Chapter 53 of the FAA Regulations for Small Aircraft


We are a blog dedicated to the ins and outs of flying a small aircraft in your hometown or vicinity.

One of our main goals is to serve as a repository for the FAA Regulations for Small Aircraft, which are available on our website, as well as provide tips and tricks to all aspiring pilots.

The purpose of this blog is to help you understand all that is involved in flying a small aircraft.

It can be hard to find all the information you need, so we have made it easier by providing links to the most useful websites and resources for learning about flying a small aircraft in your hometown or vicinity.

We hope that you find this blog helpful!

We’ve been working with the FAA to make it possible for you to fly your aircraft in a wide range of circumstances without having to obtain an operating certificate or economic authority from the FAA. This is called “flying on your own” and it’s allowed for most small aircraft. The rules that apply are pretty simple, and we’ve created a website that will help you find out if you can fly under these rules.

In order to fly on your own, you’ll need to:

– Be at least 21 years old;

– Be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident;

– Have a valid state driver’s license; and

– Not have any disqualifying medical conditions.

53.1 Applicability.

This chapter applies to all certificated pilots who are operating an aircraft under VFR.

53.2 Definitions.

Unless otherwise specified, the following terms mean:

(a) Aerobatic flight. Intentional manipulation of the flight controls to deliberately execute an abrupt change in an aircraft’s attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration not necessary for normal flight.

(b) Aerobatic maneuver. A specific flight maneuver that is performed during aerobatic flight and that is described in this chapter.

(c) Aerobatic practice area. An area of defined dimensions within which aerobatic maneuvers may be performed.

(d) Airplane category airplane. Any airplane that is type certificated for operation at speeds of more than 87 knots CAS under VFR conditions in the day, night, or both, as appropriate; except any lightsport aircraft or light-sport airplane (as those terms are defined in Secs. 1.1 and 21.175(a)(1) of this chapter, respectively).

(e) Inverted flight. Flight with the longitudinal axis of the airplane directed approximately toward the earth and with the wings approximately parallel to the earth’s surface for a sustained period of time (

(53) Do not attempt to recover from a stall or spin until you are carrying out the appropriate procedure.

The only stall/spin recoveries approved by the FAA are those that are published in an FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH). These manuals are developed by the manufacturer and certified by the FAA.

When practicing stalls or spins, use these approved procedures to recover from them. Do not use any other procedure, even if instructed to do so by a CFI who is teaching you to spin.

(a) The purpose of this chapter is to provide the minimum standards for obtaining a pilot certificate. These standards are based on the premise that a pilot must be knowledgeable in certain areas and be able to perform certain maneuvers to ensure safety in flight.

(b) This chapter prescribes:

(1) The certification requirements, limitations, and flight privileges for student pilots, recreational pilots, sport pilots, private pilots, commercial pilots, airline transport pilots, and flight instructors;

(2) The knowledge test requirements for recreational pilot certificates and higher;

(3) The aeronautical experience requirements for pilot certificates and ratings;

(4) The practical test standards for pilot certificates and ratings;

(5) Procedures for issuing pilot certificates; and

(6) Medical fitness standards to hold a specific class of medical certificate required by part 67 of this chapter.

Nothing in this part shall be construed to apply to any person employed as a flight crewmember or mechanic by the United States Government or by any Federal, State, or municipal agency.

Nothing in this part shall be construed to prevent the carriage of mail by aircraft, under contract with the United States Postal Service.

No person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States, except in compliance with the terms of an airworthiness certificate and a registration certificate issued under this chapter.

The Administrator may issue certificates, ratings, authorizations, and permits that are necessary for the piloting of civil aircraft of U.S. registry. The Administrator may issue certificates, ratings, authorizations, and permits that are necessary for the operation of civil aircraft of foreign registry in accordance with chapter 6 of Title 49.

Certificates issued under this part shall contain only those terms and conditions that are set forth in this part; however, if prescribed by the Administrator for reasons relating to safety in air commerce or national security:


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