certificate of airworthiness
Also found in: Acronyms.
certificate of airworthiness (C of A)
A certificate issued by the national certification authority (e.g., Federal Aviation Administration) to aircraft that meet the minimum standard of airworthiness as specified in the relevant regulations. It certifies that the aircraft is safe to fly. It is mandatory for all civil aircraft to have a certificate of airworthiness before starting commercial operation. Cs of A are issued to individual aircraft and also to generic aircraft types (Type Certification in the United States) when the first example of a type is registered. Certificates of airworthiness on individual aircraft are granted in several categories (e.g., private, public transport, aerial work) and must be renewed at specified intervals. Permits to fly are authorizations granted to aircraft, such as homebuilts, vintage airplanes, warbirds, and some simple classic light aircraft, that are not required to meet the standards demanded for a full C of A. They are accordingly restricted in the kinds of operation for which they may be used.