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General aviation

General aviation (GA) encompasses all civil aviation other than scheduled airline flights and government aviation.

It includes everything from a privately-owned light single-engine aircraft to business jets, news gathering, pipeline patrol, emergency medical flights, crop-dusting, rotocraft, sport ballooning and many other aerial activities.

Most of the traffic in general aviation is flown under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in contrast to airline traffic which is mostly flown by reference to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) wherever ground facilities adequately support that type of navigation. The ground facilities needed for most general aviation flights are generally less sophisticated than those required by the armed forces or airlines operating scheduled flights, but there are many differences between the smaller grass aerodromes and those capable of accepting the larger corporate aircraft on international flights. Some of these differences simply reflect the different speeds and capabilities of aircraft types in common use, whilst others reflect regulations imposed to safeguard the safety of pilots, passengers and nearby communities.

All public-use airports, including airports which are served by commercial carriers, have some general aviation traffic, although GA users in the United States are subject to user fees at the larger airports.

The following statistics are from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Factbook of 2001:

Numbers of aircraft by type			
Piston			170,500
Turboprop		5,800
Jet			7,000
Numbers of aircraft by type of flying
Corporate		11,000
Business		25,200
Personal		148,200
Instructional		14,900
Flight			4,300
Aerial observation	5,100
External load		200
Other work		1,800
Siteseeing		900
Air tour		300
Air taxi		3,700
Air medical		900
Other			1,000
Numbers of pilots by certificate type
Private		243,823
Commercial		12,502
ATP			144,702
Estimated total hours flown under General Aviation rules CFR.91: 29,000,000

Numbers of accidents in 2001 by type of operation --------------------------------------- Air Taxi 72 Other General Aviation 1721

Further information can be found in the "Aviation Safety Foundation Nall Report" which is released each year by the Aviation Safety Foundation (ASF) based on data from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports.

See also