient way of finding the desired regulation, once a regulation is found, it is not typically identified by its subchapter.

A Part is the basic way of grouping within the FARs. The reason that subchapters are not needed for the purpose of locating a regulation is that each Part contains the regulations themselves. This allows a specific regulation to be addressed by its specific Part. For new students, the Parts that contain the most pertinent information are Part 61 - Certification: Pilots, and Part 91 - General Operating and Flight Rules. Part 1 is also helpful because it contains a long list of common definitions and acronyms referenced in the regulations. As expected, each Part is divided into Subparts, containing even more specific groups of the regulations. For example, Part 61 contains the rules for the certification of all pilots, Subpart E contains the rules only pertaining to Private Pilots.

Finally, a Section is an individual rule or regulation. Each Section is a highly-specific rule or set of rules. For example, Section 103 of Part 61 regulates the Elegibility Requirements for holding a Private Pilot Certificate.

There are two common ways of referencing a regulation:

(1) FAR 61.103 - "FAR" assumes Title 14 of the CFR. The "61" prior to the period references Part 61 and the "103" references Section 103 within that Part.
(2) 14 CFR 61.103 - Because there are a few instances of other Titles having regulations that affect aviation, this notation is a more specific way of referencing the desired regulation.


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