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6 Answers

Flight Manual vs POH

Asked by: 4775 views ,
General Aviation

As I was reading yesterday to prepare myself for the Private Pilot Practical test, I found something that puzzled me. It said that for any airplane, the Flight Manual and the Pilot Owner Handbook (POH) are two different things. One should trust the flight manual, not the POH. For my trainer (150 Cessna Aerobat), I have a Owner Manual but that's it. Does that mean I should find a way to get a copy of the Flight Manual (if there is any). And what are really the differences between these two documents. 


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6 Answers

  1. Bidochon on Sep 16, 2014

    Thanks Lucas. That helped me a lot understanding the differences.

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  2. Sam Dawson on Sep 16, 2014

    AFMs were not required for part 23/CAR 3 airplanes that weighed under 6000 lbs until 1 March 1979. Your Cessna 150 was such an airplane. For such airplanes the information required by 91.31 may be provided by the manufacturer in the form of a flight manual, some other manual, or placards and markings. Also be aware that any Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), information becomes part of that manual and MUST be on the airplane.


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  3. Mark Kolber on Sep 16, 2014

    I hope you understood Lucas’ answer since it talks about the POH as both a generic manual one buys in a pilot shop and as the required manual inside an aircraft.

    Hopefully to clarify, the one you buy in the pilot shop is technically a PIM – Pilot Information Manual – although in discussions we tend to blur the use of the two terms.

    A POH – Pilot Operating Handbook – is a airplane serial number specific manual produced by the manufacturer. If you look at the POH in the airplane you fly, you will see that on the first page – your N-Number, your serial number.

    The POH is a combination of material required by the certification regulations (AFM) and other material that the manufacturer wants you to have. “POH” actually refers to the format of the book. In 1977, GAMA (General Aviation Manufacturers’ Association) published Specification No. 1. It is essentially a consensus among manufacturers regarding the order and naming of the sections of the flight manual and the material that goes into each so that transitions between makes and models would be easier.

    Before the “POH” the manual for a Piper Warrior would be different than for a Cessna 172. Not just in the information but also in terms of where to look for the information. So, for example, before 1977, an AFM or other aircraft manual for Model A might have performance data in Section 1 and Emergency Checklists in Section 6, while Model B might have it reversed or not in any section number at all. The GAMA specification which all GA manufacturers now use made those sections uniform, making it much easier to transition from one model to another and find what you are looking for.

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  4. Mark Kolber on Sep 16, 2014

    Bidochon, since you mentioned having an document called an “Owner’s Manual” sounds like your aircraft is before 1977 and Sam’s explanation of when the requirements for an special FAA-approved flight manual came into effect is on point.

    So many of the exams focus on the rules as they are today, it’s sometimes difficult to realize they were not always the same and the Approved Airplane Flight Manual and POH of today is not what you will typically find in older airplanes.

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  5. Sam Dawson on Sep 16, 2014

    Someone did not like the answer.

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  6. Bidochon on Sep 17, 2014

    Awesome guys. That’s why I love this web site… being able to get the knowledge of experts without having to look for those guys all over the place.

    Thanks a lot

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