AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Pilot Talk: Aviation Terminology To Know

If you have ever overheard a conversation between pilots, you may have noticed their conversation is riddled with phrases and words you have never heard before. To the average person, this can sound like an entirely new language; to pilots, this is the basic aviation terminology they are expected to know. In this blog, we will cover some of the key terms you should become familiar with, ensuring you can decode what your pilots are communicating to each other during flight.

  1. Above Ground Level (AGL)

This term is used to define the height above the physical land or water surface beneath the aircraft.

  1. Adverse Yaw

Adverse yaw is the opposite force exerted against the nose of an aircraft during a turn.

  1. Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

The AIM is an official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publication that provides instructions concerning the proper operation of aircraft in the US National Airspace System.

  1. Aileron

Ailerons are hinged control surfaces located at the trailing edge of aircraft wings that help the pilot keep the aircraft balanced while also allowing for the control of the roll along the longitudinal axis.

  1. Air Speed Indicator (ASI)

An ASI is a cockpit instrument that calculates and displays aircraft speed in miles per hour and/or knots.

  1. Airfoil

Airfoils are the cross-sectional shape of a wing that produces lift through aerodynamic force.

  1. Altimeter

Altimeters are an instrument found in the cockpit that uses atmospheric pressure to calculate and display the aircraft’s MSL altitude.

  1. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The FAA is the division of the Department of Transportation concerned with aviation. It operates Air Traffic Control (AT) and regulates everything from aircraft manufacturing to pilot training, among other aircraft operations in the United States.

  1. Flaps

Flaps are movable surfaces on the aircraft wings that alter airfoil properties, enabling pilots to control drag and lift at low speeds.

  1. Fuselage

This term is used to describe the aircraft’s main body cabin, which contains passengers, crew, and cargo.

  1. Horizontal Stabilizer

The horizontal stabilizer is a small lifting surface on the tail of an aircraft that helps it maintain stability during flight.

  1. Landing Gear

The landing gear consists of wheels and other components positioned below the fuselage that assist in takeoff, taxiing, and landing while providing structural support.

  1. Rudder

The rudder is a vertically mounted surface on the tail of the aircraft that controls the movement of its nose to the left and right.

  1. Throttle

Controlled by the pilot, this valve is located in the carburetor or fuel control unit and determines aircraft speed by channeling a specific amount of fuel in the engine.

  1. Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI)

The VSI is a cockpit instrument that uses shifts in atmospheric pressure to calculate and display the aircraft rate of ascent or descent.

  1. Vertical Stabilizer

The vertical stabilizer is the large swinging surface on the aircraft’s tail that helps maintain stability during flight.


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