The Aeroplanes
Aviation Dictionary
What words really mean....
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 -
1. Swords used for dueling in flight. Often used to settle disputes between crew members and passengers.
2. What pilots wrap their sandwiches in.

Airframe -
When the FAA inspector knows that you have only a student license and sends his kids to bum a ride with you in the plane.

Air Mass -
Impromptu religious service held on board an aircraft immediately following an announcement by the pilot that he is lost, having an engine problem, or running out of fuel.

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 a Naval aviator.
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 -
1. The airport that no aircraft has sufficient fuel to proceed to if necessary.
2. The area directly beyond the active runway when the engine quits on take off.

Altimeter Setting -
The place where the altimeter sets. Usually hidden by the control column during a near-minimums instrument approach.

A measurement of aviation expense. 1 AMU (Aviation Monetary Unit) is equal to $1000. Using AMU's assists in disguising the actual costs of flying.

Angle of Attack -
Pick-up lines that pilots use.

Arresting Gear -
Police equipment used for keeping order at airport parties.

Autopilot -
A would-be airplane pilot who flunked his checkride.

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.

Captain -
Any airline pilot wearing four stripes on his sleeve; often found strolling down Lovers' Lane holding his own hand.

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

Certificated Aircraft -
One that has all hazardous features camouflaged.

Wind Speed Descriptions 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.

Clear -
1. Forecaster's term for low overcast.
2. Warning shouted two seconds after hitting the starter button.
    (Note: If you have an airport dog, never name him "Clear"!)

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.

Cone of Confusion -
An area about the size of New Jersey, located near the final approach beacon at an airport.

Control Tower -
A small shack on stilts inhabited by government pensioners who can't hear. When they become blind, they are sent to centers.

Course -
Popular alternate landing field marked by fairways and greens. Curiously, pilots who land here are said to be "off-course."

Crab -
1. A technique used by pilots to compensate for crosswinds, usually without success.
2. Pilot who has just ground-looped after trying unsuccessfully to use this technique.
3. The squadron Ops Officer.

Critical Engine -
That part of your airplane which used to be under the cowl, but is now in intensive care at the maintenance shop.

Cuban 8 -
A family of political refugees in Miami.

Dead Reckoning -
You reckon correctly, or you are.

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.

Fear And Alarm

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.
3. Last pass a pilot makes at the opposite sex before giving up.

Firewall -
Section of the aircraft specially designed to let heat and smoke enter the cockpit.

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.

Glide Distance -
Half the distance from the airplane to the nearest emergency landing field.

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, a bowling ball, 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.

Holding Pattern -
The term applied to the dogfight in progress over any radio facility serving a terminal airport.

Hotel -
The letter H as pronounced in the phonetic alphabet. Most often heard in intercom conversations between pilots and flight attendants.

Hydroplane -
An airplane designed to land on a 20,000 foot long wet runway.

IFR - The Wreck
1. I Follow Roads
2. A method of flying by needle and ripcord.

Jet-assisted Takeoff -
1. 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.
2. Takeoff by pilot who ordered enchiladas for lunch at the airport coffee shop.

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

Kilometer -
A unit of measurement used on charts to further confuse pilots who already have trouble with knots.

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.

Magneto -
1. Spanish for, "What a cool-looking magnet!"
2. Not-very-famous Italian vaudeville magician, "The Great Magneto."

Mode -
Term used by pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille during WWI to describe what they had to land in during rainy weather.

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

Nanosecond -
Time delay built into the stall warning system.

National Airport -
Inordinately congested airport in Washington, D.C. whose Potomac River approach was used by Korean War pilots practicing to bomb the bridges at Toko-Ri.

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.

Parasitic Drag -
A pilot who bums a ride and complains about the service.

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.

Pitot Tube -
On long flights, something into which the pilot can pitot.

Prop Wash -
1. Cleaning agent used by student pilots.
2. Pilots' equivalent of "hogwash."

Pylon -
All aboard!

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 without colliding with each other. Player with the fewest collisions wins.

Range -
Usually about 30 miles beyond the point where all fuel tanks fill with air.

Roger -
1. The most popular name in radio transmissions - followed by Dodger, Codger, Over & Out..
2. Used when you're not sure what else to say.

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").

Spoilers -
The Federal Aviation Administration.

Tactics -
What the instrument panel clock sounds like when it needs fixing. An improperly tuned clock goes "Tock Tick" instead of "Tick Tock".

Taildragger -
1. An old pilot after a long flight.
2. A young pilot who over-rotates a tricycle gear aircraft on takeoff or landing.

Tailwind -
Results from eating beans in the airport coffee shop; often causes oxygen deficiency in the immediate vicinity.

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.

Walkaround -
What you do when waiting for weather to clear.

Wilco -
Roger's brother, the nerd.

Windsock -
Well-perforated item of clothing worn inside the shoe by underpaid copilot who can't afford a replacement or a darning needle. Field of Dreams

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.

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