Types of AviationThis is a featured page

There are many types of aviation, and it's important that you know the difference. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment (or thread) at the bottom of this page.
Civil Aviation
Civil Aircraft is a rather big group of aircraft. It refers to all non-military flights and activities in aviation.

General Aviation
General aviation refers to all civil flights other than scheduled airline flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights. Because of the huge range of activities, it is difficult to cover general aviation with a simple description — general aviation may include business flights, private aviation, flight training, ballooning, parachuting, gliding, hang gliding, aerial photography, foot-launched powered hang gliders, air ambulance, crop dusting, charter flights, traffic reporting, police air patrols, forest fire fighting, and many other types of flying.

Hot air balloons, San Diego, California
Ballooning is a type of civil aviation that uses buoyancy to float in the air. This buoyancy is generally created by filling a large fabric envelope with hot air or gases that are lighter than the surrounding atmosphere. The less dense balloon lifts the basket tied underneath that carries people and cargo into the air. A balloon has no propulsion system, so it floats with the wind.

Schleicher ASK 21
Soaring is a type of general aviation where the flight of a motorless aircraft involves using air currents and thermals to fly long distances. Aircraft used for this purpose are called gliders or sailplanes, and often have very clean designs made of metal or fiberglass to improve glide ratio.

Private Aviation
Cirrus SR22
Private aviation is the part of general aviation that involves flying not for hire. In a private flight, the pilot is not paid, and the aircraft owner/operator does not receive money for the flight (other than rent from the pilot, in some cases). In many countries, private aviation operates to less strict standards than commercial aviation. Private pilots normally are not required to demonstrate the same level of proficiency on their flight tests, and take fewer and less rigorous medical examinations. Many small aircraft are private planes.

Scheduled Airline Flight
American airlines Boeing 777
An airline is a part of civil aviation that provides air transport services for passengers or freight, generally with a recognized operating certificate or license. Airlines vary from those with a single airplane carrying mail or cargo, through full-service international airlines operating many hundreds of airplanes. Airliners may fly intercontinental, intracontinental, or domestic.

Military Aviation
F/A-18C Hornet
Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift (cargo) capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. The wide variety of military aircraft includes bombers, fighters, fighter bombers, transports, trainers, and reconnaissance aircraft. These varied types of aircraft allow for the completion of a wide variety of objectives. Many automatic devices assist the crews in obtaining results not achievable by human means. Machines can carry out many tasks including locating, tracking, and destroying targets.

Types of Military Aviation
B-2 Stealth Bomber
Bombers are typically larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than fighter aircraft. They are capable of carrying large payloads of weapons. They are used for ground attacks and are usually not fast or agile enough to take on enemy fighters. Some bombers have stealth capabilities that keep them from being detected by enemy radar.

F-22 Raptor
Fighters are fast, highly maneuverable, and capable of destroying enemy aircraft and ground targets. Their main role is air-to-air combat, offensive or defensive. Escorting bombers or other non-attack aircraft is also a common task. They are capable of carrying a variety of weapons, including machine guns, cannons, rockets, guided missiles, and bombs, depending on the mission. Some fighters, called fighter-bombers, are able to carry conventional or nuclear weapons far behind enemy lines to strike priority ground targets. Many fighters can attack enemy fighters from a great distance, before the enemy even sees them.

Reconnaissance aircraft are primarily used to gather intelligence. They are equipped with photographic, infrared, radar, and television sensors. These aircraft may be specially designed or may be modified from a basic fighter or bomber type. Some are equipped with special electronic gear for detecting submarines, such as sonar, and others can give early warnings of enemy approach.
C-130 Hercules
Transport aircraft are primarily used to transport troops and war supplies. Cargo also may be discharged from flying aircraft on parachutes, eliminating the need for landing. The aerial tanker can refuel fighters, bombers, and helicopters while in flight. This means that an aircraft can go to any point on the globe without landing even once.

AH-64D Apache
Helicopters may be used to transport troops, attack targets, provide support, deliver supplies, and search and rescue. One very popular helicopter is the AH-64D Apache. The maneuverability of helicopters gives them the option to land in areas fixed wing air craft would not be able to access. This can be important in remote areas.

Experimental aircraft are designed in order to test advanced aerodynamic, structural, avionic, or propulsion concepts. These are usually well instrumented, with performance data telemetered on radio-frequency data links to ground stations located at the test ranges where they are flown.

Today, aircraft manufacturers tend to design planes with multi-role abilities, with both bomber and fighter qualities, so the distinction is becoming relative or obsolete for new aircraft.

Latest page update: made by 1tiger9 , Apr 11 2008, 6:02 PM EDT (about this update About This Update 1tiger9 Moved from: All About Aviation - 1tiger9

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Anonymous aviation management 0 Jan 30 2014, 1:26 AM EST by Anonymous
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Anonymous jet flights 0 Mar 10 2013, 9:24 PM EDT by Anonymous
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FearlessThinkers Soaring 2 Jun 26 2008, 9:18 AM EDT by rajatgarg
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Soaring is a type of general aviation where flight involves motorless aircraft that utilize currents in the air to sustain long flights. Aircraft used in soaring are called sailplanes or gliders, and most are made from metal or fiberglass.
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