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Resources include the Aviation merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Please note that there was a previous version of the Aviation merit badge between 1911 and 1941!
This page only explains the current Aviation merit badge after it got reintroduced in 1952.

Aviation merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1952
Replaced: Aerodynamics
and Aeronautics
BSA Advancement ID: 025
Requirements revision: 2014
Latest pamphlet revision: 2014


For most of history, people have dreamed of flying, imagining how it would feel to soar through the sky like an eagle or hover in midair like a hummingbird, to float on unseen currents, free of Earth's constant tug, able to travel great distances and to rise above any obstacle. Today, through aviation, we can not only join the birds but also fly farther, faster, and higher than they ever could.

Aviation merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    1. Define "aircraft." Describe some kinds and uses of aircraft today. Explain the operation of piston, turboprop, and jet engines.
    2. Point out on a model airplane the forces that act on an airplane in flight.
    3. Explain how an airfoil generates lift, how the primary control surfaces (ailerons, elevators, and rudder) affect the airplane's attitude, and how a propeller produces thrust.
    4. Demonstrate how the control surfaces of an airplane are used for takeoff, straight climb, level turn, climbing turn, descending turn, straight descent, and landing.
    5. Explain the following: the sport pilot, the recreational pilot and the private pilot certificates; the instrument rating.
  2. Do TWO of the following:
    1. Take a flight in an aircraft, with your parent's permission. Record the date, place, type of aircraft, and duration of flight, and report on your impressions of the flight.
    2. Under supervision, perform a preflight inspection of a light airplane.
    3. Obtain and learn how to read an aeronautical chart. Measure a true course on the chart. Correct it for magnetic variation, compass deviation, and wind drift to determine a compass heading.
    4. Using one of many flight simulator software packages available for computers. "fly" the course and heading you established in requirement 2c or another course you have plotted.
    5. Explain the purposes and functions of the various instruments found in a typical single-engine aircraft: attitude indicator, heading indicator, altimeter, airspeed indicator, turn and bank indicator, vertical speed indicator, compass, navigation (GPS and VOR) and communication radios, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, and oil temperature gauge.
    6. Create an original poster of an aircraft instrument panel. Include and identify the instruments and radios discussed in requirement 2e.
  3. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Build and fly a fuel-driven or battery powered electric model airplane. Describe safety rules for building and flying model airplanes Tell safety rules for use of glue, paint, dope, plastics, fuel, and battery pack.
    2. Build a model FPG-9. Get others in your troop or patrol to make their own model, then organize a competition to test the precision of flight and landing of the models.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Visit an airport. After the visit, report on how the facilities are used, how runways are numbered, and how runways are determined to be "active."
    2. Visit a Federal Aviation Administration facility—a control tower, terminal radar control facility, air route traffic control center, or Flight Standards District Office. (Phone directory listings are under U.S. Government Offices, Transportation Department, Federal Aviation Administration. Call in advance.) Report on the operation and your impressions of the facility.
    3. Visit an aviation museum or attend an air show. Report on your impressions of the museum or show.
  5. Find out about three career opportunities in aviation. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Aviation is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Aviation requirements. usscouts.org has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

The Aviation merit badge is an option for the Shoot!, Start Your Engines!, Whoosh!, Up and Away, Harris Bronze Supernova, and Edison Silver Supernova STEM Nova Awards.
  1. The Aviation merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Requirement resources

1a. Define "aircraft." - Kinds and uses of aircraft - piston, turboprop, and jet engines
1b. The blank control surfaces diagram you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document) with instructions for a model paper airplane.

How Airplanes Work: forces that act on an airplane in flight

1c. The blank airfoil diagram you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document).

Explain how an airfoil generates lift - How ailerons, elevators, and rudder affect the airplane's attitude - How a propeller produces thrust

1d. Control surfaces - Flaps
1e. Pilot certification
2a. The flight log you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document)

EAA Young Eagles Program - Youth ages 8-17 can fly in small planes for free!
Video Flying Lessons: Type of Planes - Exterior - Interior - Taking Off - Flying - Landing

2b. Video Lesson: How to Pre-flight a plane
2c. Free Online Aeronautical Charts - Navigation
2d. Free online flight simulators - Google Earth flight simulator
2e. The blank US Map you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document).

Commercial Aviation routes and timetables: Travelocity - Expedia - Yahoo
See Google maps for mapping your course.
The aviation flight plan and itinerary table you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document).

2f. EAA Purposes and functions of instruments
2g. Aircraft Instrument Panels
3a. Radio Controlled Model Airplanes under $30 (Click Search Links): Target - eBay - Amazon Radio Shack
3b. FPG-9 Foam Plate Glider Links: Overview - instructions.doc Instructions - Pattern - AMA activity.doc Activities

Another FPG-9 Site - instructions.doc Instructions - Pattern
FPG-9 as a part of the US Air Force Project SOAR: PowerPoint Slide Show - Pattern

4a. How Airports Work
4b. FAA Educational Contacts
4c. Aviation Museum Locator - Aviation History Museum - Nat. Aeronautics and Space Admin. - Listing of US Airshows
5. FAA Aviation Careers Guide - Careers in Aviation


The Aviation merit badge was an original merit badge from 1911. In 1941 it was split into the Aerodynamics and Aeronautics merit badges. The Airplane Design merit badge and then the Airplane Structure merit badges were added in 1942, then these merit badges were recombined into a single Aviation merit badge in 1952.

Related awards

Profession-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools