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avaition terms and dictionary

Guest Macnoz

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180-degree turn: A sometimes difficult manoeuvre to perform precisely; the degree of difficulty is usually determined by the size of the pilot’s ego.


Aerial: That part of the aircraft most frequently broken off during the walk-around pre-flight inspection that pilots do to see of anything is broken off.


Aileron: A hinged control surface on the wing that scares airline passengers when it moves.




1) Sword used for duelling in flight. Often used to settle disputes between crew members and passengers.


2) What pilots wrap their sandwiches in.


Air Mass: Impromptu religious service held on board an aircraft immediately following an announcement by the pilot that he is lost, having an engine problem, or running out of fuel.


Aeroplane: The infernal machine invented by two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, and perfected on the sands of the Outer Banks of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Precursor of the Frisbee.




1) The speed of an aeroplane through the air


2) True airspeed plus 20% when talking with other pilots. (Deduct 25% when listening to a Navy pilot)


Airstrip: In-flight performance by exotic flight attendant.


Air Traffic Control Centre: A draughty, ill-kept, barn-like structure in which people congregate for dubious reasons.


AlternateAirport: The airport that no aircraft has sufficient fuel to proceed to if necessary.


Angle of Attack: Pick-up lines that pilots use.


Arctic Frost: Attitude shown by uncooperative member of cabin crew. (See also ‘Horizontally opposed’)


Arresting gear: Police equipment used for keeping order at airport parties.


Aspect ratio: 36-24-36


Bail out: Pouring the water out of the cabin after a heavy rainstorm.


Barrel roll: Unloading the beer for a hangar party.


Briefing: Spending a long time saying nothing. (See also ‘De-briefing’)


CASA: Committee Against Sustainable Aviation


Caged gyro: No more docile than a wild gyro.


Caging the gyro: Easier with domestic species.




1) Any airline pilot wearing four stripes on his sleeve; often found strolling down Lovers’ Lane holding his own hand.


2) Decorative dummy often found adorning the bridge of a ship.


(NB – the only thing worse than a captain who never flew as a co-pilot is a co-pilot who was once a captain)


Carburetor icing: A phenomenon that happens to pilots at exactly the same time they run out of fuel.


Chart: Large piece of paper, useful for protecting cockpit surfaces from food and beverage stains.


Chock: Pieces of wood the line boys slip in front of the wheels when the pilot isn’t looking.




1) A confined space in which two chickens fight each other, especially when they can’t find the airport in a rain storm.


2) Area in which the pilot sits while attempting to figure out where he/she is.


Course: Popular alternate landing field marked by fairways and greens. Curiously, pilots who land here are said to be “off-course”.




1) A technique used by pilots to compensate for crosswinds, usually without success.


2) Pilot who has just ground-looped after trying unsuccessfully to use this technique.


3) Pilot who has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable landing site.


Crash: To bed down for the night. What every pilot hopes to do once he has found a suitable landing site. (See also ‘Suitable landing site’)


De-briefing: Spending a lot of time saying nothing after you have done it. (See also ‘Briefing’)


De-icer: De person dat puts de ice on de wings.


Dead reckoning: You reckon correctly, or you are.


Dive: Pilots’ lounge or airport café.


Drag chute: Emergency escape slide near co-pilot’s window. Opens automatically if eccentric male captain shows up in women’s clothes.


Emergency generator: A device that generates emergencies. Also known as a simulator.


Engine failure: A condition that occurs when all fuel tanks become filled with air.


Exceptional flying ability: Has equal number of take-offs and landings.


Final approach:


1) Last pass a pilot makes at the opposite sex before giving up.


2) Many a seasoned pilot’s last landing.


3) Many a student pilot’s first landing.


Flashlight: Tubular metal container kept in flight bag for storing dead batteries.


Flight instructor: Individual of dubious reputation, paid poor sums of money to impart knowledge of questionable value and cast serious doubts on the coordination, intelligence and ancestry of student pilots.


Flight plan: Scheme to get away from home to go flying.


Gear handle: The handle a pilot selects “down” as soon as he/she makes a gear-up landing.


Glide distance: Usually half the distance from an aeroplane to the nearest emergency landing field.


Glider: Formerly “aeroplane”, prior to running out of fuel.


Good landing: A landing from which you can walk away. (See also ‘Great landing’)


Great landing. A landing after which it is possible to reuse the aeroplane.


Grass strip: Often performed by exotic flight attendants while en route to Hawaii.


Gross weight:


1) A 350lbs pilot (See also ‘Split-S’)


2) Maximum permissible take-off weight plus two suitcases, ten cans of oil, four sleeping bags, eight cases of beer and the groceries.


Hangar: Home for anything that flies. Mostly birds.


Horizontally opposed: NO! (See also ‘Arctic frost’)


Hotel: How the letter ‘H’ is pronounced in the phonetic alphabet. Most often heard in intercom conversations between pilots and flight attendants.


Induced drag: When a male co-pilot is persuaded by a prankster female flight attendant to put on women’s clothes against his will.


Jet-assisted take-off:


1) A rapid take-off procedure used by general aviation pilots who find themselves taking off on a runway directly in front of a departing 747.


2) Take-off by pilots who ordered enchiladas for lunch at the airport coffee shop.


Judgement: A valued skill in aviation. Good judgement comes from someone else’s bad judgement. Learn from the mistakes of others, you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.


Kilometre: A unit of measurement used on charts to further confuse pilots who already have trouble with knots.


Landing light: Preferable to landing heavy.


Lazy eight:


1) Well-known fly-in resort ranch.


2) The airport operator, his four mechanics and three line boys.


Log: A small rectangular notebook used by pilots to record lies.


Magneto: Not-very-famous Italian magician; “The Great Magneto”.


Mode: Term used by pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille during the Great War to describe what they had to land in during rainy weather.


Motor: A word used by student pilots when referring to an aircraft engine.


Navigation: The process by which a pilot finds his way from point A to B, while actually trying to get to point C.


Parasitic drag: A fellow pilot who bums a ride and complains about the service.


Pilot: A poor, misguided soul who talks about the opposite sex when they’re flying and flying when they’re with a member of the opposite sex.


Pitch: The story you give a wife/husband about needing an aeroplane to use in your business.


Prop wash:


1) Cleaning agent used by student pilots.


2) Pilot’s equivalent of “hogwash”.


Pylon: All aboard!


Radar: An extremely realistic type of video game, often found at airports. Players try to send small game-pieces, called ‘blips’, from one side of the screen to the other without colliding with each other. Player with the fewest collisions wins.


Range: Usually about 30 miles beyond the point where all the aircraft’s fuel tanks fill with air.




1) The most popular name in radio.


2) Used when you’re not sure what else to say.


Runway: Place where exotic flight attendant starts her act. (See also ‘Airstrip’)


S-turns: The course flown by a student pilot from point A to point B.


Slip: Apparel worn by some pilots.


Split S: What happens to the trousers of overweight pilots. (See also ‘Gross weight’)


Spoilers: The Civil Aviation Safety Authority /spouse (delete as applicable). The least likely phrase to be heard on an airfield… “Hello, I’m from the CASA and I’m here to make your life easier.”


Stall: Technique used to explain to the bank why your car payment is late, without admitting that you spent the money on flying.


Steep bank: Banks that charge pilots more than 10% interest.


Stewardess: A pretty girl that asks you what you want, then straps you in so you can’t get it.


Suitable landing site: An attractive member of the opposite sex; suitability may sometimes be affected by arctic frost. (See also ‘Arctic frost’)


Tactics: What the instrument panel clock sounds like when it needs fixing.


Taildragger: An old pilot after a long flight.


Tailwind: Results from eating beans in the airport coffee shop; often causes oxygen deficiency in the immediate vicinity.


Terminal Area Forecast (TAF): A horoscope with numbers.


Trim Tab:


1) A device that can fly the aeroplane better than the pilot


2) Popular diet beverage for fat pilots.


Useless: Something for which a pilot has no use. Examples include: Altitude above you, runway behind you, fuel in the bowser, approach planes in the car and the airspeed you don’t have.


Walkaround: Procedure used when waiting for better weather.


Wing strut: Peculiar, ritualistic walk performed by student pilots upon getting out of training aircraft following first flight performed without instructor yelling at them. Usually results in instructor yelling at the student.



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