General Aviation


Raytheon – Founded in 1922, it is a very significant defense contractor in the US, and is also the foremost producer of guided missiles throughout the world. In 1980, it purchased Beech Aircraft Corporation, an important manufacturer of piston and turboprop aircraft. In 1993, it added the Hawker line of business jets from British Aerospace. In early 2007, Raytheon disposed of its aircraft operations, which now conduct business under the name of Hawker Beechcraft.

Light Aircraft

The majority of the general aviation fleet consists of light aircraft. The most significant recent developments in this category have been the introduction of advanced avionics (which consists of the electronics systems used on the aircraft, and is made up of the communications, navigation, and the display and management of the multiple systems). Such avionics also include GPS (or Global Positioning System, which is a U.S. global navigation satellite system positioned above the earth. Its role is to provide dependable positioning, navigation, and timing data to worldwide users, on a continuous basis, regardless of weather, 24 hours a day, and anywhere on or near the Earth). Such sophisticated avionics were previously only available on large airliners. A further groundbreaking addition to make small aircraft lighter and faster has been the introduction of composite materials (or composites, which are finely engineered special materials, such as carbon fibre, made from two or more constituent components with significantly different physical or chemical properties, which remain separate and distinguishable within the final structure.

Ultralight aircraft, also referred to as microlights, relate to lightweight, slow-flying aircraft that are liable for minimum regulation. Their weight and speed limits are subject to different regulations depending on the country in which they operate.

Homebuilt aircraft, also known as aircraft for the amateur or kit planes, are constructed by individuals or groups for whom this is not an activity from which they earn a living. Such aircraft may be constructed either from an original idea of the instigator of the project, or from plans which have been drawn up or purchased, or simply from an assembly kit, in much the same way as a model aircraft, but on a much larger scale.

These two lightweight aircraft variants have become increasingly popular the world over for recreational use by the enthusiastic amateur. Most countries include in their regulations the facility for private aviation which is far less expensive and much less tightly regulated than conventional aircraft. Such aircraft can, in fact, be referred to as “flying for the man-in-the-street”.

Ultralight Aviation

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was an upsurge in interest in the public at large who sought, not only to be able to fly, but also to be able to do so at a cost that they could afford. As a result, a number of aviation authorities established the status of ultralight aviation.

The safety regulations set in place to approve microlights vary from country to country. There are, in fact, the strictest regimes in place in the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and Germany whilst, in France and the United States, the regulations are so light as to be almost non-existent.

Aviation – How To Succeed

Author's Bio: 

Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a wide range of subjects. Aviation Articles cover History, Aircraft Types, Air Traffic Control.

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