The FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) include a number of parts (think of them as chapters), each dealing with one aspect of flying regulations. You’ll often hear pilots refer to these parts and assume you know what they’re referring to. For example, a “Part 103” aircraft is an ultralight because it is built and flown based on regulations in FAR Part 103. FAR Part 61 contains the rules for obtaining a sport-pilot certificate. You’ll catch on to these references very soon. The FARs start at Part 1 and go to Part 198, but don’t panic; sport pilots fall under only a few parts of the FARs.
Actually, the FARs are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s tome: Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. To be technically accurate, you will see what we call FAR 61 written in official parlance as “CFR14 Part 61.” I am just going to use the terms pilots use and call all our regulation FARs.
One other valuable FAA document (there are many) is the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). AIMs are a more detailed discussion of things important to pilots. The AIMs cover air navigation aids, radar services, airport markings and lighting, airspace categories, air traffic control and procedures, as well as flight safety and medical issues. Authorized republishers of FAA material often combine FAR and AIM into a single, thick (900+ pages) document that covers much of what you need to know about the rules of flying. Think of it as your flying bible.
One of the parts of the FARs that you will refer to most is “Part 61.” It covers airmen (meaning men and women) including the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. As a private pilot you don’t need to know everything that’s in Part 61 because it also covers commercial pilots and instrument ratings, but you will be expected to know the requirements and limitations for the new sport-pilot certificate.
You’ll also refer to Part 91 covering air traffic and general operating rules. This part tells you who flies where, when, and how. That’s important information!
Of course, there are many other parts to the FARs. They regulate how new rules are made (Part 11), aircraft airworthiness standards (Part 23 and others), airspace rules (Part 71), commercial aviation (Parts 119 and 139), flight schools and training centers (Parts 141 and 142), airport operation (Parts 150 and 169), and many more. For your private-pilot knowledge test you should be knowledgeable about those regulations that directly affect private aviation, but you also should be aware of what rules other pilots fly under.
Aviation uses a standard clock, called coordinated universal time (UTC), rather than regional time zones. The clock is in Greenwich, England, outside of London, and aviation clocks all around the world use it as a reference point. For example, the eastern standard time zone in the United States is UTC + 5 hours; 5 P.M. in New York City is 12:00 UTC. UTC is also known as “Zulu time.” Really!