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Over the years I have been aware of the term "Tyro" to mean a new or inexperienced pilot. I'm pretty sure it is/was used more in a military setting than a GA one, but none the less I was interested to know if anyone knows the origin of this term, and the reason why it is used? Is it still used commonly?

This may be a term only used in the RAF, I don't know.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's just a synonym of novice, it is used outside of aviation. Like many other aviation terms (e.g. pilot) its origins precede the first manned flight and it was and is used for non-aviation novices. Aviators borrowed many existing terms.

tyro (n.)
1610s, from Medieval Latin tyro, variant of Latin tiro (plural tirones) 
"young soldier, recruit, beginner," of unknown origin.


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Ok, thats good. The "google" answer. But when, and why was this applied to pilots? – Jamiec Jun 25 '14 at 9:36
@Jamiec: From ngrams I'd expect it to have been used the day after the Wright brothers started calling themselves air pilots (compared with river pilots?) – RedGrittyBrick Jun 25 '14 at 9:41
I think your edit makes this a much clearer answer. Thanks. – Jamiec Jun 25 '14 at 10:02
Tyro doesn't get much usage these days outside of two real areas: pilot jargon and wizard's apprentices. – corsiKa Jun 25 '14 at 15:00
@corsiKa: ... and football and karting and lifeguards and offroading and bloggers and ... – RedGrittyBrick Jun 25 '14 at 15:15

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