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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Flight Manuals and Other Documents

Airplane Flight Manuals (AFM)

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




Airplane Flight Manuals (AFM)

Flight manuals and operating handbooks are concise reference
books that provide specific information about a particular
aircraft or subject. They contain basic facts, information,
and/or instructions for the pilot about the operation of an
aircraft, flying techniques, etc., and are intended to be kept
at hand for ready reference.

The aircraft owner/information manual is a document
developed by the manufacturer and contains general
information about the make and model of aircraft. The
manual is not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) and is not specific to an individual aircraft. The
manual provides general information about the operation of
an aircraft, is not kept current, and cannot be substituted for
the AFM/POH.

An AFM is a document developed by the manufacturer and
approved by the FAA. This book contains the information
and instructions required to operate an aircraft safely. A
pilot must comply with this information which is specific
to a particular make and model aircraft, usually by serial
number. An AFM contains the operating procedures and
limitations of that aircraft. Title 14 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR) part 91 requires that pilots comply
with the operating limitations specified in the approved flight
manuals, markings, and placards.

Originally, flight manuals followed whatever format and
content the manufacturer felt was appropriate, but this
changed with the acceptance of Specification No. 1 prepared
by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Specification No. 1 established a standardized format for all
general aviation airplane and helicopter flight manuals.

The POH is a document developed by the aircraft manufacturer
and contains FAA approved AFM information. If "POH" is
used in the main title, a statement must be included on the
title page indicating that sections of the document are FAA
approved as the AFM.

The POH for most light aircraft built after 1975 is also
designated as the FAA-approved flight manual. The typical
AFM/POH contains the following nine sections: General;
Limitations; Emergency Procedures; Normal Procedures;
Performance; Weight and Balance/Equipment List; Systems
Description; Handling, Service, and Maintenance; and
Supplements. Manufacturers also have the option of including
additional sections, such as one on Safety and Operational
Tips or an alphabetical index at the end of the POH.

Preliminary Pages
While the AFM/POH may appear similar for the same make
and model of aircraft, each manual is unique and contains
specific information about a particular aircraft, such as the
equipment installed and weight and balance information.

Manufacturers are required to include the serial number and
registration on the title page to identify the aircraft to which
the manual belongs. If a manual does not indicate a specific
aircraft registration and serial number, it is limited to general
study purposes only.

Most manufacturers include a table of contents, which
identifies the order of the entire manual by section number
and title. Usually, each section also contains a table of
contents for that section. Page numbers reflect the section
and page within that section (1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 3-1, etc.). If the
manual is published in loose-leaf form, each section is usually
marked with a divider tab indicating the section number or
title, or both. The Emergency Procedures section may have
a red tab for quick identification and reference.

General (Section 1)
The General section provides the basic descriptive
information on the airframe and powerplant(s). Some
manuals include a three-dimensional drawing of the aircraft
that provides dimensions of various components. Included
are such items as wingspan, maximum height, overall length,
wheelbase length, main landing gear track width, diameter
of the rotor system, maximum propeller diameter, propeller
ground clearance, minimum turning radius, and wing area.
This section serves as a quick reference and helps a pilot
become familiar with the aircraft.

The last segment of the General section contains definitions,
abbreviations, explanations of symbology, and some of
the terminology used in the POH. At the option of the
manufacturer, metric and other conversion tables may also
be included.

Limitations (Section 2)
The Limitations section contains only those limitations required
by regulation or that are necessary for the safe operation of
the aircraft, powerplant, systems, and equipment. It includes
operating limitations, instrument markings, color-coding, and
basic placards. Some of the limitation areas are: airspeed,
powerplant, weight and loading distribution, and flight

Airspeed limitations are shown on the airspeed indicator
(ASI) by color coding and on placards or graphs in the aircraft.
[Figure 8-1] A red line on the ASI shows the airspeed limit
beyond which structural damage could occur. This is called the
never-exceed speed (Vne). A yellow arc indicates the speed
range between maximum structural cruising speed (VNO) and
Vne. Operation of an airplane in the yellow airspeed arc is
for smooth air only, and then only with caution. A green arc
depicts the normal operating speed range, with the upper end
at Vno, and the lower end at stalling speed at maximum weight
with the landing gear and flaps retracted (Vs1). For airplanes
the flap operating range is depicted by the white arc, with the
upper end at the maximum flap extended speed (Vfe), and
the lower end at the stalling speed with the landing gear and
flaps in the landing configuration (Vso).