94 votes
Accepted

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.
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
63 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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
45 votes
Accepted

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
45 votes
Accepted

Is there a common name for ailerons, elevators and rudder?

Primary control surfaces is the typical name for ailerons, elevators, rudders, etc. Auxiliary flight controls include things like flaps, slats, slots, spoilers, leading edge devices, etc. Secondary ...
Wyatt's user avatar
  • 1,963
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 (...
Pugz's user avatar
  • 3,688
41 votes
Accepted

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. (...
Party Ark's user avatar
  • 13k
41 votes

What is meant by "Fox Two"?

Fox codes are used by NATO military aircraft to designate a release of an air-to-air munition, generally missiles. Fox One is a semi-active radar guided missile, for example the AIM-7 Sparrow. This ...
Benson_YoureFired's user avatar
40 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 ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
40 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 ...
rclocher3's user avatar
  • 1,409
40 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
37 votes

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

It's called a holding pattern.
SpicyRiceTea's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user31011's user avatar
  • 854
33 votes
Accepted

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-...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
31 votes
Accepted

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-...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.7k
31 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Dean F.'s user avatar
  • 16.5k
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, ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.7k
29 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Steve V.'s user avatar
  • 23.2k
29 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
29 votes
Accepted

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
28 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the term "pax"?

The 'x' suffix is aviation speak in an abbreviated word called a contraction. You can think of the 'x' as "cut short" shorthand. Some are defined in manuals or advisory circulars. For ...
STWilson's user avatar
  • 1,746
28 votes
Accepted

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 ....
27 votes
Accepted

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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
27 votes
Accepted

What’s the difference between “Bandit” and “Bogey”

According to the Multiservice Tactical Brevity Codes a Bandit is An aircraft identified as enemy, in accordance with theater ID criteria. The term does not necessarily imply direction or authority to ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33k
27 votes

What is a "pickle switch" in civil aviation?

The term pickle switch is now generically used for a kind of handheld electronic switch. They were originally used as the bomb release switch in WWII. The handle of the switch is a cylindrical object ...
Rob McDonald's user avatar
  • 11.3k
26 votes
Accepted

What does Line imply in Line Replaceable Unit?

"Line" refers to "Air Line" or "Flight Line". It's the same "line" as when you refer to "line operations" or, for pilots, "line indoctrination&...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
25 votes

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

There is no generic name in aviation describing the state of an aircraft being hold up and unable to land. The simplest term I have in mind is "circling the airport". Depending on the way the ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
25 votes
Accepted

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

Capt left, 1st officer or copilot right. On older airlines with a flight engineer, he is behind and is called 2nd officer. It's the same as a ship. Capt is boss, 1st officer is second in command, ...
John K's user avatar
  • 131k
24 votes

What does "out of trim" mean?

In this context, it would mean the aircraft is loaded in such a way that the Center of Gravity is too far forward or aft. That's actually not the way we usually use the word "trim" in aviation but it'...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.6k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible