1. The Alternative Aviation Dictionary A – D

180-degree turn: A sometimes difficult manoeuvre to perform precisely; the degree of difficulty is usually determined by the size of the pilot’s ego.

Aerial: That part of the aircraft most frequently broken off during the walk-around pre-flight inspection that pilots do to see of anything is broken off.

Aileron: A hinged control surface on the wing that scares airline passengers when it moves.

1)Sword used for duelling in flight. Often used to settle disputes between crew members and passengers.
2)What pilots wrap their sandwiches in.

Air Mass: Impromptu religious service held on board an aircraft immediately following an announcement by the pilot that he is lost, having an engine problem, or running out of fuel.

Aeroplane: The infernal machine invented by two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, and perfected on the sands of the Outer Banks of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Precursor of the Frisbee.

1)The speed of an aeroplane through the air
2)True airspeed plus 20% when talking with other pilots. (Deduct 25% when listening to a Navy pilot)

Airstrip: In-flight performance by exotic flight attendant.

Air Traffic Control Centre: A draughty, ill-kept, barn-like structure in which people congregate for dubious reasons.

Alternate Airport: The airport that no aircraft has sufficient fuel to proceed to if necessary.

Angle of Attack: Pick-up lines that pilots use.

Arctic Frost: Attitude shown by uncooperative member of cabin crew. (See also ‘Horizontally opposed’)

Arresting gear: Police equipment used for keeping order at airport parties.

Aspect ratio: 36-24-36

Bail out: Pouring the water out of the cabin after a heavy rainstorm.

Barrel roll: Unloading the beer for a hangar party.

Briefing: Spending a long time saying nothing. (See also ‘De-briefing’)

CAA: Committee Against Aviation

Caged gyro: No more docile than a wild gyro.

Caging the gyro: Easier with domestic species.

1)Any airline pilot wearing four stripes on his sleeve; often found strolling down Lovers’ Lane holding his own hand.
2)Decorative dummy often found adorning the bridge of a ship.
(NB – the only thing worse than a captain who never flew as a co-pilot is a co-pilot who was once a captain)

Carburetor icing: A phenomenon that happens to pilots at exactly the same time they run out of fuel.

Chart: Large piece of paper, useful for protecting cockpit surfaces from food and beverage stains.

Chock: Pieces of wood the line boys slip in front of the wheels when the pilot isn’t looking.

1)A confined space in which two chickens fight each other, especially when they can’t find the airport in a rain storm.
2)Area in which the pilot sits while attempting to figure out where he/she is.

Course: Popular alternate landing field marked by fairways and greens. Curiously, pilots who land here are said to be “off-course”.

1)A technique used by pilots to compensate for crosswinds, usually without success.
2)Pilot who has just ground-looped after trying unsuccessfully to use this technique.
3)Pilot who has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable landing site.

Crash: To bed down for the night. What every pilot hopes to do once he has found a suitable landing site. (See also ‘Suitable landing site’)

De-briefing: Spending a lot of time saying nothing after you have done it. (See also ‘Briefing’)

De-icer: De person dat puts de ice on de wings.

Dead reckoning: You reckon correctly, or you are.

Dive: Pilots’ lounge or airport café.

Drag chute: Emergency escape slide near co-pilot’s window. Opens automatically if eccentric male captain shows up in women’s clothes.




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