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: L

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LA Landing Area
Laminar Flow The smooth part of the airflow over the wing
Landing Area The part of a movement area for aircraft, that is intended for take-off and landing.
Landing Lights Lights that are on the aircraft that are required to be switched on before landing
LAPT Lookout Attitude Power Trim. The mnemonic for a start to a decent procedure
Lateral Axis The tilting point that runs from wingtip to wingtip. The aircraft will pitch about this axis.
Lateral Stability Stability in the rolling plane around the longitudinal axis, controlled by the ailerons.
Latitude Imaginary lines placed horizontally on the earth which are used as position coordinates, expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds. From the equator to North or South, we have 0 degrees to 90 degrees, with the equator being at 0 degrees. Lines of latitude are parallel to the equator
LB Pounds
LDA Landing distance available
LDP Landing decision point
LDR Landing distance required
L/D Ratio Lift to drag ratio
Leading Edge The front edge of the wing
Lean This is referred to as a lower fuel content in the fuel to air mixture in a piston aircraft. 
Left Hand Circuit All turns conducted in the circuit pattern are left hand 
Lenticular Clouds Round, oval or lens shaped clouds formed on the lee side of a mountain in stable air, indicating mountain waves.
Level The term relating to the vertical position of an aircraft in flight
LG Landing gear
Lift A force that opposes weight. If the lift force is more than the weight force, then the aircraft will climb. If it is less than the force of weight, then the aircraft will descend.
Lift Formula Lift = CL x ½ p V2 (squared) S CL is the co-efficient of lift (AoA) p (rho) is the air density V (velocity) The airspeed S is the surface area of the wing In simple terms, L = AoA x Airspeed
Light Signals Signals used by the control tower to issue instructions to an aircraft if radio communications between the aircraft and tower are not working.
Lighter han-air Aircraft - These are aircraft which are filled with hot air or helium, namely, hot air balloons or airships
Lightning Occurs between -10 to +10 degrees Celsius. Rarely harms aircraft in the air.
Light Signals Signals used by a control tower in the event of loss of communication between the tower and pilot
Line up Entering the runway for a departure
LLZ Localizer
LMT Local mean time
LNAV Lateral navigation
Load Factor Is the ratio of lift to weight and a measurement of stress or load that is added to an aircraft in flight. It seems as though the aircraft is adding weight, with an increase in load/stress. As an example, a load factor of 2 means that the apparent weight of the aircraft has doubled and this is due to a force applied on the aircraft.
Localizer The beam transmitted along the extended centreline of the runway for an ILS approach
Longitude Imaginary lines placed vertically on the earth which are used as position coordinates, expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds. The datum is at the Greenwich Meridian, which is in England and is at 0 degrees. From there, we can move 180 degrees East and West. All lines of longitude pass through the North and South pole. Lines of longitude are perpendicular (90 degrees) to the equator
Longitudinal Axis An axis from the nose to the tail of an aircraft. The aircraft will roll about this axis.
Lookout A procedure of scanning the surrounding area to ensure no other aircraft are near enough for a collision.
Low Wing Aircraft that have wings attached on the lower part of the fuselage. Common examples are PA32 , B787 , A350
LPAT Lookout Power Attitude Trim. The mnemonic for a start to a climb procedure
LPV Localiser precision with vertical guidance
LRC Long range cruise
LSALT Lowest Safe Altitude. For Visual Flying this is usually 500 feet above the highest terrain on the aircrafts planned flight.
LSB Lower side band
LTE Loss of tail rotor effectiveness
LTR Litre
LVC Live, virtual and constructive (simulators)

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