General Aviation

General aviation (GA) is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline passenger and cargo flights.


If you have already replaced your paper pilot certificate, then this message is not for you. On the other hand, if your pilot certificate is still printed on paper, please read carefully.

The FAA is under a mandate to replace all paper certificates with plastic certificates. In fact, paper pilot certificates have already expired!

If you are a mechanic, on the other hand, and do not replace your paper certificate on or before March 31, 2013, you will no longer be able to exercise your privileges!

All certificated Airmen, including mechanics, repairmen, pilots, etc., are required to replace their paper copy with a plastic copy, or they will no longer be able to exercise the privileges of that certificate.

The best way to get a new replacement certificate is to follow the instructions at http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/certificate_replacement/.

The replacement cost is $2.00, unless you still have your Social Security Number on your certificate and you ask to have it removed.

Avoid the Rush! Apply today!

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General Aviation (GA) is a vital component of the aviation sector and the national economy that accounts for some 77 percent of all flights in the United States.

Pilot Safety Tip – Student or Inexperienced Pilot
Notice Number: NOTC4471

A student pilot landed at a busy international airport and was cleared by ground control to taxi to the ramp.  Instead, he taxied back onto the runway where another aircraft had been cleared to takeoff.  The student pilot did not have a diagram of the airport, and claimed to have been distracted by other cockpit duties when he followed the “wrong yellow taxi line.”
Unfamiliar airports can seem like a jungle even to the most experienced pilot.  The leading causes of runway incursions by low-time GA pilots are inadequate knowledge or experience with ATC procedures and inadequate experience operating at the airport layout.

All pilots, but especially Student Pilots and low-time pilots, should carefully review the meaning of ATC instructions.  Don’t ever proceed to enter or cross a runway unless you are cleared for takeoff, instructed to line up and wait, or told to cross the runway.  Controllers do not have to issue hold short instructions in every instance – so don’t assume that because you did not hear “hold short” that you can cross the hold line.  And if you have any questions – stop your aircraft and ask.

As a Student Pilot, you should always have an airport diagram available for every airport you plan to visit during your flight.  Another way student and inexperienced pilots can work to prevent causing a runway incursion is to brush up on your understanding of what the airport signs and markings mean before you fly.  The FAA Runway Safety web site is a great source of information that should be used to refresh your understanding of the signs and markings you will see at the airports you fly in and out of.

One of the most common sayings in aviation is that your pilot certificate is a license to learn.  If you are a student pilot – or a low-time pilot - consider identifying yourself as a “student pilot”, or your need for assistance to ATC.  When you are taxiing your aircraft, keep looking around.  There is always something you might miss, and remember, you are always a student while flying.