93 votes
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What does "Boeing" mean?

It's named for one of its founders William E. Boeing which is the American spelling of his father's German surname "Böing". To answer the question directly: it does not mean anything in particular.
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92 votes
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What are the differences between Bearing vs Course vs Direction vs Heading vs Track?

This is how I explain it! Heading: This is where my nose points - and seeing as my nose is attached to my head, this is where my head (and thus my machine) is pointing relative to north. Course: This ...
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  • 1,186
64 votes
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What do jet pilots say during the takeoff as they are speeding down the runway?

What you are hearing is "V-One", written as V1. It actually is said when they can no longer safely abort the takeoff with the remaining runway, but they still are not quite ready to takeoff. ...
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62 votes

What is a "runaway supercharger"?

The B-17 had General Electric exhaust-gas-driven turbochargers (or more correctly, turbo-superchargers) that had pilot selectable boost levels. A selector dial in the cockpit controlled the operation ...
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55 votes
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What is a running rabbit?

Background The Sequenced Flashing Lights are part of some approach lighting systems and are a row of strobe lights that flash in sequence to direct the pilots eyes to the runway. They are useful in ...
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46 votes
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Why is the autopilot called "George?"

The first "practical" autopilot was invented by George DeBeeson (the patent can be found here, updated here) - This seems to be the most likely reason for the informal name "George" for the autopilot ...
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45 votes
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What does “Ground loops are costly. Fly them until they stop” mean?

It just means "pay attention to what you are doing" until you are no longer moving. "Fly them" means "keep actively controlling the plane as if you were still in the air". Don't start daydreaming ...
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43 votes
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What is the difference between "flight level" and "altitude"?

Flight levels use QNE or pressure altitude, while altitude references QNH or local pressure adjusted to sea level pressure. Altitudes are used at low levels and flight levels at higher levels. The ...
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43 votes

What does the letter G mean in a runway identifier?

For runways with other than hard surfaces it is common to list the runways with a letter G for grass or in the case of a seaplane base, with W for water. An example of this is runway 8G at Boulder (...
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42 votes
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At what point does an aircraft become an airliner?

I think there's a misunderstanding here that airliner ("an airplane operated by an airline") is directly derived from airline. While it is a reasonable definition, "airliner" predates airline. (...
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  • 9,431
41 votes

What is a rubber engine?

A rubber engine is not to be confused with a rubber motor (a rubber band which is twisted in order to store energy which can be released when the rubber band untwists. This type of engine is good for ...
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40 votes
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What is a "runaway supercharger"?

The B-17 uses the term "Turbo Supercharger" which refers to just a Turbocharger (As John K points out in the comments, the former is actually the technically correct term). The B-17 had an ...
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38 votes

What is the purpose of classifying fighters?

People like to classify things, to divide them into categories. Categorizing allows people to get an initial broad understanding of a complicated subject more quickly. It is therefore very useful ...
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37 votes

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

It's called a holding pattern.
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35 votes
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What does it mean to "firewall" an aircraft engine?

"To firewall" is a phrase meaning to go to full power. Most aircraft throttle controls provide full power when moved to their furthest forward position - the direction towards the firewall separating ...
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33 votes
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What is the difference between centre of pressure, aerodynamic centre and neutral point?

Any body moving in a fluid experiences pressure forces over its surface. The concepts of center of pressure, aerodynamics center and neutral point are useful in understanding the effects of these ...
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33 votes
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Does a Boeing 747-830 exist and if it does, is there any difference to a 747-8 (748)

Until 2016 Boeing included customer codes into the aircraft model names. Your example 747-830 decodes as follows: 747: This is the general aircraft series. -8: The 747-8 variant (in this case, a 747-...
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31 votes
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What is the difference between fail-safe and fail-soft?

Fail-safe does not necessarily imply that the system will continue operating after a fail. If the system stops operating but does not create a dangerous situation, it is still fail-safe. A non-...
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31 votes
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What is an aircraft magneto?

A magneto is a gear driven electric generation device connected to the crankshaft of the engine. It supplies the ignition system (spark plugs) with power. Each engine has two magnetos. Each cylinder ...
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30 votes
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What is the difference between aviation "accident" and "incident"?

There are indeed only two 'official' classifications of aviation incidents, which are defined in ICAO Annex 13. Accident. An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes ...
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30 votes
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What does the term "tanker" mean when used in regards to a passenger airliner?

Since the 1960's and 1970's when political hijackings were a problem, airplanes started to only carry the fuel required for the flight. This means a typical fuel load will be something on the order ...
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  • 34.8k
30 votes

What exactly is the meaning of "detent" in aviation?

A detent is usually a discontinuity in force at a certain position: the control likes to move into that position, and moving it away takes more than average force. Image source In the image above, ...
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29 votes
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What does the abbreviation "SCMOH", related to an engine overhaul, mean?

The C refers to "Channel Chrome" (SCMOH = Since Chrome Major Overhaul), a plating process used to restore worn-oversize cylinder bores. What they do is electroplate the cylinder bores to ...
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28 votes
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What would be a technical or slang term for 'in the air'?

She kept the Squadron Leader updated as much as she needed to, but she preferred to keep comms chatter to a minimum when she was... Military-related terms: ...on patrol ...on station ...on a sortie ....
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What is the name of the movement which is carried out by plane beginning from the runway and ending at takeoff?

Takeoff Roll As per the FAA handbook (page 5-2) Takeoff roll (ground roll) is the portion of the takeoff procedure during which the airplane is accelerated from a standstill to an airspeed ...
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27 votes
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Why is it called "Dry Thrust"?

Dry thrust usually means the non-augumented thrust i.e. thrust without the use of afterburners or liquid injection. The maximum thrust produced by jet engines w/o afterburner is sometimes called ...
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27 votes
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What is Density Altitude?

The concept of 'density altitude' is kind of like the concept of 'wind chill'. Stick with me here, I'm going somewhere with this. Cold weather is dangerous for the human body, and wind (because of ...
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26 votes
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What does YF stand for?

The 'Y' in YF stands for prototype according to the Tri-Service aircraft designation system. The 'F' stands for fighter, so YF stands for prototype-Fighter. These aircraft are operated by the US ...
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  • 98.3k
25 votes
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What is the difference between a flow and a checklist?

Generally speaking a checklist is an actual list of items to check, and a flow is a pattern of movement across the aircraft controls (switches, dials, etc.) which will accomplish some subset of the ...
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