Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about words, phrases and definitions that are specific to aviation or used in a different way in aviation.

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48
votes
4answers
8k views

What is a running rabbit?

My father used to work as an air traffic controller, and often I heard mention of a 'running rabbit'. Obviously, vermin on the runways of airports can be a bad thing, but I don't think he was ...
41
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4answers
16k views

Why is the autopilot called “George?”

The autopilot of an airplane is frequently referred to as "George" (for example, in this answer). When did this nickname enter common usage, and what is its origin? Please cite sources if possible!
40
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2answers
5k views

What does the letter G mean in a runway identifier?

Boulder Municipal Airport (KBDU) has runways 8 / 26 and also runways 8G / 26G. What is the significance of the letter G following the runway numbers?
37
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3answers
140k views

What are the differences between Bearing vs Course vs Direction vs Heading vs Track?

This answer from English.SE does not focus on aviation, and does not explain 'Track'. In basic, simple English, would you please compare and contrast all 5 terms in my question's title? The ...
37
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2answers
14k views

What do jet pilots say during the takeoff as they are speeding down the runway?

I was watching a documentary on youtube and the pilots always say something that sounds like "B1E" when they have enough speed to take off. What exactly are they saying, and why do they say it?
32
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3answers
57k views

What is the difference between “flight level” and “altitude”?

I have seen references to "FL180" and "FL300", and I know that they stand for Flight Level 180 and Flight Level 300. I've also seen references to "an altitude of 18000ft" or "an altitude of 30000ft". ...
27
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2answers
7k views

What is a rubber engine?

I hear it a lot in engine design , I think that belongs to some phase about we can change the engine parameters according to requirements but I am not sure about it.
25
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2answers
86k views

What is the difference between centre of pressure, aerodynamic centre and neutral point?

I have just started learning some aerospace concepts, and I am not able to understand the difference between the three terms centre of pressure, aerodynamic centre and neutral point. What are their ...
25
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3answers
6k views

Why do we call moving an aircraft on the ground “taxi”?

We all know what "taxi" means to general public -- a car which carries you from A to B in exchange for your paying a fare. "Taxi" also means to drive an aircraft on the ground. Why do we call it that?...
22
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4answers
14k views

What is it called when an airplane has to circle because it can't land?

Sometimes, a plane is required to circle around an airport repeatedly because for whatever reason, it is not able or permitted to land just yet. This state in which a plane is stuck in the air in ...
22
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5answers
10k views

What exactly do “captain”, “pilot”, “co-pilot” and “first officer” mean?

I know the co-pilot sits beside the pilot. But it's not clear for me, who is the captain and who is the first officer? And where they are sitting during the flight? Who is in right seat and who is in ...
22
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3answers
4k views

What exactly is the meaning of “detent” in aviation?

I come across it in many different situations e.g. "settings changed to flight detent" or "landing altitude changes at first detent". There are other scenarios which I came across in the past, but I ...
22
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2answers
12k views

Why do we call it an apron?

Where did the term apron come from? Follow up question as suggested by @Pyritie.
21
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5answers
66k views

What does the term “trimming” most commonly mean in aviation?

Why does an airplane need trim, and what does it do during the flight? Does an autopilot adjust the trim automatically?
21
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3answers
2k views

Why is the “Dutch” roll called so?

Why is the "Dutch" roll called so? When did this name enter common usage, and what is its origin? Please cite sources if possible!
20
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3answers
3k views

How exactly should I understand the term “accidental hull loss”?

How can the IATA claim that the year 2015 saw no accidental hull losses, if we had the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident? Even if this one is not considered "an accident" then there are a few others (...
20
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1answer
18k views

What is the difference between aviation “accident” and “incident”?

When I hear speaking about aviation crashes, sometimes I hear about "accidents" and other times about "incidents". What distinguishes them? Is there an international standard that determines how ...
20
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3answers
11k views

What are the differences between various simulator levels?

I've heard of level A, B, C, and D simulators, (as well as FTD and AATDs) but know nothing about them. What criteria is used to certify a sim as a particular level?
19
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2answers
5k views

Why do we call it a ramp?

Airport ramps are close to level, not inclined. What is the history and etymology of this aviation term?
18
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6answers
4k views

What would be a technical or slang term for 'in the air'?

I'm writing a sci-fi story involving aircraft and space craft. I'm struggling to get the terminology right for referring to a pilot being 'in the air' either on a mission or a training exercise. I ...
18
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5answers
6k views

Is there a difference between “aerobatic” and “acrobatic” flight?

I hear and read both the terms "aerobatic" and "acrobatic" used to describe the more extreme maneuvers such as spins, rolls, loops and more. My questions is about the terms themselves. It seems that ...
18
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2answers
13k views

What is the difference between a fix, a waypoint and an intersection?

It seems these terms are used interchangeably. Are they the same thing? Do they all refer to the points in space that are given 5-letter names?
17
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2answers
20k views

What exactly is a QRH?

In this question about aircraft dumping fuel I was told that there may possible be guidance in the QRH. I know that there are a lot of guidelines given to pilots, but I've never heard of this one. ...
17
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1answer
1k views

If an airplane touches down short of the runway, and doesn't reach it, is it still a runway excursion?

In light of the two recent incidents where aircraft landed roughly 1000 ft short of their intended runways, Air Canada AC-624 at Halifax and Asiana OZ-162 at Hiroshima, I started thinking the ...
17
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1answer
8k views

What is the difference between “sensitive” and “non-sensitive” altimeters?

In this answer reference was made to "sensitive" and "non-sensitive" altimeters. What is the definition of each, what are the differences, and why would one be used in preference to the other? And ...
16
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2answers
5k views

What does it mean to “firewall” an aircraft engine?

I (think) I understand what a firewall is (at least, in a single engine aircraft where the engine is at the front of the fuselage), but what does it mean "to firewall" an aircraft's engines, as ...
16
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4answers
7k views

What is a canard?

While browsing this Stack Exchange, I regularly come across mentions of canards. I am not familiar with this term, and Google only gives information about ducks when I search for "canard". So, what is ...
16
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3answers
7k views

Why is it called “Dry Thrust”?

When reading the specifications of a jet aircraft anywhere on the Internet, it usually states that its engine produces X pounds of "dry thrust". Why is it called "Dry" Thrust? As opposed to what?
16
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3answers
3k views

Is it still “landing” in a seaplane?

This probably sounds like a silly question, but I was watching floatplanes land on Lake Union, Seattle, and it got me wondering whether a plane that touches down onto water is still talked about as "...
16
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1answer
5k views

What is the difference between fail-safe and fail-soft?

I have heard the following terms related to safe system design but I cannot really see a difference between fail-safe and fail-soft (graceful degradation). To get a common understanding I will just ...
16
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5answers
1k views

What exactly is a “drone”?

I was under the impression that things like this: and soon this and even this Are drones. When and how did the media and the general public get the idea that these: Are also drones? I'm not ...
16
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3answers
29k views

What is the difference between GPS, GNSS and RNAV?

I would like to know the fundamental difference between GPS, GNSS and RNAV. How are they related each other? Are all/some of them synonyms?
16
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2answers
13k views

What is the history of “Joker” and “Bingo” fuel terms?

Why do we use, in military aircraft, the words "Joker" and "Bingo" to indicate the fuel status of the aircraft? What is the history of these two terms?
15
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7answers
4k views

What is it called when you roll without yawing or pitching?

My instructor made me do an exercise that consists of banking the sailplane left and right around 30 degrees without moving from the axis. I need to aim for a specific point, and start with the ...
15
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4answers
41k views

What is the difference between a nacelle and a cowling?

I see these terms used almost interchangeably. To my understanding they both refer to the covering of an engine. Is there a technical difference between the two?
15
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3answers
5k views

What's an “altitude engine”?

FAR 91.205(b)(8) says that you need a manifold pressure gauge for each "altitude engine", whatever that means. What's an "altitude" engine?
15
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1answer
2k views

What is that invisible bump in the air called that occurs after completing a 360 degree turn?

Does that bump you feel after completing a level 360 degree turn in an airplane have a proper name? I've heard it called an "attaboy bump", but obviously thats not a proper name. My understanding is ...
15
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1answer
2k views

When buying airliners what is the difference between “orders”, “options” and “purchase rights”?

I've often seen announcements by aircraft manufacturers or operators along these lines "Qantas announced today that they will buy 10 A380's and have taken options on another 10". What does it mean to ...
14
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3answers
7k views

What is the name of the maximum altitude at which a helicopter can fly?

What is the name of the maximum altitude at which a helicopter can fly? I recall it as "vertical limit", but I can't find a Wikipedia page for it other than a movie of the same title, which seems to ...
14
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4answers
33k views

What is the difference between slice, segment and leg?

I have heard of the terms slice, segment and leg. Since I am a newbie in travel industry, I would like to know and understand the basic differences between the three. Could someone please explain ...
14
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1answer
3k views

What, exactly, is a “co-pilot”?

When I speak of a co-worker, or a co-driver, I'm speaking of a mutual relationship and status (that's simply how the prefix co works in normal English) and I'm pretty sure it's what most people mean ...
14
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3answers
7k views

Regarding N1 and N2, what does the “N” stand for?

I initially phrased this question in a comment to another question regarding what N1 and N2 mean, hoping it would be that sort of low-hanging fruit that is easily answerable and not worth a proper ...
13
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4answers
3k views

What is the official term for a gas / petrol station for planes?

I'm talking specifically about small airports where they don't have the fancy equipment and they actually have to go to a specific place to refuel for example cars go to gas station / petrol station ...
13
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3answers
2k views

What does “out of trim” mean?

Our flight was delayed from takeoff because the captain reported it to be "out of trim". What does this mean?
13
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2answers
4k views

What does the word “boot” mean?

I found this word "boot" in one book. The chapter was connected with ICING operations, and I found this word with little explanation: A tube bonded to a surface, e.g. wing edge. When pressurized ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Is GOCE a satellite or aircraft?

This vessel (GOCE) is in orbit and maneuvers by using air similar to a plane to create lift and turn. The solar powered ion thrusters powers it continuously inside the atmosphere for years. Is this ...
12
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6answers
2k views

What is Density Altitude?

I'm trying to get a deep understanding of the term: Density Altitude. So I have read the explanations in my instruction book, and online articles. One source explained it differently then the other ...
12
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5answers
8k views

Are “Tally-ho” and “no joy” acceptable ATC terms for civil operations?

I keep meaning to ask this question. I heard "Tally-ho" used for the first time by a pilot on Liveatc.net. I know these are pretty standard phrases in military aviation but I wondered if civil pilots ...
12
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3answers
20k views

What is the origin of the term “pax”?

Pax in commercial transport is used as something like persons or passengers, in the context of counting people, e.g. 150 pax onboard. (Amadeus capture, source) I observed that in German writers tend ...
12
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3answers
10k views

What's the difference between racetrack and holding pattern?

Is there any difference between them or they are only synonymous?