Can You Talk The Talk - Aviation Terms For Model Aircraft Collectors
Author: Australis Gifts Date Posted:10 January 2020
Do some of the phrases, words and abbreviations you come across in aviation forums and aviation articles seem foreign? We have put together a short list of aviation speak relating to commercial aircraft to help you navigate your way around the forums and understand the jargon.
Aileron - a hinged flight surface on the trailing edge of the wing usually towards the tip of a wing. Used to control the roll of an aircraft. They mostly work in pairs so that when the aileron on one side of the plane is up the aileron on the other side of the plane is down, causing the plane to roll.
Aircraft Series - the different versions of the aircraft type, such as A330-200, A330-300, A330-900, etc.
Aircraft Type or Family - the basic aircraft family such as A330.
Aircraft Model - the aircraft with particular specifications. For example, an A330-341 is an A330-300 with Rolls-Royce Trent 768-60 engines.
Aircraft Type Designator - an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) code of four alphanumeric characters that distinguish between different aircraft types and variants, such as a code A332 refers to an A330-200, and A333 code refers to an A330-300.
Airframe – the body of an aircraft including the fuselage, undercarriage and wings but excluding the engines.
CFRP - Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Polymer (or Plastic). Light weight, high strength to weight ratio, corrosion resistant material being used in the manufacture of an aircraft fuselage.
Cowl or Cowling - a circular, removable fairing around an aircraft engine for the purposes of streamlining or cooling.
ER - Extended Range. Aircraft variant such as B777-300ER.
Empennage - the structure at the rear of the fuselage that provides stability during a flight. Includes the horizontal stabilser and elevators, vertical stabilser and rudder.
ETOPS - Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards. A ruling that is based on the ability of a twin engine aircraft to fly to the nearest available airport on one engine. For example, an aircraft was allowed to be no more than 60 minutes (ETOPS 60) away from the nearest airport or airstrip if it had to make an emergency landing, but overtime with more modern and reliable engines ETOPS has increased to 120 minutes and higher for some aircraft. More recently the A350 has an ETOPS 370 - permitted to fly a flight path that is 370 minutes from the nearest airport or airstrip.
Fairing - an added streamlining structure or auxiliary member whose only purpose is to reduce drag.
Fuselage - an aircraft's main body structure housing the flight crew, passengers, and cargo and to which the wings and tail are attached.
Knot - is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, 1.852 kilometres per hour, or 1.15078 miles per hour.
Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) - a unique number given by the aircraft manufacturer to identify individual airframes.
MLW - Maximum Landing Weight, is the maximum gross weight that an aircraft is permitted when landing due to design or other operational limits. MLW is less than the Maximum Takeoff Weight (see below), hence the reason aircraft dump fuel if an emergency occurs just after takeoff and need to make an emergency landing.
MRW - Maximum Ramp Weight, is the maximum weight for manoeuvring (taxiing or towing) an aircraft on the ground as limited by aircraft design and airworthiness requirements. Also known as Maximum Taxi Weight (MTW). The MRW can be higher than the MTOW as the MRW can include fuel for the starting and taxiing of the aircraft.
MTOW - Maximum Takeoff Weight, is the maximum gross weight of an aircraft at takeoff. A pilot is limited to the MTOW as prescribed by the manufacturer for that particular aircraft type. MTOW includes the empty weight of the aircraft, plus the payload (passengers and cargo), plus the total fuel load.
MZFW - Maximum Zero Fuel Weight, is the maximum weight allowed before usable fuel is loaded aboard the aircraft, as limited by design and airworthiness requirements. MZFW is the most an aircraft can weigh with passengers and cargo before useable fuel or oil is loaded onboard.
Nautical Mile - used for charting and navigating and is based on the circumference of the earth. A nautical mile is equal to one minute of latitude, and is equal to 1.15078 land (statute) miles.
neo - new engine option. Aircraft variant such as A321neo.
NG - Next Generation. Aircraft variant such as B737NG i.e B737-700, B737-800, and B737-900ER aircraft.
Payload - anything that an aircraft carries beyond what is required for its operation during a flight such as cargo and passengers.
Pitch - the vertical, up-and-down movement of an aircraft.
Roll - aircraft movement around a central point.
Rudder - the movable part attached to the vertical fin or vertical stabilser at the rear of the fuselage that controls the yaw of an aircraft.
Stabiliser (horizontal) - the fixed part of a horizontal wing at the rear of the fuselage that helps prevent the up and down motion or pitch of an aircraft, to which the elevators are attached.
Stabilser (vertical) - the fixed vertical fin at the rear of the fuselage that helps prevent the aircraft nose from moving side to side (yaw), to which the rudder is attached.
Takeoff Weight - the gross or total weight of an aircraft when fully loaded, including fuel, cargo, and passengers.
Trailing Edge - the rearmost edge of a wing (airfoil).
Turboprop - an aircraft having a jet engine in which the energy of the jet operates a turbine that drives the propeller. Such as Dash 8-400 as flown by QantasLink.
ULR - Ultra Long Range. Aircraft variant such as the A350-900ULR.
Undercarriage - the landing gear of a land-based aircraft, including struts, frames, and wheels.
Wide-body aircraft - an aircraft with a fuselage wide enough to accommodate two passenger aisles.
Winglet - a small, upright addition that extends above the tip of a wing. Used to reduce aircraft fuel consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag. A sharklet is often the Airbus term for a winglet. Winglet is the term more often used by Boeing.
Winglet : Split Scimitar – a split tip or blended wingtip variation being added by Boeing to 737NG aircraft to increase fuel efficiency, thereby increasing the range of the aircraft.
Wingtip Fence - is a type of winglet that extends above and below the tip of the wing.
Wingspan - distance from one wingtip to the other wingtip.
Yaw - is the side-to-side movement of an aircraft on its vertical axis.
Hope the above list helps you understand some of the terminology you might come across when reading about different aircraft. Have a look out our model aircraft to further understand the terminology and start collecting today.