List of abbreviations

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  A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z 


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
A At or Above (constraint altitute)
A Autotuning
AAR Air-to-air refuelling
ACARS Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System A digital datalink system for transmission of short, relatively simple messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite
ACAWS Advisory, Caution And Warning System. A system which monitors the aircraft's systems and provides warning messages to the crew (similar to EICAS).
ACCEL HT Acceleration Height
ACT Active
A/C Aircraft
ACC Area control centre
ADC Air Data Computer
ADF Automatic direction finder tuned to NDB
ADIRS Air Data Inertial Reference System
ADIRU Air Data Intertial Reference Unit
AFCS Automatic Flight Control System
AFDS Auto Pilot Flight Director System
AGL Above Ground Level AGL
ALS Approach lighting system
ALT Altitude Altitude
ALT NAV Alternate Navigation
AMI Airline Modifiable Information
AMSL Above mean sea level
AoA Angle of Attack The angle of the (nose of the) aircraft relative to the surrounding airflow (Pitch is relative to the ground)
AIMS Airplane Infromation Management System
AIP Aeronautical Information Publication
APP Approach Used for autopilots among other.
Apt Elev Airport Elevation the MSL of a central point of an airport
APU Auxiliary power unit Primary purpose is to provide power to start the main engines
A/P Autopilot
ARINC Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated
ASCPC Air Supply and Cabin Pressure Controllers
ASEL Airplane, Single Engine, Land certificate A particular class rating associated with a pilots certification.
ASES Airplane, Single Engine, Sea certificate A particular class rating associated with a pilots certification.
ASOS Automated Surface Observation System measures and broadcasts surface wheather info automatically
AT AT (an altitude)
ATA Actual Time of Arrival
ATC Air Traffic Control
ATIS Automatic Terminal Information Service
ATM Air traffic management Integrated management of air traffic and airspace. Can include ATC, ATS, flow management etc. through seamless collaboration with involved parties.
ATS Air traffic service A generic term that can mean flight information service, alerting service, air traffic

advisory service or air traffic control service.

ATT Attitude
ATZ Aerodrome Traffic Zone
A/T Autothrottle A/P Subsystem which controls the throttle
AWACS Airborne Warning And Control System


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
B At or Below (constrained altitude)
BC Back course part of ILS, beacon that provides range information, like OM/MM/IM, specifies FAF for back course, a back course is non-precison since no G/S associated
BITE Built-In Test Equipment
BRG/DIS Bearing and/or Distance
BRT Brightness


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
C Celsius (Centigrade)
CALC Calculated
CANC Cancel
CDI Course Deviation Indicator part of a VOR gauge, a needle showing whether you are on course (centered) or not (left or right)
CDU Control Display Unit
CG Center of Gravity
CI Cost Index
CLB Climb
CLB DIR Climb Direct
CLR Clear
CMCF Central Maintenance Computer Function
CO DATA Company Data
COMM Communications
CON Continuous
CRS Course
CRT Cathode Ray Tube
CRZ Cruise
CRZ ALT Cruise Altitude
CRZ CG Cruise Center of Gravity
CRZ CLB Cruise Climb
CTAF Common Traffic Advisory Frequency Available at airfields with no operational control tower.
CTC Cabin Temperature Controller
CTOT Calculated take-off time
CTR Controlled Zone


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
DG Directional Gyro
DH Decision height point on G/S where to decide to continue landing or missed approach, similar to MDA, for precision approaches, determined by altimeter, lowest height where an approach can be flown by instrument alone
DLC Direct lift control system for steady approaches without changing pitch, as seen on the L-1011-500.
DME Distance measuring equipment measures the distance (slant, not on-ground distance) to the tuned in VOR
DTG Distance to go
DTO Direct to GPS function to fly directly to a given point


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
EAT Estimated Arrival Time
ECEF Earth-Centred, Earth-Fixed coordinate system Cartesian 3D coordinate system with origo at the Earth's center of mass and x axis intersecting 0°E, 0°N
EDT Estimated Departure Time
EFATO Engine failure after take off Usually resulting in a force-landing.
EFIS Electronic Flight Instrument System Combination of displays (PFD and MFD) with autopilot
EICAS Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System
EOBT Estimated off-block time The estimated time the aircraft will start moving before departure. In essence when the aircraft starts to taxi
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
ETOPS Extended Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards Standard allowing twin-engined aircraft (eg, the 777 or A330) to fly long distances between potential alternate airports, eg trans-oceanic flights.


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
FAF Final approach fix
FD Flight director horizontal and vertical bars on your PD
FDM Flight Dynamics Model
FL Flight Level Flight level
FLEX Flex Temp Performing a take-off (TOGA) at less than full power.

Flight Mode Annunciator
Flight Mode Annunciation

The display of selected autopilot mode(s), typically on the top row of the PFD display in airliners.


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
G/S Glideslope provides vertical guidance during ILS, UHF, always goes together with LOC, usually 3deg, usable 10NM from field
GA Go-Around
GA General Aviation
GAR Go-Around
GPS Global Positioning System allows a very exact measuring of location all over the world, based on satellites


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
HDG Heading
HUD Head up display Head up display
HSI Horizontal situation indicator


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
IAF Initial approach fix
IAP Instrument approach plate see Approach Plate, aka. Terminal Procedures
IATA International Air Transport Association
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation
IFR Instrument flight rules 0-179: odd thousands, 180-359: even thousands
ILS Instrument Landing System
IM Inner marker See Inner marker


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
JBD Jet blast deflector


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
KIAS Knots Indicated Airspeed IAS in knots


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
LDA Localizer directional aid similar to LOC, but offset from runway heading, the approach path is not lined up with runway
LFR Low Frequency Radio Range see article LFR
LNAV Lateral navigation
LOC Localizer provides lateral guidance during ILS, VHF, always goes together with G/S, usable 18NM from field
LOC-A an approach plate that ends with a letter indicates that a circling approach is required
LTA Lighter than Air


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
MALSR Medium-intensity ALS with Runway alignment indicator lights a type of Runway Approach lighting
MAP Missed approach point touch down zone of runway
MCDU Multipurpose Control and Display unit CDU
MCP Mode Control Panel Panel that controls the autopilot
MDA Minimum descend altitude during an approach, this specifies the minimum Altitude (MSL) before the runway is in sight and a safe landing can be made
MEA Mean enroute altitude
MES Main Engine Start See APU
METAR Meteorological Aerodrome Report METAR
MFD Multi Function Display unit, sometimes named MDU Display that can contain all sorts of information, like map, weather and engine status. Often a backup for PFD's
MIRL Medium-intensity runway lights
MLS Microwave landing system
MM Middle marker Middle marker
MOCA Minimum obstruction clearance altitude
MSA Minimum safe altitude provides minimum of 1000ft clearance from obstructions and terrain
MSFS Microsoft Flight Simulator a flight simulator by Microsoft that is now discontinued
MSL Mean Sea Level Standardized height figure, Altimeters show the current A/C height over MSL
MTOW Maximum Takeoff Weight


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
Navaid Helper for navigation eg: NDB, Fixes, VOR, GPS
ND Navigational Display
NDB Non directional beacon LW, sends out Morse code of its ID, reception only reliable > 1000ft AGL


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
OAT Outside air temperature the temperature of undisturbed air, derived by correcting TAT for compressibility errors
OBS Omni bearing selector part of a VOR gauge, used to rotate the course card
OM Outer marker Outer marker


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
PAPI Precision Approach Path Indicator PAPI, similar to VASI, but more precise, uses four lights
PD Primary display
PF Pilot flying the person that currently controls the airplane, can be either Captain or F/O
PFD Primary flight display
PFL Practice forced landing Practise approach carried out to a suitable field. No landing is made.
PIREP Pilot Report (abbreviated UA in the briefing teletype, UUA is urgent PIREP)
PNF Pilot non-flying the person who's not the PF
PTS Practical Test Standards Guidelines used by the FAA in determining an airmens eligibility to receive their certificate



Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
RAIM Receiver autonomous integrity monitoring
RAT Ram air temperature The raw, non-corrected temp. as measured by the temperature probe. Errors due to the Ram effect (air compressed in the probe) and the position (air may be disturbed by parts of the airplane, and also due to the effect of the air compression in front of the plane) RAT may also describe a Ram Air Turbine; a device deployed into the airstream on large aircraft to provided minimum electrical power in the event of generator-failure.
RDF Radio Direction Finder see article RDF
RDH Reference datum height Height of the glidepath or a nominal vertical path above the runway threshold
RMI Radio magnetic indicator
RNAV Area Navigation flying by longitude/latitude points that are not radio navigation aids, GPS or IRS is usually used.
RTO Rejected take off
RTOW Regulated Take Off Weight See Maximum Takeoff Weight MTOW
RVR Runway Visual Range The distance over which a pilot of an aircraft on the centreline of the runway can see the runway surface markings delineating the runway or identifying its centre line


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
SAT Static air temperature same as OAT
SDF Simple directional facility
SFDS Secondary Flight System Display Standby EFIS in a single self contained unit, not to be mistaken with MFD
SFD Secondary Flight Display Display of the SFDS
SID Standard instrument departure for takeoffs, specifies the route from the runway to the first waypoint
STAR Standard terminal arrival route for landings, speciefies the route from the last waypoint down to the runway
STOL Short take off and landing
STOVL Short take off and vertical landing


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
TACAN Tactical Air Navigation Tactical Air Navigation, military
TAF Terminal aerodrome forecast
TAT Total air temperature This is derived by correcting the RAT for position. Still contains an error due to the compressibility of air inside the temperature probe.
TCAS Traffic Collision Avoidance System
TDZE Touch down zone elevation the MSL of the touch down point of a runway
THDG True Heading
TODR Take Off Distance Required
TOGA Take Off / Go Around Automatic single-switch operation of throttle for Take-off / Go-Around Power.
TOW Take Off Weight
T&P(s) Temperatures and pressures relating to engine systems.


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
UNICOM Universal Communications See also: CTAF
UTC Coordinated Universal Time Not to be confused with GMT - Greenwich Mean Time


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
V speeds Velocity speeds airspeeds important or useful to the operation of aircraft
VASI Visual approach slope indicator an approach lighting system, typically two lights left of the runway
VFR Visual Flight Rules 0-179: odd thousands+500ft, 180-359: even thousands+500ft
VNAV Vertical navigation
VOR VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range VOR, a type of radio navigation system
VORTAC VOR/TACAN A co-located VOR and TACAN beacon.
VS Vertical Speed
VSI Vertical speed indicator
VTOL Vertical take off and landing


Abbreviation Meaning(s) Description
WCA Wind correction angle
WOW Weight on wheels A condition met when the weight of an aircraft are pushing its wheels to the ground, indicating that it is not in the air.




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