|ATC and Aviation Glossary|
|AFSS (Automated Flight Service Station) A (non-air traffic control) FAA facility providing pilots with weather briefing and flight-plan filing by radio, telephone and in person. Monitors flight plans for overdue aircraft and initiates search and rescue services. "Automated" refers to telephone call handling equipment and computer information systems aiding pilot briefers.|
|• FSS (Flight Service Station) FAA weather briefing and flight plan facility which once numbered 361 U.S. locations before most were consolidated into 61 AFSS. Usually on an airport to handle walk-in traffic. Some still provide AAS (Airport Advisory Services) to local air traffic where volume cannot justify a control tower.|
• XFSS (Auxiliary Flight Service Station) A local-service FSS facility retained where special operational or weather conditions mandated an exception from consolidation.Provides only airport advisories and weather observations. Twenty of the 46 XFSSs are in Alaska.
AGL (Above Ground Level) Altitude expressed as feet above terrain or airport elevation (see MSL).
AILERONS An aircraft control surface hinged to the rear, outer section of the wing for
banking ("tilting") the aircraft. A bank causes an aircraft to turn. Controlled by right or
left movement of the control yoke or stick.|
ALTIMETER A highly sensitive barometer which shows an aircraft's altitude above
mean sea level by measuring atmospheric pressure.|
ALTIMETER SETTING A value related to local barometric pressure, usually provided
to pilots by ATC. Used as a reference setting so that the aircraft altimeter indicates an
accurate altitude. Above 18,000 feet, all pilots use a standard setting of 29.92 inches of
APPROACH (DEPARTURE) CONTROL Radar-based air traffic control, associated
with the control tower at larger airports. Provides traffic separation services from outside
the immediate airport area to a distance of about 40 miles.|
ARSA (See CLASS C Airspace)
ASOS (Automated Surface Observation System) The primary surface weather
observing system in the U.S., supporting aviation operations and weather forecasting.
Automated sensors record wind direction and speed, visibility, cloud ceiling,
precipitation, etc. Data sent automatically to the National Weather Service. At many
locations, a computer-generated voice broadcasts the minute-by-minute weather reports
to pilots on a discrete radio frequency.
ATA (See CLASS D Airspace)
ATC (Air Traffic Control) The FAA service providing separation services to
participating airborne traffic and clearances to land, take off or taxi at airports with a
ATIS (Automated Terminal Information System) A continuous broadcast on a
separate ATC frequency of an airport's current weather (updated at least hourly).
Eliminates controller requirement to read local weather data to each landing or departing
ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) The most advanced of all pilot certificates, requiring the
highest skill and experience levels. Required: a minimum of 1,500 hours flight
experience, ATP written exam and flight test. Mandatory for captains of Part 121 major
scheduled airlines, regional carriers, Part 125 scheduled commuter airlines, and some
Part 135 operations. A hiring requirement for many pilot positions in corporate and
commercial general aviation flying.
AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System) Provides automated airport weather
observations to pilots on a discrete radio frequency via a computer-generated voice. Less
sophisticated than ASOS, usually installed using state funds.|
FAA Certified AWOS STATION
BASE or Base Leg The leg perpendicular to the final leg of the traffic pattern to the
CENTER One of 24 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers providing radar
surveillance and traffic separation to participating en route traffic above and outside
airspace handled by Approach and Departure Control.
CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) A pilot holding a Commercial pilot certificate
who, after passing two written tests and a practical flight exam, is FAA-rated to give
flight instruction. The flight instructor rating is specific as to type of instruction
authorized, e.g., single-engine airplane, multi-engine airplane, instrument flying (CFII),
CLASS A Airspace Airspace between 18,000 and 60,000 feet MSL over the
conterminous United States. IFR clearances are required for all aircraft operating in
CLASS A airspace. Formerly called the Positive Control Area.
CLASS B Airspace Airspace area around the busiest U.S. hub airports, typically to a
radius of 20 nautical miles and up to 10,000 feet above ground level. Operations within
CLASS B airspace require an ATC clearance and at least a Private pilot certificate (local
waivers available), radio communication, and an altitude-reporting (Mode C)
transponder. Formerly called TCA.
CLASS C Airspace Airspace area around busy U.S. airports (other than CLASS B).
Radio contact with approach control is mandatory for all traffic. Typically includes an
area from the surface to 1,200 feet AGL out to 5 miles and from 1,200 to 4,000 feet AGL
to 10 miles from the airport. Formerly called Airport Radar Service Area (ARSA).
CLASS D Airspace Airspace around an airport with an operating control tower;
typically to a radius of 5 miles from the surface to 2,500 feet AGL. Radio contact with
the control tower required prior to entry. Formerly called Airport Traffic Area (ATA).
CLASS E Airspace General controlled airspace comprising control areas, transition
areas, Victor airways, the Continental Control Area, etc.
CLASS F Airspace International airspace designation not used in the U.S.
CLASS G Airspace Uncontrolled airspace, generally the airspace from the surface up to
700 or 1,200 feet AGL in most of the U.S., but up to as high as 14,500 feet in some
remote Western and sparsely populated areas.
CLEARANCE Formal instructions from air traffic control authorizing a specific route or
action (climb or descend, entry into controlled airspace). Pilots may deviate from an
ATC clearance in an emergency or when compliance would threaten safety of flight.
CONSTRUCTION NUMBER (C/N or CN) Number the manufacture assigns. Usually in numerical order.
On airliners, this number 'may' be found on the landing gear door. (aka Manufacturer number - msn)
COMMERCIAL PILOT Holder of an FAA Commercial pilot certificate, requiring a
minimum of 250 flight hours (and other sub-requirements), a Commercial written test
and Commercial flight test. The pilot certificate to fly for compensation or hire, often in a
wide variety of commercial general aviation operations including sight-seeing, aerial
application, glider towing and flight instruction. It does not necessarily imply flying for a
scheduled airline. (See ATP. FYI: More than 40% of general aviation pilots are licensed
as Commercial or ATP pilots, whether they fly for a living or not.)
CONTROLLED AIRSPACE A generic term including all airspace classes in which
ATC services are available. Does not imply that all flight is under ATC control. VFR
aircraft may operate without ATC contact in most controlled airspace as long as weather
conditions will permit them to see and avoid other aircraft.
A crab landing is a method of landing a fixed-wing aircraft in a crosswind.
A landing with a strong crosswind is one of the most technically difficult and dangerous
maneuvers in aviation, and the crab-landing technique combined with elements of other
techniques is widely considered one of the best ways of handling such a situation. In a crab
landing, the plane flies along the center of the runway during approach.
In order to maintain its position over the center, the nose is pointed off-center, slightly into the wind. Thus the
longitudinal axis of the aircraft is at an angle to the runway while its ground track is along
the extended centerline of the runway. In a traditional crab landing, the plane descends in
this manner, and then the pilot kicks the plane around at the last second in order to orient
the nose of the plane parallel with the runway with the rudder pedals.
This is very tricky to do correctly, and must be timed perfectly—if the pilot turns too soon, the plane will be blown
off the runway, but if he turns too late, the landing gear will not be aligned with the runway
and he risks seriously damaging or breaking it and possibly crashing the plane. Even if the pilot
rotates the plane at the correct moment, the plane will still begin to drift with the wind as soon
the crab angle is reduced, so the landing gear will have to absorb some side load on touchdown.
Because of these huge risks, most pilots advocate crabbing for the majority of the descent, and
then changing to the slip technique when at a low altitude over the runway and using that for the
rest of the descent. This is often referred to as the 'crab and slip' method.
However, landing gears (e.g. those of commercial airliners) are designed to withstand enormous side forces so that
if the plane touches down with a significant crab angle, it won't necessarily be damaged.
There are an extremely small number of planes which have a special landing gear which can be
rotated with respect to the plane.
This is required because their outboard engines are too far
out on the wing and too close to the ground and would scrape the ground if the slip technique
was to be used. This feature of the landing gear enables the crab landing technique to be used
throughout the entire descent, without the need to execute the dangerous turn at the very last
moment before touchdown. The B-52 Stratofortress is an example of this.|
A crosswind is any wind that is blowing perpendicular to a line of travel, or perpendicular to
a direction. For example, in aviation, a crosswind is the component of wind which is blowing
90 degrees to the runway, making a landing more difficult than if the wind were blowing straight
down the runway.
CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) The radio frequency, also called the
UNICOM frequency, used by all traffic at an airport without an operating control tower
to coordinate approaches and landings, takeoffs and departures. Pilots announce their
positions, intentions and actions in the traffic pattern for the benefit of other traffic.
Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) is replacing markers in many installations. This
provides more accurate and continuous monitoring of correct progress on the ILS to the
pilot, and does not require an installation outside the airport boundary. The DME is frequency
paired with the ILS so that it is automatically selected when the ILS is tuned.
DOWNWIND The standard traffic pattern leg where traffic flies parallel to the landing
runway in the direction opposite that of landing. Airplanes usually land into the wind. In
this leg of the pattern, the aircraft has the wind behind it, thus the plane is flying
DUATS (Direct User Access System) Permits pilots with a personal computer to obtain
preflight weather data and flight plans. Toll-free service available to all pilots with a
current medical certificate.
ELEVATOR An aircraft control surface hinged to the rear of the left and right
horizontal stabilizer of the aircraft tail. Changes the aircraft pitch attitude nose-up or
nose-down, as during climb or descent. Controlled by pushing or pulling on control yoke
ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) A radio transmitter activated automatically by the
impact of an accident. Emits a warbling tone on the international emergency frequencies of
121.5 MHz, 243 MHz and (newer models) 406 MHz. ELT signals can be received by
nearby FAA facilities, aircraft overhead, and search and rescue (SARSAT) satellites.|
FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) The Department of Transportation's agency
for aviation. In addition to regulating airports, aircraft manufacturing and parts
certification, aircraft operation and pilot certification ("licensing"), the FAA operates Air
Traffic Control, purchases and maintains navigation equipment, certifies airports and aids
airport development, among other activities.
FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) Commonly used term for the rules and regulations
covering every aspect of aviation. Codified into Parts.
FBO (Fixed Base Operator) An airport-based business which parks, services, fuels and
may repair aircraft; often rents aircraft and provides flight training. The term was coined
to differentiate FBOs from businesses or individuals without an established place of
business on the airport.
FINAL The last leg of the traffic pattern when the aircraft is aligned to fly straight in to
the landing runway.
FLAPS Hinged surfaces on the inboard rear of wings, deployed to increase wing
curvature (and thus, lift), primarily used to control angle of descent and to decrease
landing touchdown speeds.|
FLIGHT PLAN Filed by radio, telephone, computer, or in person with Flight Service
Stations, a record of aircraft number; type and equipment, estimated time of departure
and time en route, route and altitude to be flown, amount of fuel and number of persons
aboard, home base and contact phone number; and other information.
• VFR Flight Plan Voluntary filing for cross-country flights under Visual Flight Rules.
For search and rescue use only; it has no air traffic control role.
• IFR Flight Plan Mandatory filing (at least one-half hour) before a flight under
Instrument Flight Rules. Based on flight plan information, ATC can issue (immediately
before departure) an IFR clearance to enter clouds or low visibility conditions for
instrument rather than visual flight.
FLIGHT WATCH or EFAS FSS priority handling of real-time weather information to
airborne flights (rather than for preflight planning) on a single national radio frequency of
122.0 MHz (low altitude).
FLIGHT FOLLOWING ATC radar surveillance of VFR flights at pilot request over
water or desolate areas. Facilitates search and rescue should it be needed. Service
provided only if controller is not too busy with IFR traffic.
FRAME (spotter term) aircraft itself. Counted by construction number.
FUSELAGE The main body of the aircraft.
GENERAL AVIATION The 92% of U.S. aircraft and more than 65% of U.S. flight
hours flown by other than major and regional airlines or the military. Often
misunderstood as only small, propeller-driven aircraft. Even a large jet or cargo plane
operated under FAR Part 91 can be a general aviation aircraft.
GLIDE SLOPE The final path followed by an aircraft as it is landing
(See Localiazer Graphic)
GPS (Global Positioning System) Satellite-based navigation system operated by
Department of Defense, providing extremely accurate position, time, and speed
information to civilian and military users. Based on a "constellation" of 24 satellites, GPS
will replace ground-based navigation systems (VOR, ILS) as the primary worldwide air
navigation system in the 21st Century.
IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Rules of the road for flights permitted to penetrate
clouds and low visibility conditions by reference to cockpit. flight instruments and radio
navigation. Aircraft must be equipped and pilots qualified and current for IFR flight.
Flight plans and ATC clearances are required. Flights are monitored and traffic separated
by Air Traffic Control, usually by radar.
ILS (Instrument Landing System) A precision instrument approach system utilizing
radio transmitters at the runway ends which provide precise descent and course guidance
to the runway permitting aircraft to land during periods of low ceilings or poor visibility.
KNOT (nautical mile per hour) Most common measure of aircraft speed. 100 knots
equals 115 statute miles per hour. (For mph, multiply knots by 1.15.)
LAAS Local Area Augmentation System, an enhancement of the Global Positioning
System (GPS) providing greater navigation accuracy and system integrity.
LOCALIZER One component of an ILS or Instrument Landing System. The localizer usually
provides runway centerline guidance to aircraft. In some cases a localizer is at an angle to
the runway usually due to obstructions around the airport. Localizers also exist in stand-alone
instrument approach installations and are not always part of an ILS or Instrument Landing System.|
|MARKER BEACONS On most installations marker beacons operating at a carrier frequency of 75 MHz are provided. When the transmission from a marker beacon is received it activates an indicator on the pilot's instrument panel and the modulating tone of the beacon is audible to the pilot. The correct height the aircraft should be at when the signal is received in an aircraft is promulgated.|
|• OUTER MARKER The outer marker should be located 7.2 km (3.9 NM) from the threshold except that, where this distance is not practicable, the outer marker may be located between 6.5 and 11.1 km (3.5 and 6 NM) from the threshold. The modulation is repeated Morse-style dashes of a 400 Hz tone. The cockpit indicator is a blue lamp that flashes in unison with the received audio code. The purpose of this beacon is to provide height, distance and equipment functioning checks to aircraft on intermediate and final approach. In the United States, an NDB is often combined with the outer marker beacon in the ILS approach (called a Locator Outer Marker, or LOM); in Canada, low-powered NDBs have replaced marker beacons entirely.|
|• MIDDLE MARKER The middle marker should be located so as to indicate, in low visibility conditions, that visual contact with the runway is imminent, Ideally at a distance of 1050m from the threshold. It is modulated with a 1300 Hz tone as alternating dots and dashes. The cockpit indicator is an amber lamp that flashes in unison with the received audio code.|
• INNER MARKER
The inner marker, when installed, shall be located so as to indicate in low visibility conditions
the imminence of arrival at the runway threshold. This is typically the position of an aircraft on
the ILS as it reaches Category II minima. The modulation is Morse-style dots at 3000Hz. The cockpit
indicator is a white lamp that flashes in unison with the received audio code. Therefore, the audio
code gets faster and higher in frequency, the closer the aircraft gets to the airport.
MARGINAL VFR Weather of less than 3,000-foot ceiling and five miles visibility but
above the required "1,000 and three."
MEDICAL, THIRD CLASS Upon examination by an FAA-designated Aviation
Medical Examiner (AME) for general health, eyesight and hearing, a Third Class
Medical allows the pilot to exercise the privileges of a Recreational or Private pilot
certificate. Not for flight "for compensation or hire." Valid for three years (pilots younger
than 40) or two years (age 40+).
MEDICAL, SECOND CLASS Allows pilot to exercise the privileges of a Commercial
pilot certificate "for compensation or hire" for one year then, if not renewed, reverts to
Third Class medical.
MEDICAL, FIRST CLASS Allows pilot to exercise the privileges of the Airline
Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate for six months. If not renewed, reverts to a Second Class
medical, then to a Third Class medical.
MODE A The operating mode of onboard radar transponders that transmits a return
radio signal to enhance an aircraft's radar return and identify it with one of 4,096
controller-assigned numerical codes.
MODE C The transponder operating mode that also reports aircraft altitude by
transmitting data from an encoding altimeter
MOA (Military Operations Area) Airspace, depicted on navigational charts, in which
military flight operations (training and practice combat) are conducted. May be transited
by VFR civilian traffic, but special vigilance is recommended. (See also Restricted Area)
MSL (Mean Sea Level) Altitude expressed as feet above sea level, rather than above
local terrain (AGL). To ignore varying terrain elevations, all navigational altitudes and
barometric altimeters are based on height above mean sea level. Only radar altimeters,
which measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground at low altitudes, indicate
actual height above the ground.
NAUTICAL MILE Most common distance measurement in aviation, equivalent to 1.15
statute (standard U.S.) miles.
NONTOWERED AIRPORT An airport without a control tower - the majority of
America's 13,000 airports. Only 680 airports have control towers. Nontowered airports
are far from being "uncontrolled." Pilots follow traffic pattern procedures and self-
announce positions and intentions using the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency
(CTAF), usually called the UNICOM frequency.
N-NUMBERS Federal Government aircraft registration numbers. U.S.-registered aircraft
numbers begin with "N," Canadian numbers with "C" or "CF," German numbers with
"D," United Kingdom numbers with "G," French numbers with "F", Japanese numbers
with "JA," etc.
NMAC (Near Mid-Air Collision) Defined by FAA as a potential collision situation
between aircraft within 500 feet of each other.
NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) The independent federal agency
charged with investigating and finding "probable cause" of transportation accidents.
OVER THE NUMBERS The beginning of the runway. The area where the numbers are painted
on the runway itself.|
PART 91, 121, 125, 135 The parts of Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) covering
non-commercial operations (Part 91), major scheduled air carriers (Part 121), commuters
(Part 125), non-scheduled carriers and air taxis (Part 135).
PART 61, 141, 142 The parts of FARs covering pilot certification and flight school
operations: the pilot certification and standard flight school (Part 61), the integrated
curriculum type school (Part 141) requiring slightly fewer flying hours, and a new Part
142 program allowing replacement of more flight time with advanced flight simulators.
PIREP (Pilot Weather Report) Voluntary pilot observation of inflight weather
conditions radioed to ATC or FSS. Information used by other pilots to avoid adverse
weather and by National Weather Service to amend or update forecasts.|
Raw text PIREPs
PHL UA /OV KPHL270008/TM 2156/FL011/TP C152/WX FV10SM/TA 00/RM VSBY LOWER SE
RIC UA /OV RIC340035/TM 2230/FL050/TP SR22/TA 03/WV 24048KT
EKN UA /OV EKN07622.7/TM 2244/FL170/TP BE9L/SK TOP100/TA M15/WV 27081/TB INTMT LGT/IC LGT RIME 070-100
ARP UAL1199 3856N 07727W 2257 F260 TB MOD CHOP
HPN UA /OV KHPN/TM 2301/FL075/TP M20P/SK SKC/WX FV10SM/WV 29034KT/TB NEG
HEF UA /OV BRV214010 /TM 2320 /FL 110 /TP B734 /TB MOD CHOP
HFD UA /OV HFD/TM 2322/FL075/TP M20/WX FV20SM/TA M08/WV 290044KT/TB LGT
DOV UA /OV DOV130005 /TM 2328 /FL 120 /TP BE20 /TA M05 /IC MOD MC
ARP UAL921 3856N 07727W 2331 F285 TB LT OCNL MOD CHOP
POSITIVE CONTROL AREA (See CLASS A Airspace)
PRIVATE PILOT The Private pilot certificate allows flying passengers for personal
transportation and business. Requires the pilot to be at least 17 years old, have a
minimum of 40 hours of flight experience and training (35 hours under Part 141), and
pass at least a Third Class Medical exam, a written exam and flight test. May not "fly for
hire or compensation" but may share expenses equally with passengers.
PROHIBITED AREA An airspace area where flight is prohibited except by prior
arrangement with the controlling agency. An example is the P-56 area over downtown
Washington, D.C., prohibiting flight over the White House.
RECREATIONAL PILOT A pilot certificate requiring less training than a Private
certificate. Privileges limited accordingly to flight within 50 nautical miles of base,
carrying no more than one passenger; using non-tower airports and flying during daylight
hours only unless restrictions are removed through further training. May not share
expenses. Few new pilots currently choose the recreational certificate.
REGISTRATION (or REG) The number assisgned by the FAA that is marked on the aircraft. (aka Tail Number)
(also see N Numbers)
RESTRICTED AREA Airspace which (when "Active" or "Hot") usually excludes
civilian aircraft. Examples: airspace for rocket flights, practice air-to-air combat or
ground-based artillery practice. Temporary restricted areas are established for events
such as forest fires, natural disasters or major news stories. Flight through a restricted
area may be authorized by the "controlling agency" or by FAA.
RUDDER Aircraft control surface attached to the rear of the vertical stabilizer (fin) of
the aircraft tail. Forces the tail left or right, correspondingly "yawing" the aircraft right or
left. Rudder movement "coordinates" with the banking of wings to balance a turn.
Controlled by left and right rudder (foot) pedals.|
SCRAPE (SPOTTER TERM)Re-registered aircraft.
SEE-AND-AVOID The FAA requirement that all pilots are ultimately responsible for
separation from other aircraft when visual conditions permit spotting traffic. Even IFR
flights when operating in visual weather conditions or VFR flights being issued radar
advisories are responsible for visual scanning to see-and-avoid other traffic.
SOLO After typically 12-20 hours of initial flight training, qualified student pilots are
permitted to undertake some flights to build experience and confidence without a flight
instructor on board. Requires the written endorsement of the student's flight instructor
and a Third Class Medical certificate. First solo, a major event for any pilot, is
traditionally three takeoffs and landings at the student's home airport.
SLIP An aircraft control technique with wings banked one way and rudder deployed for
the opposite turn. Aircraft flies slightly sideways, increasing drag to make it descend
faster without increasing forward speed. Also one of two control configurations used for
crosswind landings when the rudder must counteract the turning effect of banking into a
crosswind to neutralize the wind's effect.
SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE (SUA) All airspace in which restrictions or prohibitions to
flight are imposed for military or government needs (See MOA, Restricted Area,
SPIN An aerodynamic condition in which the wings have lost lift and the aircraft follows
a descending corkscrew flight pattern in autorotation. Aircraft must be stalled for a spin
to occur; this is usually the result of "crossed" flight controls (uncoordinated rudder)
causing residual lift on one wing during the stall.
SQUAWK (NOUN) The radio transmission of the radar transponder onboard an aircraft.
(VERB) Also the ATC instruction to the pilot to set one of 4,096 possible codes to
identify the aircraft on controller radar. All VFR flights squawk code 1200 except when
receiving radar advisories or when instructed otherwise by ATC.
STALL Purely an aerodynamic condition - nothing to do with engine operation. Occurs
when lift-producing airflow over the wings is disrupted or lost because angle of wings to
airflow (angle of attack) is too high. Most commonly occurs when a pilot doesn't
maintain sufficient airspeed in a climb or turn. Student pilots are trained in stall
prevention, recognition and recovery.
STUDENT PILOT A pilot who is training for a Private Pilot certificate, either before or
after the first solo. A student must obtain a Third Class Medical certificate through an
examination by an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner before being allowed to
fly solo in a powered aircraft. The medical certificate for a student pilot has a student
"license" printed on the back.
TCA (Terminal Control Area) (See CLASS B Airspace.)
TCAD A proprietary low cost anti-collision system detecting and alerting pilots to
nearby transponders but not providing evasive instructions or coordination with other
TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System) A cockpit system to detect
other transponder-equipped aircraft, alert pilots, and command/coordinate evasive action
TRANSPONDER A special onboard 1090 MHz radio transmitter to enhance and code
an aircraft's radar return. When interrogated by ground radar, it transmits a return signal
which controllers can use to identify and tag the flight on their computerized video
display radar screen. Paired with an altitude encoder, "Mode C" transponders also
transmit the aircraft's altitude. All aircraft flying in Class B airspace or higher than
10,000' are required to have Mode C transponders.|
TRAFFIC PATTERN A standard rectangular flight pattern around the landing runway
at an airport. Includes 45-degree or crosswind entry to the rectangle, with downwind,
base and final legs as sides of the rectangle. Standard are 90-degree left turns around the
rectangle (non-standard right-hand traffic pattern is noted in Airport Facility Directories)
with downwind flown at a specified altitude, usually 1,000 or 1,500 feet above the airport
elevation. At airports with a control tower; the pattern may be modified or short-cut
according to ATC instructions.|
TRSA (Terminal Radar Service Area) Radar service that assists with traffic
sequencing in some Class D airspace. Pilot participation is voluntary.
TURBOPROP An airplane using a turboprop engine, a jet rather than piston engine
connected to a propeller. Such aircraft can be single- or multi-engine. Turboprop engines
are increasingly used when more horsepower is needed for speed or payload than the
300-400 horsepower available from current light-aircraft piston engines.|
UNCONTROLLED AIRPORT (see NONTOWERED AIRPORT)
UNICOM A common, multi-purpose radio frequency used at most nontowered airports
as the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. AOPA coined the term (derived from the
words "universal communications") in the 1950s. UNICOM is also used by a Fixed Base
Operator for general administrative uses, including fuel orders, parking instructions, etc.
Originally 122.8 MHz universally, now includes 122.7,123.0 and other frequencies.
VFR (Visual Flight Rules) A defined set of FAA regulations and "rules of the road"
covering operation of aircraft primarily by visual reference to the horizon (for aircraft
control) and see-and-avoid procedures (for traffic separation). VFR is used by more than
70% of all flights; it is not, by definition, uncontrolled or out of control!
VFR weather minimums for controlled airspace require at least a 1,000-foot ceiling and
three miles visibility except for "Special VFR" clearances to operate "clear of clouds."
Navigation may be by pilotage (reference to ground landmarks), dead reckoning (courses
calculated from map plots), radio navigation, or more commonly, a combination of all
VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) Ground- based radio navigation aid. More than
1,000 VORs electronically define Victor Airways and Jet Airways, 'highways in the
sky.' Most IFR and many VFR flights follow airway routes.|
WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) An enhancement to the GPS system
providing greater navigation accuracy and system integrity and permitting GPS to be
used for precision instrument approaches to most airports.|
WAKE TURBULENCE Turbulent air condition caused by small, tornado-like
horizontal whirlwinds trailing an aircraft's wingtips (wingtip vortices). Wake turbulence
associated with larger aircraft flying at slow speeds (as on take-off or landing approach)
is the most severe and can cause loss of control for smaller aircraft following close
behind. Controllers use defined separation standards to avoid the problem for take-off,
landing, approach and departure operations.|
WIND SHEAR Large changes in either wind speed or direction at different altitudes
which can cause sudden gain or loss of airspeed. Especially hazardous when aircraft
airspeeds are low on take-off or landing.|
Alphabet – Radiotelephony Guide
A - Alfa
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India
J - Juliett
K - Kilo
L - Lima
M - Mike
N - November
O - Oscar
P - Papa
Q - Quebec
R - Romeo
S - Sierra
T - Tango
U - Uniform
V - Victor
W - Whiskey
X - X-ray
Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu
|Source: ICAO Annex 10, Volume II|