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Aviation Definitions.

Original post: 3/10/1999
By Bob Goodman

180-Degree Turn - A sometimes difficult maneuver to perform; the degree of difficulty is usually determined by the size of the pilot's ego.

A&P Rating - Enables you to fly grocery supplies.

Aero - That portion of the atmosphere that lies over Great Britain.

Aerodrome - British word for airport. Exactly what you'd expect from a country that gives its airplanes names like Gypsy Moth, Slingsby Dart, and Fairey Battle Bomber.

Aileron - A hinged control surface on the wing that scares the hell out of airline passengers when it moves.

Airfoils - Swords used for dueling in flight. Often used to settle disputes between crew members and passengers.

Airplane - 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.

Airspeed -
1. The speed of an airplane through the air.
2. True airspeed plus 20% when talking with other pilots. Deduct 25% when listening to an Air Force pilot.
3. Measured in furlongs-per-fortnight in student aircraft.

Air Traffic Control Center - A drafty, ill-kept, barn-like structure in which people congregate for dubious reasons.

Alternate Airport - The airport that no aircraft has sufficient fuel to proceed to if necessary.

Bail Out - Dipping the water out of the cabin after a heavy rainstorm.

Barrel Roll - Unloading the beer for a hangar party.

Caging the Gyro - Not too difficult with domestic species.

Carburetor Ice - Phrase used when reporting a forced landing caused by running out of fuel.

Cessna 310 - More than the sum of two Cessna 150's.

Chart -
1. Large piece of paper, useful for protecting cockpit surfaces from food and beverage stains.
2. An aeronautical map that provides interesting patterns for the manufacturers of children's curtains.

Chock -
1. Sudden and usually unpleasant surprise suffered by Mexican pilots.
2. Piece of wood the lineboy slips in front of wheel while pilot is not looking.

Cockpit -
1. A confined space in which two chickens fight each other, especially when they can't find the airport in a rainstorm.
2. Area in which the pilot sits while attempting to figure out where he is.

Collision - Unplanned contact between one aircraft and another. As a rule, collisions that result in the creation of several smaller and less airworthy aircraft from the original two are thought to be the most serious.

De-icer - De person dat puts de ice on de wing.

Dive - Pilots' lounge or airport cafe.

Engine Failure - A condition that occurs when all fuel tanks become filled with air.

Exceptional Flying Ability - Has equal number of takeoffs and landings.

Fast - Describes the speed of any high-performance aircraft. Lower- performance and training aircraft are described as "half-fast."

Final Approach -
1. Many a seasoned pilot's last landing.
2. 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 vast sums of money to impart knowledge of questionable value and cast serious doubt on the coordination, intelligence, and ancestry of student pilots.

Flight Plan - Scheme to get away from home to go flying.

Glider - Formerly "airplane," prior to running out of fuel.

Gross Weight -
1. A 350-pound pilot (also see "Split S").
2. Maximum permissible takeoff weight plus two suitcases, 10 cans of oil, four sleeping bags, four rifles, eight cases of beer, and the groceries.

Hangar - Home for anything that flies, mostly birds.

Heated Air Mass - Usually found near hangar, flight lounge, airport cafe, or attractive, non-flying members of the opposite sex.

Jet-assisted Takeoff - A rapid-takeoff procedure used by a general aviation pilot who suddenly finds himself taking off on a runway directly in front of a departing 747.

Junkers 52 - A collection of elderly airplanes that even the FAA can't make airworthy.

Lazy 8 -
1. Well-known fly-in resort ranch.
2. The airport operator, his four mechanics, and three lineboys.

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

Motor - A word used by Englishmen and student pilots when referring to an aircraft engine. (Also see "Aerodrome")

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

Occupied - An airline term for lavatory.

Oshkosh - A town in Wisconsin that is the site of the annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in. It is believed to have been named after the sound that most experimental aircraft engines make.

Pilot - A poor, misguided soul who talks about women when he's flying and flying when he's with a woman.

Pitch - The story you give your wife about needing an airplane to use in your business.

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.

Roger - The most popular name in radio.

S-turn - Course flown by student pilot from point A to point B.

Short-field Takeoff - A takeoff from any field less than 10,000 feet long.

Split S - What happens to the pants of overweight pilots (also see "Gross Weight").

Trim Tab -
1. A device that can fly an airplane better than the pilot.
2. Popular diet beverage for fat pilots (also see "Gross Weight").

Useful Load - Volumetric capacity of the aircraft, without regard to cargo weight.

Wilco - Roger's brother, the nerd.

Wing strut - Peculiar, ritualistic walk performed by student pilots upon getting out of low-winged trainers following first flight performed without instructor yelling at them. Usually results in instructor yelling at them.

Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills.

Rule one: No matter what else happens, fly the airplane. Forget all that stuff about thrust and drag, lift and gravity; an airplane flies because of money.

It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

An airplane will probably fly a little bit over gross but it sure won't fly without fuel.

Think ahead of your airplane. I'd rather be lucky than good.

The propeller is just a big fan in the front of the plane to keep the pilot cool. Want proof? Make it stop; then watch the pilot break out into a sweat.

If you're ever faced with a forced landing at night, turn on the landing lights to see the landing area. If you don't like what you see, turn 'em back off.

A check ride ought to be like a skirt, short enough to be interesting but still be long enough to cover everything.

Speed is life, altitude is life insurance. No one has ever collided with the sky.

Always remember you fly an airplane with your head, not your hands.

Never let an airplane take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.

Don't drop the aircraft in order to fly the microphone.

An airplane flies because of a principle discovered by Bernoulli, not Marconi.

Pilots are always found in the wreckage with their hand around the microphone.

If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger, if you pull the stick back they get smaller.

Hovering is for pilots who love to fly but have no place to go.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man ... landing is the first!

Every one already knows the definition of a 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. But very few know the definition of a 'great landing.' It's one after which you can use the airplane another time.

The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.

IFR: abbreviation for "I Follow Roads".

You know you've landed with the wheels up when it takes full power to taxi.

I had a fighter pilot's breakfast - two aspirin, a cup of coffee and a puke.

Those who hoot with the owls by night, should not fly with the eagles by day.

A smooth touchdown in a simulator is about as exciting as kissing your sister.

A helicopter is a collection of rotating parts going round and round and reciprocating parts going up and down - all of them trying to become random in motion.

Helicopters can't really fly - they're just so ugly that the earth immediately repels them!

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

Things which do you no good in aviation:
Altitude above you.
Runway behind you.
Fuel in the truck.
Half a second ago.
Approach plates in the car.
The airspeed you don't have.
A field-grade navigator.

If God meant man to fly, He'd have given him more money.

What's the difference between God and pilots? God doesn't think he's a pilot.

Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.

Flying is the perfect vocation for a man who wants to feel like a boy, but not for one who still is.

There are four ways to fly: the right way, the wrong way, the company way and the captain's way. Only one counts.

A good simulator check ride is like successful surgery on a cadaver.

Asking what a pilot thinks about the FAA is like asking a fireplug what it thinks about dogs.

Trust your captain .... but keep your seat belt securely fastened.

An airplane may disappoint a good pilot, but it won't surprise him.

Any pilot who relies on a terminal forecast can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge.



Revision: 10/28/2010