Friday, October 2, 2009

FAA Reference Material

The FAA provides a variety of important reference material for the student, as well as the advanced civil aviation pilot. In addition to the regulations provided online by the FAA, several other publications are available to the user. Almost all reference material is available online at in downloadable format. Commercial aviation publishers also provide published and online reference material to further aid the aviation pilot.

Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the official guide to basic flight information and ATC procedures for the aviation community flying in the NAS of the United States. [Figure 1-14] An international version, containing parallel information, as well as specific information on international airports, is also available. The AIM also contains information of interest to pilots, such as health and medical facts, flight safety, a pilot/controller glossary of terms used in the system, and information on safety, accidents, and reporting of hazards.

This manual is offered for sale on a subscription basis or is available online at:

Order forms are provided at the beginning of the manual or online and should be sent to the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office (GPO). The AIM is complemented by other operational publications, which are available via separate subscriptions or online.
Handbooks are developed to provide specific information about a particular topic that enhances training or understanding. The FAA publishes a variety of handbooks that generally fall into three categories: Aircraft, Aviation, and Examiners and Inspectors. [Figure 1-15] These handbooks can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents or downloaded ( Aviation handbooks are also published by various commercial aviation companies. Aircraft flight manuals commonly called Pilot Operating Handbooks (POH) are documents developed by the airplane manufacturer, approved by the FAA, and are specific to a particular make and model aircraft by serial number. This subject is covered in greater detail in Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents, of this handbook. [Figure 1-16]

Advisory Circulars (ACs)
Advisory circulars (ACs) provide a single, uniform, agency-wide system that the FAA uses to deliver advisory material to FAA customers, industry, the aviation community, and the public. An AC may be needed to:

• Provide an acceptable, clearly understood method for complying with a regulation.
• Standardize implementation of the regulation or harmonize implementation for the international aviation community.
• Resolve a general misunderstanding of a regulation.
• Respond to a request from some government entity, such as General Accounting Office, NTSB, or the Office of the Inspector General.
• Help the industry and FAA effectively implements a regulation.
• Explain requirements and limits of an FAA grant program.
• Expand on standards needed to promote aviation safety, including the safe operation of airports.
There are three parts to an AC number, as in 25-42C. The first part of the number identifies the subject matter area of the AC and corresponds to the appropriate 14 CFR part. For example, an AC on certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors is numbered as AC 61-65E. Since ACs is numbered sequentially within each subject area, the second part of the number beginning with the dash identifies this sequence. The third part of the number is a letter assigned by the originating office and shows the revision sequence if an AC is revised. The first version of an AC does not have a revision letter. In Figure 1-17, this is the fifth revision, as designated by the “E.”

Flight Publications
The FAA, in concert with other government agencies, orchestrates the publication and changes to publications that are key to safe flight. Figure 1-18 illustrates some publications a pilot uses.

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