FAA ACS Knowledge Test Code: PA.I.A.K7

  Category and Class
Category and Class are easily confused. And the confusion is compounded by the fact that they apply differently to airmen and to aircraft! On the Knowledge Test, it is important to note in the question whether is says "With respect to the certification of airmen" or "With respect to the certification of aircraft". Miss that little distinction and you'll very likely miss the question. Read the question slowly, pay attention to what it says, then use the technique described here to choose the correct answer


Category refers to the broad grouping of aircraft. With respect to airmen, this is the broad group of aircraft types that the pilot is certificated to operate. With respect to aircraft, this is the broad group based on intended use or operating limitations. Take a look at the the chart below to see how these are all related.
(For more information, view the "FAA Pilot Regulations" lesson at the Gold Seal Ground School.)

There are four possible questions relating to Category and Class for Airmen and for Aircraft:

With respect to the certification of airmen, which is a Class of aircraft?
     Answer: Single-engine land and sea, and multi-engine land and sea

With respect to the certification of airmen, which is a Category of aircraft?
     Answer: Airplane, glider, rotorcraft, lighter-than-air

With respect to the certification of aircraft, which is a Class of aircraft?
     Answer: Airplane, glider, rotorcraft, lighter-than-air

With respect to the certification of aircraft, which is a Category of aircraft?
    Answer: Normal, utility, acrobatic

These questions are easy when you have the chart to look at. But for the test, here's an easier way to remember:

Here's the Trick:

Look at the letters in the words Category and Class. This trick only works with respect to certification of airmen, but it won't be hard to fill in the rest.

CATEGORY - airplane, glider, rotorcraft

CLASS - land and sea

This fool-proof trick will get all the Category/Class/Airmen questions. Just remember that for Aircraft, Class is the same as Category for Airmen.

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