96 terms

FAA Terms

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Above Ground Level (AGL) altitude
altitude measured with respect to the underlying ground surface.
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.
Aeronautical chart
map designed to assist in navigation of aircraft.
Airspace authorization
authorization from the FAA to operate in controlled airspace.
Air density
the mass of air per unit of volume it occupies, directly proportional to pressure.
Air masses
large bodies of air that take on the characteristics of the region where they originate.
Air Traffic Control (ATC)
the all-encompassing term for ground-based controllers who direct aircraft in controlled airspace. Their primary purpose is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information and support for pilots.
Alert area
areas that may contain a high volume of pilot training or unusual aerial activity.
Angle of attack
angle between the oncoming air (relative wind) and the chord line of the aircraft's wing.
Atmosphere
a blanket of air made up of a mixture of gases (primarily nitrogen and oxygen) and water vapor (ranging from 0 to 5%).
Atmospheric pressure
the force exerted by the weight of air molecules.
Atmospheric stability
the ability of the atmosphere to resist motion.
Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS)
an air traffic facility that provides information and services to aircraft pilots before, during, and after flights.
Balance
the location of an aircraft's center of gravity (CG).
Base leg
a short descending flight path at right angles to the approach end extended centerline of the landing runway.
Ceiling
the lowest layer of clouds reported as being broken or overcast, or vertical visibility into fog or haze.
Certificate of Authorization (COA)
an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UA activity.
Civil twilight
a period of time that begins 30 minutes before official sunrise and ends at official sunrise, and a period that begins at official sunset and ends 30 minutes after official sunset (excluding Alaska).
Clearance
an authorization by ATC for the purpose of preventing collision between aircraft.
Control Station (CS)
an interface used by the remote pilot to control the flight path of the small unmanned aircraft.
Controlled airspace
airspace of defined dimensions within which ATC services are provided. Includes Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace.
Controlled Firing Area (CFA)
contains activities which could be hazardous to non-participating aircraft
Crew Resource Management (CRM)
a component of ADM, where the pilot of sUAS makes effective use of all available resources: human resources, hardware, and information.
Crosswind leg
a short climbing flight path at right angles to the departure end of the runway.
Common Traffic Advisory Frequency
frequency designated for the purpose of carrying out airport advisory practices when operating from an airport without an operating control tower.
Daytime visibility
the average slant distance from the control station at which prominent unlighted objects may be seen and identified.
Degrees true
direction in relation to true north.
Degrees magnetic
direction in relation to magnetic north.
Density altitude
the altitude in the atmosphere that corresponds to a particular value of air density, or the height when measured in terms of the density of the air rather than the distance from the ground.
Departure leg
the climbing flight path along the extended runway centerline which begins at takeoff and continues to at least 1/2 mile beyond the runway's departure end and not less than 300 feet below the traffic pattern altitude.
Dew point
the temperature at which air can hold no more moisture, meaning it has reached its saturation point.
Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS)
allows any pilot with a current medical certificate to access weather information via computer
Downwind leg
a long level flight path parallel to but in the opposite direction of the landing runway.
Drag
a rearward, retarding force caused by disruption of airflow by the wing, rotor, fuselage, and other protruding objects.
Exhaust plume
visible or invisible emissions from power plants or other industrial production facilities.
Final approach
a descending flight path in the direction of landing along the extended runway centerline from the base leg to the runway. The last section of the final approach is sometimes referred to as short final.
Front
the boundary layer between two air masses that have different characteristics.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
primary method of navigation for most sUAS.
Hazard
a real or perceived condition, event, or circumstance that a pilot encounters.
Heliport
the area of land, water, or a structure used or intended to be used for the landing and take off of helicopters.
Humidity
the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
Icing
the phenomenon that happens when super cooled water that freezes on impact with an aircraft.
Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)
one of two categories of operational flight rules. Conducted in controlled airspace under ATC control.
Latitude
a geographic coordinate that specifies the north-south position of a point on the Earth's surface, expressed in degrees.
Lift
opposes the downward force of weight, is produced by the dynamic effect of the air acting on the airfoil, and acts perpendicular to the flight path through the center of lift.
Load factor
amount of force applied that deflects an aircraft from straight and level flight
Local Airport Advisory (LAA)
an area within 10 Statute Miles of an airport where a control tower is not operating but a FSS is located.
Longitude
a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface, expressed in degrees.
Lost link
loss of the command and control link between the CS (control station) and the UA (unmanned aircraft).
Magnetic north
location a magnetic compass needle points to.
Magnetic variation
angle between true north and magnetic north.
Mean Sea Level (MSL)
a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface.
Mean Sea Level (MSL) altitude
indicates height above sea level.
METAR
observations of current surface weather from individual ground stations across the U.S.
Military Operations Area (MOA)
separates certain military training activities from IFR traffic.
Military Training Route (MTR)
allows the military to conduct low-altitude, high-speed training.
Mitigation
actions or strategies that reduce the level of risk.
MULTICOM
frequency used to self announce when a CTAF/UNICOM frequency is not available.
National Security Area (NSA)
established where a requirement exists for increased security of ground facilities, and flight may be temporarily prohibited via NOTAM.
Nautical Mile (NM)
the standard measure of distance in aviation, and is equal to the length of 1 minute of latitude, or 6,076 feet.
Nontowered airport
an airport that does not have an operating control tower.
Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
a notice to pilots containing information concerning the establishment, condition, or change of any component, service, procedure or hazard in the National Airspace System.
Person manipulating the controls
a person other than the remote pilot in command (PIC) who is controlling the flight of an sUAS under the supervision of the remote PIC operation and safety of an sUAS operation conducted under part 107.
Precipitation static (P-static)
the result of a buildup of negative particles on the skin of an aircraft.
Prohibited area
designated airspace within which the flight of aircraft is prohibited
Remote Pilot in Command (PIC)
a person who holds a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating and has the final authority and responsibility for the Person Manipulating the Controls.
Restricted area
areas where flight of aircraft, while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restrictions.
Right of way
the legal right of an aircraft to proceed with precedence over others in a particular situation or place.
Risk
a pilot's assessment of the potential impact posed by a hazard.
Seaplane base
a dedicated area of water used for takeoff and landing of seaplanes, water taxiing, ramp service and shoreline or on-shore facilities.
Situational Awareness (SA)
the accurate perception and understanding of all factors and conditions that affect flight safety.
Small Unmanned Aircraft (UA)
unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.
Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS)
a small UA and its associated elements (including communication links and components that control the small UA) that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the small UA in the national airspace system (NAS).
Special use airspace
defines areas where operations are occurring that would impose limitations on non-participating aircraft. They are often military in nature.
Stalling
occurs when smooth airflow over an airplane's wing is disrupted due to the wing exceeding its critical angle of attack.
Station identifier
a 4-letter code established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Statute Mile (SM)
the standard unit of measure for visibility and cloud clearances.
Taxiway
used to transition from parking areas to the runway, identified by a continuous yellow centerline stripe
Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR)
a regulatory action issued as a Notice to Airmen that temporarily restricts aircraft operations within a defined area.
Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF)
a forecast established for a five-mile radius around an airport. TAFs are updated 4 times a day.
Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA)
areas where pilots can receive additional radar services to provide separation between IFR and participating VFR aircraft.
Thermal runaway
a chain reaction leading to self-heating and the release of a lithium battery's stored energy.
Thrust
the outward force produced by the power plant/propeller or rotor. It opposes or overcomes the force of drag.
Towered airport
an airport with an operating control tower.
Transcribed Information Briefing Service (TIBS)
continuous telephone recording of meteorological and aeronautical information.
True north
the geographic north pole.
Uncontrolled airspace
airspace where ATC does not exercise authority over aircraft. Includes Class G airspace.
Universal Communications (UNICOM)
a nongovernment air/ground radio communication station, which may provide airport information including weather, winds, runway, etc., on pilot request.
VFR route
routes used to transition around, under or through certain complex airspaces.
Visibility
the greatest horizontal distance at which prominent objects can be viewed with the naked eye.
Visual Flight Rules (VFR)
one of two categories of operational flight rules. When operating under VFR, the pilot is primarily responsible for seeing other aircraft and maintaining safe separation.
Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
with vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the operator or visual observer must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight.
Visual Observer (VO)
a person who is designated by the remote pilot in command to assist the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground.
Warning area
airspace similar to a restricted area that covers international waters.
Weather
the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place.
Weight
the combined load of the aircraft itself, the crew, the fuel, and the cargo or baggage.