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List of aviation, aerospace and aeronautical terms
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List of aviation, aerospace and aeronautical terms

A glossary of terms used in relation to aircraft, in alphabetical order.

No manufacturers or model names, please.

Table of contents
1 aerodyne
2 aeronaut
3 aeroplane
4 aerostat
5 aircraft
6 airplane
7 airship
8 autogyro
9 aviator
10 aviatrix
11 balloon
12 biplane
13 blimp
14 chord
15 dirigible
16 glider
17 helicopter
18 IFR
19 monoplane
20 pitch
21 powerplant
22 roll
23 rotorcraft
24 sailplane
25 sesquiplane
26 span
27 stall
28 thickness
29 triplane
30 VFR
31 wing
32 yaw

aerodyne

A heavier-than-air craft, deriving its lift from motion.

aeronaut

Pilot or crew of lighter-than-air craft.

aeroplane

A powered aircraft that derives its lift from the movement of air over fixed lifting surfaces. (Also airplane)

aerostat

A lighter-than-air craft, such as a balloon or airship. Its lift is caused by buoyancy relative to surrounding air.

aircraft

A vehicle that can travel through the air.

airplane

A powered aircraft that derives its lift from the movement of air over fixed lifting surfaces. (Also aeroplane)

airship

A lighter-than-air craft that can be steered and propelled through the air. (Also dirigible)

autogyro

A rotor-craft with unpowered blades - it requires a separate engine to provide forward motion before lift is developed.

aviator

Pilot or crew of an aircraft.

aviatrix

Female aviator (Obsolete, potentially offensive in modern use.)

balloon

An unpowered lighter-than-air craft.

biplane

An aeroplane with two similar-sized wings (or pairs of wings), exactly or approximately in vertical alignment.

blimp

Non-rigid airship.

chord

The dimension of a wing parallel to the direction of motion.(Compare with span and thickness.)

dirigible

A lighter-than-air craft that can be steered and propelled through the air. From the French word dirigeable meaning steerable. (Also airship)

glider

An unpowered fixed-wing heavier-than-air craft. (Also sailplane)

helicopter

A rotor craft with one or more sets of powered blades.

IFR

Instrument flight rules; a regulatory term describing a flight which may be conducted in conditions where the pilot cannot see outside the aircraft (e.g. in cloud and fog) and must fly only by his instruments. Compare to VFR.

monoplane

An aeroplane with one wing (or pairs of wings).

pitch

A measure of the degree to which an aircraft's nose tilts up or down. Also a measure of the angle of attack of a propeller.

powerplant

A powered aircrafts source of power, usually either a jet engine or a conventional engine and propeller.

roll

Rotation about an axis aligned with the direction in which the aircraft is flying.

rotorcraft

An aircraft that derives its lift from rotating lifting surfaces (usually called blades)

sailplane

An unpowered fixed-wing heavier-than-air craft. (Also glider)

sesquiplane

An aeroplane with two wings (or pairs of wings), where one (often the lower) is significantly smaller than the other in span and/or chord.

span

The dimension of a wing parallel to the direction of motion. (Compare with chord and thickness.)

stall

a condition of an airplane or an airfoil in which lift decreases and drag increases due to the separation of airflow.

thickness

The vertical dimension of a wing. (Compare with span and chord.)

triplane

An aeroplane with three similar-sized wings (or pairs of wings), exactly or approximately in vertical alignment.

VFR

Visual flight rules; a regulatory term describing flights that are conducted only in conditions where the pilot can see the ground, or in some instances is flying in the free space above a cloud. Compare to IFR.

wing

A lifting surface of an airplane/aeroplane or sailplane.

yaw

Rotation in a horizontal plane about the normally vertical axis - turning to left or right.