General Aviation Terms
If you frequently fly a fixed route, you have probably heard some of these general aviation terms.
- ABORT – Cancel a mission at the last minute. This usually pertains to takeoffs and landings but can relate to dropping a bomb and, occasionally, opening fire on a target.
- Air pocket – A temporary burst of turbulence
- Bird men – Pilots
- Bird Dog – Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) or radio compass
- Blowtorch – Jet engines, jet airplane
- Boom Carpet – Area on the ground that where a sonic boom from shockwaves is heard as the jet passes
- Chopper – A helicopter, of course
- ETA – Estimated time of arrival
- Feet wet – Alerts air traffic controllers to the fact that a military aircraft is flying over a body of water
- Feet dry – A military aircraft is flying over land.
- Five by five – Radio receptions is loud and clear (loudness and clarity being measured on a scale of 1 – 5)
- Flat out – flying at full speed or full throttle
- Flying the beam – Flying along a radio beam transmitted especially for aerial navigation as a guide
- Flying the needles – The controls of a flight or flight instrumentation
- George – Automatic pilot System
- No-Go Gauge – Cockpit instruments that indicate the malfunction of other instruments (idiot lights)
- PROP (or Jet) – Blast of air behind the engines
- Stacked – Planes circling an airport in a holding pattern due to congestion or some other reason, normally waiting to land.
- Touchdown – The moment of contact between plane and ground during landing
- Weathered in – Forced to stay grounded due to bad weather
- Yoke – One of the many current terms for the control column of an airplane. Others include wheel, stick or simply ‘controls’. The yoke was referred to as the joystick initially, and it sometimes still is.
- Zero in – Target in sight and ready to be engaged
- Zero-zero – No ceiling, no visibility
Aviation Terms You Don’t Want to Hear In Flight
As a passenger, you need to be confident in jet safety 101. It helps to understand what the crew is saying so that you can rest easy when they use certain aviation terms during flight. When the bird men are discussing the blowtorch or the yoke, it gives you peace of mind to know that they’re not referring to a strange science experiment going on in the back of the plane.
- Augur In – Have a major accident
- Buy the ranch/ farm – A fatal crash (basically referring to the crash site as ‘the ranch’ or ‘farm’)
- Creamed (his bird) – Crashed his aircraft
- Dead stick landing – Landing an aircraft without power
- Ditch – Emergency water landing
- Flame out – Loss of fire in the combustion chamber, causing a power failure in a jet engine
- Nose Over – Upending unto the nose
- Prang – To have an accident
- Scrub – Cancel the flight
- Two-for-one special – The plane bounces up at touchdown before landing again.