Other Aircraft Drawing Data (Part Two)

in Aircraft Drawings

Allowances and Tolerances

When a given dimension on a print shows an allowable variation, the plus (+) figure indicates the maximum, and the minus (−) figure the minimum allowable variation. The sum of the plus and minus allowance figures is called tolerance. For example, using 0.225 + 0.0025 − 0.0005, the plus and minus figures indicate the part will be acceptable if it is not more than 0.0025 larger than the 0.225 given dimension, or not more than 0.0005 smaller than the 0.225 dimension. Tolerance in this example is 0.0030 (0.0025 max plus 0.0005 min).

If the plus and minus allowances are the same, you will find them presented as 0.224 ± 0.0025. The tolerance would then be 0.0050. Allowance can be indicated in either fractional or decimal form. When very accurate dimensions are necessary, decimal allowances are used. Fractional allowances are sufficient when precise tolerances are not required. Standard tolerances of −0.010 or −1/32 may be given in the title block of many drawings, to apply throughout the drawing.

Finish Marks

Finish marks are used to indicate the surface that must be machine finished. Such finished surfaces have a better appearance and allow a closer fit with adjoining parts. During the finishing process, the required limits and tolerances must be observed. Do not confuse machined finishes with those of paint, enamel, chromium plating, and similar coating.


Some drawings are made exactly the same size as the drawn part; they have a scale of 1:1. Other scales may be used. However, when drawings are made on a computer, drawing sizes may be easily increased (zoom in) or decreased (zoom out). Some electronic printers have the same capability. Furthermore, when a 1:1 copy of a print is made, the copy size may differ slightly from that of the original. For accurate information, refer to the dimensions shown on the drawing.


When shown near the title block, application may refer to the aircraft, assembly, sub-assembly or next installation on which the part would be used.