American Flyers

    • Academies

  • Now Hiring



While this list does not include all aviation terminology, it is the purpose of this glossary to aid the general viewer in better understanding aviation terms as it pertains to content on this website.



























See area forecast
Federal Aviation Administration.
Inaccurate visual information for aligning the aircraft, caused by various natural and geometric formations that disorient the pilot from the actual horizon.
See flight director indicator.
Class E airspace areas that extend upward from 1,200 feet to, but not including, 18,000 feet MSL, unless otherwise specified.
Staring at a single instrument, thereby interrupting the cross-check process.
A fixed, nozzle shaped opening near the leading edge of a wing that ducts air onto the top surface of the wing. Its purpose is to increase lift at higher angles of attack.
Propellers with fixed blade angles. Fixed-pitch propellers are designed as climb propellers, cruise propellers, or standard propellers.
See flight level.
Hinged portion of the trailing edge between the ailerons and fuselage. In some aircraft ailerons and flaps are interconnected to produce full-span “flaperons.” In either case, flaps change the lift and drag on the wing.
Adjusting the aircraft control surfaces (including flaps and landing gear) in a manner that will achieve a specified attitude.
One of the major components of a flight director system, it provides steering commands that the pilot (or the autopilot, if coupled) follows.
A measure of altitude (in hundreds of feet) used by aircraft flying above 18,000 feet with the altimeter set at 29.92 “Hg.
Provides pilot and crew with highly accurate and automatic long-range navigation capability, blending available inputs from long- and short-range sensors.
The line, course, or track along which an aircraft is flying or is intended to be flown.
Basic maneuvers, flown by reference to the instruments rather than outside visual cues, for the purpose of practicing basic attitude flying. The patterns simulate maneuvers encountered on instrument flights such as holding patterns, procedure turns, and approaches.
See flight management system.
Cloud consisting of numerous minute water droplets and based at the surface; droplets are small enough to be suspended in the earth’s atmosphere indefinitely. (Unlike drizzle, it does not fall to the surface. Fog differs from a cloud only in that a cloud is not based at the surface, and is distinguished from haze by its wetness and gray color.)
The energy applied to an object that attempts to cause the object to change its direction, speed, or motion. In aerodynamics, it is expressed as F, T (thrust), L (lift), W (weight), or D (drag), usually in pounds.
The drag created because of the shape of a component or the aircraft.
Aileron having the nose portion projecting ahead of the hinge line. When the trailing edge of the aileron moves up, the nose projects below the wing’s lower surface and produces some parasite drag, decreasing the amount of adverse yaw.
The boundary between two different air masses.
Ice crystal deposits formed by sublimation when temperature and dewpoint are below freezing.
The expendable part of the load of the airplane. It includes only usable fuel, not fuel required to fill the lines or that which remains trapped in the tank sumps.
Pilot skills of instrument cross-check, instrument interpretation, and aircraft control.
The section of the airplane that consists of the cabin and/or cockpit, containing seats for the occupants and the controls for the airplane.