Aircraft Type Classifications

Class 1: Bomber and surveillance

These are military or paramilitary aircraft of widely differing size and performance.

Class 2: Fighter and trainer

Class 3: Miscellaneous and/or government

Aircraft of diverse or multiple duties employed generally, but not exclusively, by the state.

Class 4: Transport

Generally of a military nature, often with rear loading ramps. The larger aircraft are usually, but not exclusively, jet-powered. Light transports are those not exceeding 5,670 kg (12,500 lb).

Class 5: Airliner and freighter

Civilian passenger and cargo aircraft. Jet power is implied for all large airliners; number of engines given only for medium-size aircraft; regional jets are all twins.

Class 6: Business

The established configuration of a business jet being a twin, only single- and tri-jet configurations are specifically noted. Detailed strata devised by participants in the business jet market are not reproduced here. Instead, the main category is subdivided into small business jets with accommodation for six or fewer passengers; long-range (sub-airliner size) business jets with the 4,000 n mile (7,400 km; 4,600 mile) range necessary to fly from the US eastern seaboard to Western Europe; and the central core of twin-jets with upwards of seven seats.

Class 7: Utility

Restricted to single- and twin-engine passenger or passenger/light freight aircraft with accommodation, typically, for four or six persons. An intermediate category bridging commercial and private ownership. Crop sprayers are included.

Class 8: Amphibian

All such aircraft (including the occasional flying boat) are included here for ease of reference, even those assembled from kits or classified as ultralights.

Class 9: Lightplane (factory built)

Single-prop aircraft seating up to five persons and available only in complete form, unless otherwise stated. The US's LSA category includes some aircraft in Class 9 as well as others categorised as Ultralights, including homebuilts.

Class 10: Utility kitbuilt

This class reflects the growing number of kitbuilt aircraft intended for more than recreational use. The largest has 10 seats and turboprop power.

Class 11: Kitplanes and/or ultralights

One- or two-seat, single-prop machines intended for private ownership. ‘Kitbuilt’ aircraft are in the lightplane category, unless described as ultralights (and flyable as such in at least some countries). Certain aircraft are available only in complete form, while kit manufacturers may offer the option of fly-away aircraft to those requiring the aeroplane, but not the assembly work. A forward slash (/) before the word ‘kitbuilt’ indicates that the aircraft is available complete or as a kit, as in ‘ultralight/kitbuilt’; whereas an ‘ultralight kitbuilt’ is only available in pieces.
The upper weight limit is taken to be 544 kg (some 1,200 lb), although some national limits for ultralights are far lower. In the US, the new Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category extends upwards to 598 kg (1,320 lb), meaning that several European ultralights, while well outside the US equivalent category, fall comfortably within the privileges of the Sport Pilot licence. Typical LSA aircraft appear in a separate list under Class 9, Lightplane (factory built).

Class 12: Rotary wing

Includes tiltrotors, autogyros and lifting platforms. This class not presented on the website.

Class 13: Lighter than air

Includes balloons, nonrigid airships (blimps) and dirigibles. This class not presented on the website.