Aviation Dictionary

On this page you will find a searchable and comprehensive alphabetical list of aviation terms. You can help us make it the most comprehensive list in the world. If we have missed anything, click on the ‘send us your word’ button to send us your word, acronym or definition and we will consider adding it to our dictionary.

Aviation Dictionary: A

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Abeam A point or position of the aircraft that is 90 degrees to the left or right of the aircrafts track
Aborted Take A procedure that requires the pilot to bring the aircraft to a stop during the take-off roll.
Above Ground Level (AGL) The distance measured between the aircraft and any part of the ground. A common use for AGL is for parachuting, where the distance to the ground is more important than the distance above mean sea level. Normally, when on the ground, the altimeter is set to 0 feet, which in most cases will not be the current pressure setting that would normally be set on the altimeter to give AMSL.
Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) Above Mean Sea Level: The distance above sea level, calculated with the current atmospheric pressure and can be read off of an altimeter. This is normally set on the ground by obtaining the current QNH or pressure for a specific area and can be changed while in flight if a new QNH is obtained.
ACAS Airborne Collision Avoidance System
ACN Aircraft Classification Number
Active Runway The runway that is in use. At an uncontrolled airport, never enter a runway without making a radio call on the CTAF. 
AD Aerodrome
ADC Air Data Computer
ADF Automatic Direction Finder
ADIZ Air Defence Identification Zones
Advection Air moving horizontally
Adverse Yaw An undesirable tendency for an aircraft to yaw about the Normal axis (Vertical axis) in the opposite direction of a roll due to the difference in lift and drag created by each wing.
AEL Aviation English Language
Aerobatics Varying manoeuvres that have abrupt changes in attitude or attitudes exceeding 30 degrees of pitch or more than 60 degrees of bank. Common manoeuvres are loops, rolls and spins.
Aerodrome Any place that can be used for aircraft operations, either on land or on water.
Aerofoil The shape of a cross-sectioned wing or propeller blade designed to give the best lift to drag ratio in flight.
Aeronautical Charts Maps intended for use in aerial navigation. Both airspace boundaries and ground features are marked.
AFCS Automatic Flight Control System
AFM Aircraft Flight Manual
AFOR Area Forecast 
AGL Above Ground Level
AIC Aeronautical Information Circular
Aileron A control surface located near the wing tips and controls the roll around the longitudinal axis. Ailerons move in opposite directions to each other, as one moves up, the other moves down.
AIP Aeronautical Information Package
Aircraft Any powered or unpowered, heavier-than-air type vehicle that is able to oppose the force of gravity in order to fly. Common aircraft examples are hot air balloons, gliders, helicopters and fixed wing aeroplanes.
Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association of Australia (AOPA Australia) is an association representing aircraft owners and pilots. They publish a magazine. https://aopa.com.au/
AIREP Air Report: Typically a weather report given by a pilot in flight
Airservices Australia An Australian Government owned corporation, responsible for providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry within the Australian
Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) The next step up from a CPL, minimum 1500 hours to your name.  You must have an IFR and multi-engine ratings, most airlines require you to have the theory exams completed before you can apply for an Airline Job
Airmanship The process of using good judgement for the safe outcome of a flight. By continually improving your flying skill set, knowing and obeying the rules, being courteous to other aviators all make up good airmanship. The saying, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” is a good airmanship standard and applies to the order in which you manage yourself and your aircraft.
Airspeed The speed an aircraft is flying through the air. Different airspeeds will cause different effects on the controls and the aircraft response rate to a change using the primary controls.
Airspeed Indicator (ASI) An instrument that gives a reading to the pilot on the current speed that the aircraft is doing through the air, measured in knots. This speed is different to Ground Speed.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) A group of highly trained professionals who control the airspace in Controlled Airspace and assist pilots as required to maintain the safety of flights.
Air Taxi A taxi done by a helicopter below 100ft 
AK General aeronautical knowledge
ALA Aerodromes and aeroplane landing areas
ALC Approved load control
ALT Altitude
Altimeter An instrument that gives a reading of height in feet. The setting is based off of a pressure setting, in hectopascals (hPa) and the height shown can vary depending on what reading is required. Common readings will be set for Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL), Above Ground Level (AGL), or can be set for a Flight Level with the standard QNH setting of 1013 hPa.
Altitude A distance measurement showing the height of an object above a reference point.
AMP Aerial application management plan
Amphibian An aircraft that is equipped with retractable wheels for landing on landing, but also has a hull shaped fuselage for landing on water.
Ancillary Controls These are secondary controls which have an effect on the aircrafts direction or altitude, eg: Throttle and Trim
Angle of Attack An angle formed between the wing’s chord and the relative airflow
Angle of Bank This is the angle of the lateral axis of the aircraft to the horizontal plane. In other words, it is the angle of the wings to the horizon when viewed from the rear. If wings are level with the horizon, AoB will be 0 degrees. If the wings are in a vertical position to the horizon, the AoB will be 90 degrees.
Anhedral A downward sloping tendency of the wings, designed for stability. The most common example is the AN-225 or the C-5 Galaxy. Most common on high wing aircraft.
ANP Actual Navigation Performance
AOA Angle of Attack
AOC Air operator’s certificate
AOM Aerodrome operating manual
AP Auto Pilot
Approach Is the intention of flying the aircraft in the final phase of flight to land. An approach can be either an instrument approach for poor weather conditions, or a visual approach if weather conditions permit.
Apron The area on an airport where aircraft are parked, loaded and unloaded with passengers, cargo and fuel. From the apron, aircraft will taxi towards the runway for a take-off via certain taxiways.
APU Auxiliary Power Unit
ARN Aviation Reference Number; your own unique aviation number
ARS Attitude retention system
Artificial Horizon (AH) An instrument that displays an aircraft's position in relation to the horizon and works with a gyroscope.
Aspect Ratio (AR) A ratio between the wing span and wing chord. A high aspect ratio wing will have a high lift value and a lower drag value compared to a lower aspect ratio wing which will have a lower lift and higher drag ratio.
ASI Air speed indicator
AT Auto throttle
ATC Air traffic control
ATIS Automatic Terminal Information Service. This is a continuous broadcast of the current weather which is updated at certain timeframes, or when there is a change in the weather. This is only available at larger aerodromes. Some smaller aerodromes may have an AWIB which is similar to an ATIS 
Atmosphere The layers of gases surrounding the earth or another planet. There are five layers surrounding the Earth, the Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere and Exosphere.
ATPL Airline Transport Pilot Licence
ATS Air Traffic Service
Attitude This is the position of the nose of the aircraft in relation to the horizon, ie; being below, level or above the horizon.
AUW All Up Weight
AVADS Auto Voice Activated Decision System
Aviate Flying the aircraft in a safe manner, within the aircrafts limits
AVGAS Fuel used for Piston aircraft. This has a higher octane rating than fuel used for cars
AWIB Aerodrome and Weather Information Broadcast. Similar to an ATIS, the AWIB provides current weather at a particular aerodrome. Used for smaller aerodromes.
AWS Automated Weather Station

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