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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 mean aerodynamic chord
The instrument that displays the ratio of the speed of sound to the true airspeed an aircraft is flying.
The ratio of the true airspeed of the aircraft to the speed of sound in the same atmospheric conditions, named in honor of Ernst Mach, late 19th century physicist.
The direction to or from a radio transmitting station measured relative to magnetic north.
A device for determining direction measured from magnetic north.
A vertical attraction between a compass needle and the magnetic poles. The closer the aircraft is to a pole, the more severe the effect.
A self-contained, engine-driven unit that supplies electrical current to the spark plugs; completely independent of the airplane’s electrical system. Normally there are two magnetos per engine.
Lifting force produced when a rotating cylinder produces a pressure differential. This is the same effect that makes a baseball curve or a golf ball slice.
Ability of an aircraft to change directions along a flightpath and withstand the stresses imposed upon it.
The maximum speed at which full, abrupt control movement can be used without overstressing the airframe.
The absolute pressure of the fuel/air mixture within the intake manifold, usually indicated in inches of mercury.
The amount of matter in a body.
The total weight of a loaded aircraft, including all fuel. It is greater than the takeoff weight due to the fuel that will be burned during the taxi and runup operations. Ramp weight may also be referred to as taxi weight.
The maximum authorized weight of the aircraft and all of its equipment as specified in the Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS) for the aircraft.
See magnetic bearing.
The average height of the surface of the sea at a particular location for all stages of the tide over a 19-year period.
See minimum equipment list.
A layer of the atmosphere directly above the stratosphere.
See Aviation Routine Weather Report.
See multi-function display.
See magnetic heading.
A strong downdraft which normally occurs over horizontal distances of 1 NM or less and vertical distances of less than 1,000 feet. In spite of its small horizontal scale, an intense microburst could induce windspeeds greater than 100 knots and downdrafts as strong as 6,000 feet per minute.
Airspace of defined vertical and lateral dimensions established for the conduct of military training at airspeeds in excess of 250 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS).
The point on the total drag curve where the lift-to-drag ratio is the greatest. At this speed, total drag is minimized.
A list developed for larger aircraft that outlines equipment that can be inoperative for various types of flight including IFR and icing conditions. This list is based on the master minimum equipment list (MMEL) developed by the FAA and must be approved by the FAA for use. It is specific to an individual aircraft make and model.
A mixture of clear ice and rime ice.
See military operations area.
Altitude reporting transponder mode.
The product of the weight of an item multiplied by its arm. Moments are expressed in pound-inches (lb-in). Total moment is the weight of the airplane multiplied by the distance between the datum and the CG.
The distance from a datum to the applied force.
A moment divided by a constant such as 100, 1,000, or 10,000. The purpose of using a moment index is to simplify weight and balance computations of airplanes where heavy items and long arms result in large, unmanageable numbers.
A shell-like fuselage design in which the stressed outer skin is used to support the majority of imposed stresses. Monocoque fuselage design may include bulkheads but not stringers.
Airplanes with a single set of wings.
A movable auxiliary airfoil on the leading edge of a wing. It is closed in normal flight but extends at high angles of attack. This allows air to continue flowing over the top of the wing and delays airflow separation.
See mean sea level
See military training route.
Small screen (CRT or LCD) in an aircraft that can be used to display information to the pilot in numerous configurable ways. Often an MFD will be used in concert with a primary flight display.