Airline Terminology Glossary

This glossary contains information on terms, phrases and abbreviations used by the Aviation industry. 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. A full list of aviation terminology can be found here.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

P

Pitot pressure.

Ram air pressure used to measure airspeed.

Pitot-static head.

A combination pickup used to sample pitot pressure and static air pressure.

Planform.

The shape or form of a wing as viewed from above. It may be long and tapered, short and rectangular, or various other shapes.

Pneumatic.

Operation by the use of compressed air.

POH/AFM

See Pilot’s Operating Handbook/Airplane Flight Manual.

Poor judgment chain.

A series of mistakes that may lead to an accident or incident. Two basic principles generally associated with the creation of a poor judgment chain are: (1) one bad decision often leads to another; and (2) as a string of bad decisions grows, it reduces the number of subsequent alternatives for continued safe flight. ADM is intended to break the poor judgment chain before it can cause an accident or incident.

Position error.

Error in the indication of the altimeter, ASI, and VSI caused by the air at the static system entrance not being absolutely still.

Position report.

A report over a known location as transmitted by an aircraft to ATC.

Positive static stability.

The initial tendency to return to a state of equilibrium when disturbed from that state.

Power.

Implies work rate or units of work per unit of time, and as such, it is a function of the speed at which the force is developed. The term “power required” is generally associated with reciprocating engines.

Powerplant.

A complete engine and propeller combination with accessories.

Precession.

The characteristic of a gyroscope that causes an applied force to be felt, not at the point of application, but 90° from that point in the direction of rotation.

Precipitation static (P-static).

A form of radio interference caused by rain, snow, or dust particles hitting the antenna and inducing a small radio-frequency voltage into it.

Precipitation.

Any or all forms of water particles (rain, sleet, hail, or snow) that fall from the atmosphere and reach the surface.

Precision approach path indicator (PAPI).

A system of lights similar to the VASI, but consisting of one row of lights in two- or four-light systems. A pilot on the correct glideslope will see two white lights and two red lights. See VASI.