Aviation Dictionary: W

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WAAS Wide area augmentation system
WAC World aeronautical chart
Wake Turbulence Turbulence caused by the air flowing around the wings of an aircraft. The larger the aircraft, the greater the wake turbulence. If you are flying in a small aircraft following a larger aircraft, wake turbulence can flip a smaller aircraft over and cause significant damage. On landing, it is important to note where the larger aircraft touches down on the runway, and you should then land further down the runway. On take-off, the position the larger aircraft leaves the ground should be noted and a smaller aircraft should be off the ground before that position.
Weathercock The tendency for the aircraft to veer into the direction of the wind
Weather Radar Radar equipment in aircraft which sends out a signal of pulses and is reflected back if it hits a cloud containing rain.
Weight and Balance A calculation performed to ensure the aircraft is within its take off and landing limitations. This calculation ensures the aircraft is within its weight limits as well as within the Centre of Gravity envelope
White Arc Found on the airspeed indicator, this shows the operational flap range in knots for your aircraft.
Wind The movement of air from one position to another. In the Southern Hemisphere, wind moves clockwise around a low and anti-clockwise around a high and the opposite is true for the Northern Hemisphere.
Wind Gradient The gradual increase or decrease in wind strength. From a higher altitude to the earths’ surface, the wind gradient gradually decreases
Windshear Either a significant horizontal or vertical change in wind speed or direction. This can be extremely dangerous, especially at low levels when landing as a sudden change in wind velocity may cause a loss in lift and could result in an aircraft landing short of the runway. This has caused many accidents, from light aircraft, to large jets.
Windsock A device found on an airfield that shows the direction that the wind is blowing. Some may be illuminated and can also vary in size which would show a different wind strength. When a pilot is deciding on which runway to use, they will look at the windsock to confirm the wind direction.
Windmilling This is a condition when a propeller is no longer turned by the power produced by the engine, but rather from the air flowing over the blades
Wingspan The distance from one wingtip to the other wingtip
W/V Wind velocity
Wx Weather

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