General aviation

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General aviation (GA) is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights. The majority of the world's air traffic falls into this category, and most of the world's airports serve general aviation exclusively.

General aviation is particularly popular in North America, with over 6,300 airports available for public use by pilots of general aviation aircraft (around 5,200 airports in the U.S., and over 1,000 in Canada[1]). In comparison, scheduled flights operate from around 560 airports in the U.S.[2] According to the U.S. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, general aviation provides more than one percent of the United States' GDP, accounting for 1.3 million jobs in professional services and manufacturing.[3]

General aviation covers a large range of activities, both commercial and non-commercial, including private flying, flight training, air ambulance, police aircraft, aerial firefighting, air charter, bush flying, gliding, skydiving, and many others. Experimental aircraft, light-sport aircraft and very light jets have emerged in recent years as new trends in general aviation.

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Regulation and safety

Most countries have authorities that oversee all civil aviation, including general aviation, adhering to the standardized codes of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Examples include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Great Britain, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) in Germany, and Transport Canada in Canada.

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