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A Glossary Of Flying Terms

By: Dee Harrison - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Flying Glossary Aviation Glossary

A complete glossary of all aviation terms is beyond the remit of this site. However you will find here all of the aviation terms you are likely to encounter as you start to fly.

AFISO
Aerodrome Flight Information Service Operator. A type of air traffic controller who is authorised to give information but not instruction

Aileron
Fixed to the wing tip, this moving aerofoil is there to allow the areoplane to turn left or right.

Altimeter
An aneroid barometer instrument calibrated to indicate height above a given datum. Can be set to give height above ground, altitude (height above sea level) or a flight level in accordance with the International standard pressure setting.

Altitude
Height of Aircraft above sea level - this is not the same as height above the ground!

Angle of Attack
Angle between the chord line of an aerofoil and the relative airstream

AOPA
Aircraft Owners & Pilot's Association

Apron
An area of the aerodrome designed to facilitate the safe movements of aircraft on the ground

Artificial Horizon
The master instrument, operated by gyroscope to give the pilot information about aircraft attitude - essential when flying in poor visibility or at night.

ASI
Airspeed Indicator

ATC
Air Traffic Control

ATCO
Air Traffic Controller

ATPL
Air Transport Pilot's Licence

C of A
Certificate of Airworthiness (refers to the aircraft not the pilot!)

CAA
Civil Aviation Authority

Camber
The curvature of the surface of an aerofoil that causes lift

Centre of Gravity
The point in the aircraft through which the sum of the weights of the parts which make up the aircraft may be assumed to pass whatever the attitude of the aircraft. This will become very important when you start making calculations to carry passengers.

CFI
Chief Flying Instructor

Control Column
May be yoke or stick type, operates the ailerons and elevator

CPL
Commercial Pilot's Licence

Drag
The total resistance of an aeroplane along its line of flight

Drift
The movement of an aeroplane in a horizontal plane through the influence of a cross-wind

Dual
Flight and flight time recorded when under instruction

E. 1
Flight Engineer

Elevator
Control surface hinged to the trailing edge of the tailplane to provide longitudinal control. Movement of the tail plane causes the aircraft to climb or descend

FI
Flying Instructor

Fix
The point of intersection of two position lines drawn on a map to determine the location of an aeroplane

Flap
A hinged surface, usually at the trailing edge of a wing, used to increase the lift of a wing at slow speeds, to steepen the glide and to act as an air brake during the approach and landing

Flare
The action of "holding the aircraft off", to reduce the descent rate, during landing

GFT
General Flight Test

Great Circle
The shortest line joining two points on the earth's surface

Ground Speed
The speed of an aeroplane relative to the earth's surface

IAS
The airspeed as shown by an airspeed indicator

IATA
International Air Traffic Association

ICAN
International Commission for Air Navigation

IFR
Instrument Flight Rules

ILS
Instrument Landing System

IMC
Instrument Meteorological Conditions

Induced Drag
Wing drag associated with lift

International Standard Atmosphere
An imaginary atmosphere that assumes at mean sea level a temperature of 15° C and a pressure of 1,013·2 millibars, and a fall in temperature of 6·5°C per 1,000m of increased height from sea level up to 11,000m, above which height the temperature is assumed constant at 56·5°C

IR
Instrument Rating

Isotherm
A line on a weather map drawn through points of equal temperature

JAA
Joint Aviation Authority

JAR
Joint Aviation Requirements

Katabatic Wind
A local wind produced by the downward motion of cold air off high ground

Knot
A nautical unit of speed being equal to one nautical mile (6,080ft) per hour

Laminar Flow
Airflow free of turbulence

Landing
The act of bringing an aeroplane under full control into contact with the ground

Landing Run
The distance between the first point of contact with the ground and the point at which the aeroplane comes to rest

Lateral Axis
Straight line through the centre of gravity that runs parallel with the line that would run from wing tip to wing tip

Leading Edge
The forward edge of a streamline body or aerofoil

Lift
The component in a vertical, upward direction in straight and level flight of the resultant force created by the relative wind acting on the lifting surfaces of an aeroplane

Longitudinal Axis
Straight line through the centre of gravity that runs parallel with the line that would run from nose to tail

Magnetic Course
The angle (measured in a clockwise direction) between the course of an aeroplane and Magnetic North

Magnetic Track Angle
The angle (measured in a clockwise direction) between the track of an aeroplane and Magnetic North

MET
Meteorological information (weather reports)

Monocoque
A method of construction in which the skin carries the whole or the greater part of the main loads. Most modern training aircraft are of a monocoque design

N. 1
Navigator responsible for the navigation of the aircraft

N. 2
Navigator acting under the supervision of the Pilot in Command

N. U/T
Navigator under training

NATS
National Air Traffic Service

Navigation Light
Identifying lights on an aircraft can be used to identify the presence of an aircraft and its direction of movement, especially at night. A complete set of navigation lights comprise a red light on the port wingtip, a green light on the starboard wingtip and a white light at the tail

NDB
Non Directional Beacon

NFT
Navigation Flight Test

NOTAM
Notice to Airmen

NPPL
National Private Pilot's Licence

P. 1
Pilot in Command

P. 1/S
Pilot in Command Under supervision

P. 2
Second Pilot exercising the privileges of his licence as a required member of the operating crew

P. U/U
Student Pilot; Pilot under training

Pitch
The angle by which the nose of an aircraft is inclined up or down from the horizontal

Pitot Tube
A tube with an open end, exposed to the airstream. This is part of an airspeed indicator.

Port
The left side (looking forward) of the aircraft.

PPL
Private Pilot's Licence

PPR
Prior Permission Required

Profile Drag
Sum of the drag caused by surface friction and pressure

QDM
Request magnetic heading to steer towards…..with no wind

QDR
Request magnetic bearing from

QFE
Setting on the subscale of the altimeter so that the instrument shows height above the reference elevation being used

QNE
The indicated reading on an altimeter when the subscale is set to 1013.2

QNH
Setting on the subscale of the altimeter so that the instrument shows elevation or altitude above sea level

QTE
True great circle bearing to an aircraft from a station

R/T
Radio Telephony

Rudder
Normally hinged to the fin, this vertical moving surface is for directional management and blance of the aircraft.

Rwy
Runway

SATCO
Senior Air Traffic Controller

Solo
Flight and Flight time recorded when unaccompanied by a supervising pilot

Squawk
Transmit via Transponder

Stall
This is nothing to do with the engine! The wing of an aeroplane is said to stall when the smooth flow over the top surface breaks down and degenerates into turbulence. The amount of lift generated suddenly drops as does the wing. It is essential that pilot's learn how to recover from a spin.

Starboard
Right-hand side of an aeroplane when looking forward.

T. 1
Licensed Radiotelephony operator

T. U/T
Radiotelephony operator under training

Tab
Usuallyy set in the trailing edge of a control surface, a tab is a small hunged flap that is used to regulate the control surface. This regulation helps ensure the plane is properly trimmed when the controls are centralised.

Tailplane
The horizontal, fixed tail surface of a plane

Take off
The movement of aircraft from a position of rest to the moment they are airborne

TAS
The speed of an aeroplane through the air in which it is flying

Thr
Threshold

TODA
Take of distance available

TORA
Take Off Run Available

Track
A course followed across the surface of the earth by the centre of gravity of an aeroplane. This is not always the course set. The track is influenced by wind and pilot error.

Transponder
Radio Signal Transmitter

Turn Indicator
This orientation instrument registers the variation of the route of a plane to right or left.

VFR
Visual Flight Rules

Visibility
The distance at which objects may be clearly seen

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