In Canada, flying activities are governed by the Canadian Aviation Regulations, generally called the CARs, pronounced just like the things people use to drive around on the ground in. As a pilot for a Canadian operation, in the United States I'm subject to the CARs and also the FARs, the Fed eral Aviation Regulations governing air operations in the United States. And for ten years I've rhymed the names for the two sets of regs.
Recently I received e-mail from an American B777 pilot in which he mentioned being asked for his interpretation of "an FAR." He's a native speaker of English, and not someone I'd expect to make an error in his choice of indefinite article. From this evidence, the way he pronounces FAR clearly begins with a vowel. I know which one, and e-mail him to confirm. Yep. Americans pronounce FAR "Eff-Ay-Arr" spelled out, not pronounced as if it were a word. And officially, it seems, they are "the FAR" not "the FARs." Even more officially, when referred to by number, an FAR transforms into a CFR. I'm not quite sure how that happens.
I've heard Canadians say "air regs" or "the Canadian Air Regs" but never "the See-Ay-Arrs." And it's not that Americans are averse to pronouncing their aviation abbreviations. About the same time it finally dawned on me that there's another abbreviation I've been pronouncing incorrectly all this time: MOA. What I would formerly have called "an MOA" but now know to be "a MOA" is a Military Operations Area: a chunk of airspace where people are flying really pointy airplanes really fast, or firing rockets, or conducting other activities that are either hazardous to general aviation, or hazardous to national security for others to know about. I have often called up Flight Services to ask about the status of "the Whatchamacallit MOA" without being corrected. But then "Em-Oh-Ay" versus moa to rhyme with boa is not such a big difference. Maybe they thought I was a hesitant Canadian, asking about the "um...moa, eh?" At any rate, no one at the FSS was bothered by my pronunciation.
Hey you guys do say "the Eff-Ess-Ess" and not the "Ffsssss," right? I thought I was joking when I started to type that, but an American referring to a Flight Standards District Office by its abbreviation sounds like he is saying Fizz-Dough, so maybe it's worth asking.