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ARROW is an acronym that can be used to recall which documents are required to be kept in an aircraft for it to be legal to operate in the United States. Just like your car requires registration to be available when it's operated, aircraft have their own set of documentation requirements.

  • A- Airworthiness Certificate. 14 CFR (Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations - Aeronautics and Space) part 91.203(b) states "No person may operate a civil aircraft unless the airworthiness certificate required by para. (a) of this section…is displayed at the cabin or cockpit entrance so that it is legible to passengers or crew."
  • R - Radio Station License. This is actually no longer required unless the aircraft is taken outside of the United States. This requirement is from 47 CFR (Title 47, Code of Federal Regulations - Telecommunications) which contains FCC rules, 47 CFR Part 87.18.
  • R - Registration Certificate. 14 CFR 91.203(a)(2) further requires "an effective U.S. registration certificate issued to the aircraft's owner or, for operation within the United States, the second duplicate copy (pink) of the Aircraft Registration Application as provided for in § 47.31(b), or a registration certificate issued under the laws of a foreign country."
  • O - Operating Limitations. This means an aircraft flight manual or FAA-approved publication from the aircraft manufacturer listing the operating limits of the aircraft in terms of altitude, speed, weight and balance and flight attitudes as well as any other restriction on operation.
  • W - Weight and Balance. This is sometimes found in an FAA-approved flight manual or POH (pilot operating handbook), in which case the above Operating Limitations requirement will cover this. In some cases, however, aircraft have separate type certificates listing this information, in which case that must be carried whenever the aircraft is operated.

ARROW. Remember before you take off.