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CLASSES OF AIRCRAFT

Categorizing aircraft can be a nightmare because there are many factors that come into play. The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA for short, offer pilots class ratings to fly a particular group of aircraft that require similar training. There are seven main categories under the FAA’s class rating system. These classes are airplane, rotorcraft, powered lift, gliders, lighter than air, powered parachute and weight-shift-control aircraft. While we won’t go into detail on some of these classes, we will go into detail on the airplane (fixed wing aircraft) and rotorcraft (rotary wing aircraft) categories. Select a category below to start learning.

Fixed Wing Aircraft

FIXED WING AIRCRAFT

Fixed Wing Aircraft are a class of aircraft that most people are familiar with. This category of aircraft comes in a many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common. They all generate forward thrust, and use wings to generate lift. The airframe of a fixed wing aircraft typically makes use of horizontal wings, a fuselage, a vertical stabilizer, and a horizontal stabilizer, and landing gear components. Because the designs of fixed wing aircraft vary greatly, some designs do not make use of some of these components.

ROTARY WING AIRCRAFT

Rotary Wing Aircraft are a class of aircraft which generate lift using rotor blades which revolve around a mast. They generally include aircraft such as helicopters, autogyros and gyrodynes. Helicopters use rotors that are driven by the engine and typically will include an anti-torque device. Autogyros make use of a propeller powered by an engine to generate thrust and an unpowered rotor driven by autorotation. Gyrodynes have rotors that are engine powered for take of and landing, but make use of propellers that are mounted on small wings for forward flight.

Rotary Wing Aircraft

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