As a public health precaution, both of our locations, along with all Smithsonian museums, are temporarily closed. See our message to visitors.
General aviation refers to any nonscheduled, nonmilitary flight operation—in other words, all civil aircraft not flown by commercial carriers or the military. It includes everything from personal to business flying, air taxi, sightseeing tours, and life-saving medical flights. General aviation accounts for nearly 80 percent of the civil aircraft and three-fourths of all flight operations in the United States.
Speed, flexibility, convenience, safety, and security make general aviation appealing. For many it offers a viable, more efficient alternative to commercial aviation. The General Aviation section describes the evolution of general aviation and its diverse roles.