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Absolute accuracy

The ability to determine present position
in space independently, and is most often used by pilots


Absolute altitude

The actual distance between an aircraft
and the terrain over which it is flying.


Absolute pressure

Pressure measured from the reference
of zero pressure, or a vacuum



Force involved in overcoming inertia, and
which may be defined as a change in velocity per unit of


Acceleration error

A magnetic compass error apparent when
the aircraft accelerates while flying on an easterly or westerly
heading, causing the compass card to rotate toward North.


Accelerate-go distance

The distance required to accelerate
to V1 with all engines at takeoff power, experience an engine
failure at V1, and continue the takeoff on the remaining
engine(s). The runway required includes the distance
required to climb to 35 feet by which time V2 speed must
be attained.


Accelerate-stop distance

The distance required to accelerate
to V1 with all engines at takeoff power, experience an engine
failure at V1, and abort the takeoff and bring the airplane to
a stop using braking action only (use of thrust reversing is
not considered).



A part of an inertial navigation system
(INS) that accurately measures the force of acceleration in
one direction.


Adiabatic cooling

A process of cooling the air through
expansion. For example, as air moves up slope it expands
with the reduction of atmospheric pressure and cools as it


Adiabatic heating

A process of heating dry air through
compression. For example, as air moves down a slope it is
compressed, which results in an increase in temperature.


Adjustable-pitch propeller

A propeller with blades whose
pitch can be adjusted on the ground with the engine not
running, but which cannot be adjusted in flight. Also referred
to as a ground adjustable propeller. Sometimes also used
to refer to constant-speed propellers that are adjustable in


Adjustable stabilizer

A stabilizer that can be adjusted in
flight to trim the airplane, thereby allowing the airplane to
fly hands-off at any given airspeed.


Advection fog

Fog resulting from the movement of warm,
humid air over a cold surface.


Adverse yaw

A condition of flight in which the nose of an
airplane tends to yaw toward the outside of the turn. This is
caused by the higher induced drag on the outside wing, which
is also producing more lift. Induced drag is a by-product of
the lift associated with the outside wing.



The science of the action of air on an object,
and with the motion of air on other gases. Aerodynamics
deals with the production of lift by the aircraft, the relative
wind, and the atmosphere.


Aeronautical chart

A map used in air navigation containing
all or part of the following: topographic features, hazards and
obstructions, navigation aids, navigation routes, designated
airspace, and airports.


Aeronautical decision-making (ADM)

A systematic
approach to the mental process used by pilots to consistently
determine the best course of action in response to a given
set of circumstances.


Agonic line

An irregular imaginary line across the surface of
the Earth along which the magnetic and geographic poles are in
alignment, and along which there is no magnetic variation.



Primary flight control surfaces mounted on the
trailing edge of an airplane wing, near the tip. Ailerons control
roll about the longitudinal axis.


Aircraft altitude

The actual height above sea level at which
the aircraft is flying.


Aircraft approach category

A performance grouping of
aircraft based on a speed of 1.3 times the stall speed in the
landing configuration at maximum gross landing weight.


Air Data Computer (ADC)

An aircraft computer that
receives and processes pitot pressure, static pressure, and
temperature to calculate very precise altitude, indicated
airspeed, true airspeed, and air temperature



Any surface, such as a wing, propeller, rudder, or
even a trim tab, which provides aerodynamic force when it
interacts with a moving stream of air


Air mass

An extensive body of air having fairly uniform
properties of temperature and moisture.



Inflight weather advisory issued as an amendment
to the area forecast, concerning weather phenomena of
operational interest to all aircraft and that is potentially
hazardous to aircraft with limited capability due to lack of
equipment, instrumentation, or pilot qualifications.



An engine-driven, fixed-wing aircraft heavier than
air that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of air
against its wings.


Airplane Flight Manual (AFM)

A document developed
by the airplane manufacturer and approved by the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA). It is specific to a particular
make and model airplane by serial number and it contains
operating procedures and limitations.


Airplane Owner/Information Manual

. A document
developed by the airplane manufacturer containing general
information about the make and model of an airplane. The
airplane owner’s manual is not FAA approved and is not
specific to a particular serial numbered airplane. This manual
is not kept current, and therefore cannot be substituted for
the AFM/POH.


Airport diagram

The section of an instrument approach
procedure chart that shows a detailed diagram of the
airport. This diagram includes surface features and airport
configuration information.


Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)

An FAA publication
containing information on all airports, communications,
and NAVAIDs.