What Is the Difference Between Type, Category and Class of Aircraft?

Class of aircraft

As a pilot it is important to know the differences between an aircraft’s class, type, and category. [Credit: iStock]

Understanding the difference between type, category, and class of aircraft can be confusing. That’s especially the case for people who haven’t had to sort through each of the differentiating factors involved. 

Although it’s crucial to gain an understanding of each, doing so can be simple since the differences are pretty stark. For more insights into the differences between type, category, and class of aircraft keep reading.

What Is an Aircraft Type Rating?

An aircraft type rating is a certification that provides flight engineers and pilots with permission to operate a specific type of aircraft. The permissions pilots gain are called pilot type ratings, while flight engineers have access to the permissions that come with flight engineer type ratings.

What Aircraft Requires a Type Rating?

The aircrafts that require a type rating that weigh more than 12,500 MGTOW and/or contain a turbojet power plant. Some examples of aircrafts that require a type rating include Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, and members of the Airbus 1320 family.

What Is an Aircraft Category?

An aircraft category signifies the intended use or operating limits of a specific group of aircrafts. Aircraft categories can refer to pilot certificate categories or be specified to the pilot’s certificate. More details about the specifics of aircraft categories can be found below.

Example of Aircraft Categories

Some of the specific examples of aircraft categories include transport, commuter, and acrobatic aircrafts. Planes that commuters would board at the airport would fall under the commuter category while aircrafts that people see at annual air shows fall under the category of being acrobatic aircrafts.

What Is an Aircraft Class?

Class is used for classification purposes to refer to a large subsection of aircrafts that have shared traits when it comes to propulsion, flight, or landing. When it comes to the ratings on pilot certificates, there are seven different aircraft categories. 

Airplane Category

The airplane category is split into four classes that include single engine land, multi-engine land, single-engine sea, and multi-engine sea classes. 

Rotorcraft Category

The rotorcraft category is split into two classes, the helicopter and gyroplane classes.

Lighter Than Air Category

The lighter than air category is also split into two classes, airship, and balloon.

Weight-Shift-Control Category

The weight shift control category is split into two classes that include weight-shift-control land and weight-shift-control sea.  

Powered Parachute Category

The powered parachute category is split into two classes that include the powered parachute land and powered parachute sea classes.

Get More Insight About Type, Category, and Class of Aircrafts 

Understanding the importance and specific differences in type, category, and class of aircrafts can go a long way when it comes to having a successful career in aviation. That’s why aviation professionals benefit from subscribing to Flying Magazine. 
Flying Magazine provides readers with a source for insights that keep aviation professionals abreast of the insights necessary for ascending in their careers. To get more information related to the differentiating factors between type, category, and class of aircrafts, subscribe to Flying Magazine today.

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