50 Terms Every Aviation Enthusiast Should Know
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50 Terms Every Aviation Enthusiast Should Know

DALLAS — Aviation is full of terms and sayings that the majority of non-aviation people have a hard time understanding.

From acronyms to plain language synonyms, you can find brand-new meanings for words in the aviation industry. The following list includes 21 flight theory and six meteorological terms, 17 acronyms, and finally, six terms pilots use.

Anhedral varies from aircraft to aircraft. Photo: Saul Hannibal/Airways

Theory of Flight — Aircraft Jargon

  1. Angle of Attack- The angle between the relative airflow and the chord line (see number 6).
  2. Anhedral- The angle of the wings relative to the horizontal of the fuselage.
  3. Aileron- One moving portion of the wing that can move up and down to deflect oncoming air in order to roll the aircraft left and right.
  4. Base Leg- The penultimate leg to turning final while approaching an airport.
  5. Best Angle of Climb- The optimal angle for an aircraft to achieve the greatest altitude in the shortest distance.
  6. Camber- The angle (in degrees) of the curvature of the wing.
  7. Chord Line- An imaginary line connecting the leading edge and trailing edge of a wing.
  8. Empennage- The collective term referring to the entire tail assembly of an aircraft
  9. Elevators- Devices on the horizontal stabilizer that move up and down in order to increase or decrease pitch in order to increase or decrease altitude respectively.
  10. Flaps- Devices on the wing that can extend the wing area of an aircraft in order to increase lift and decrease speed. Allowing an aircraft to maintain lift at a slower speed.
  11. Drag- The backward or rearwards force acting on an aircraft.
  12. Fuselage- The main body of an aircraft (excludes wings).
  13. Lift- The upwards force acting on an aircraft. Required for a fight to take place.
  14. Pilot in Command (PIC)- The pilot responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft.
  15. Roll- The left/right motion of the aircraft about the longitudinal axis (runs nose to tail).
  16. Stall- An condition of flight where the critical angle of attack is exceeded and the wings can no longer produce lift.
  17. Thrust- The forward force acting upon an aircraft. Created by jet turbine engines or propellers.
  18. Weight- The downward motion acting upon an aircraft.
  19. Wing- The surface of the aircraft extending out from the fuselage. Used to create lift as well as house the ailerons and flaps.
  20. Yaw- The left/right motion of the nose. Controlled using the rudder pedals to control the rudder.
  21. Yoke- The cockpit control used to pitch the aircraft up and down, and also used to roll the aircraft left and right. Also known as the control column.

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Featured Image: Brandon Farris/Airways

Joshua is an aviation student majoring in airline and airport management. A student pilot who loves being in the air, Joshua has hands-on experience working with airport authorities and fixed-base operators. He also enjoys traveling to new airports and trying out new airlines. Based in Canada.

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