Private Jet Glossary of Terms
Below are some of the top aviation terms.
AEROSPACE ENGINEERING Encompasses the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft. Divided into two overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering.
AIRCRAFT A machine used for flight which gains lift or support from the air.
AIRCRAFT INSURANCE Covers the operation of aircraft and the risks involved in aviation.
AIRSPEED How fast an aircraft travels relative to its surrounding air mass.
AIRWAY DISTANCE Actual distance flown by the aircraft between two points (as opposed to straight line). Calculated after deviations required by Air Traffic Control and navigation along published routes.
ALTERNATE AIRPORT An airport other than the intended airport, where an aircraft can land for safety or other reasons.
ALTITUDE The height or the vertical distance between an object and mean sea level.
APPROACH (departure) CONTROL This is radar-based air traffic control, associated with the tower at larger airports. Separates aircraft traffic from outside the immediate airport area to a distance of about 40 miles.
APRON Near a hangar, an apron is a hard-surfaced or paved area. See also Ramp.
AVIATION Involves operation, development, production and use of aircraft.
AVIONICS A system of electronic controls used for flight including communications, autopilot and navigation.
BLOCK FLYING TIME Calculated as the time between an aircraft moving from its parking place to taxi and take off, until it finishes its flight, lands, rests on the designated parking position and stops all engines.
BLOCK RATES Rate for scheduling significant amounts of air charter time in advance under a prearranged agreement.
BLOCK SPEED The average speed at which an aircraft covers a specific distance. Based on “block-to block,” or “door-to-door “ (gate-to-gate).
BOEING BUSINESS JET A series of Boeing airliners designed for the corporate jet market and seating between 25 and 50 passengers within a luxurious configuration.
BOMBARDIER CHALLENGER A family of business jets.
BOMBARDIER GLOBAL EXPRESS A large cabin, ultra long range business jet manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
BUSINESS JET A smaller jet aircraft, used to transport smaller groups of people.
CARDINAL ALTITUDE An altitude, or flight level, of a thousand feet.
CEILING The heights of the lowest layers of clouds above the earth’s surface. May also be an obscuring phenomena. Usually reported as broken, overcast or obscuration, and not classified as thin or partial.
CESSNA An American general aviation aircraft manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kan. Known for small, piston-powered aircraft, as well as business jets.
CONTROLLED AIRSPACE Defined airspace where Air Traffic Control service is provided to IFR flights and to VFR flights.
CORPORATE OPERATOR A company flight department able to carry passengers for compensation under a “Part 135” certificate.
DASSAULT FALCON A family of business jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
DEAD HEAD A leg of an air charter with no cargo or no passengers. Commonly the return leg, but may also be the repositioning.
DECISION HEIGHT In an instrument approach flight, the height at which a decision must be made to either continue the approach or to execute a missed approach.
DUTY TIME Logged whenever a pilot or crew member is serving in any capacity. Subject to safety restrictions to ensure pilots and crew are sufficiently rested.
EFIS (Electronic Flight Information Systems) These modern glass cockpit avionics systems integrate all flight parameters into one instrument to provide enhanced reliability, reduced weight, simplified installation and overall cost savings.
EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) Based on aircraft inputs such as position, attitude, air speed and glide slope, as well as internal terrain, obstacles, and airport databases. Used to predict a potential conflict between the flight path and terrain or an obstacle.
ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) A radio transmitter automatically activated by the impact of an accident. Emits a warbling tone on the international emergency frequencies of 121.5 MHz, 243 MHz and 406 MHz (newer models), which can be received by nearby FAA facilities, aircraft overhead, and search and rescue (SARSAT) satellites.
FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) The US Department of Transportation’s agency for aviation in the United States, which regulates airports, aircraft manufacturing and parts certification, aircraft operation and pilot certification. Also operates Air Traffic Control, purchases and maintains navigation equipment, certifies airports and aids airport development.
FBO Fixed Base Operator – Provides ground services for air charter clients including an onsite mechanic, fuel service, catering, ground transportation and more.
FLEET MANAGER A commercial aviation entity that subcontracts the maintenance and operation of corporate aircraft often chartered out to the general public.
FLIGHT PLAN Specific information filed with an Air Traffic Control facility regarding the flight or intended flight of an aircraft.
FLIGHT TIME The time the aircraft is in flight between take off and touchdown.
FMS (Flight Management System) A regional office of the FAA that enforces regulations.
FOD (Foreign object debris) Anything on the runway that may cause hazards to aircraft or people on the ground.
FRACTIONAL OWNERSHIP Fractional owners purchase a “share” of the aircraft and are guaranteed access to an aircraft, but not necessarily the same one each time. Owners usually pay a fixed monthly maintenance fee as well as an hourly fee.
FUEL SURCHARGE A additional charge to cover the cost of fuel price increases.
FUSELAGE The main body structure of an aircraft, which houses the flight crew, passengers and cargo.
GENERAL AVIATION Private aviation; not for hire.
GULFSTREAM Business jet aircraft designed and manufactured by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Gulfstream’s fleet consists of these models: G150, G280, G350, G450, G500, G550, and G650.
GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM GPS. Satellite positioning, velocity and time system used as a navigation aid.
GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) Alerts pilots if the aircraft is in immediate danger of flying into the ground. Also called Ground-Collision Warning System.
GREAT CIRCLE DISTANCE The shortest distance between two points on a globe. The Air Charter Guide shows all distances this way.
GBAA Georgia Business Aviation Association
BEECHCRAFT HAWKER Business jet aircraft built by Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) between 2006 and 2013.
HANGAR An enclosed structure for storing aircraft. Name originated with lake-based floating facilities that hung original German Zeppelins from cables.
HEAVY JET An aircraft with a minimum takeoff weight of 255,000 lbs.
HELICOPTER This rotor driven aircraft uses vertical axes with pitched blades to generate lift and stability.
HELIPAD Used by helicopters for takeoffs, landings and occasionally for parking.
HELIPORT An area of land or water used by helicopters for takeoffs and landings. Includes the buildings, structures and grounds.
HORSE POWER A common measurement of power, defined as the motive energy required to raise 550 lbs. one foot in one second with friction disregarded.
IATA Code International aviation codes used by international airports
ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) An agency of the United Nations, charged with developing principles and techniques of international air navigation.
IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Applies to flights permitted to penetrate clouds and low visibility conditions using cockpit flight instruments and radio navigation. Aircraft must be equipped with proper instruments and pilots must be qualified and hold current IFR ratings. Flight plans and ATC clearances are required, and IFR flights are monitored and kept eparated by Air Traffic Control, usually by radar.
ILS (Instrument Landing System) A precision instrument approach system used to direct landings during periods of low ceilings or poor visibility. Using radio transmitters at the runway ends, the ILS provides precise left-right and up-down indications to the pilot.
INDICATED AIR SPEED The speed displayed by the aircraft’s air speed indicator device.
INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS Conditions such as visibility, distance between clouds and ceiling level. In general conditions that do not meet the standard for visual meteorological conditions.
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT An airport designated to carry out the duties of customs and immigrations along with other duties.
JOINT OWNERSHIP An aircraft that is purchased or leased by a relatively small number of owners, often through a partnership or limited liability corporation.
JET ENGINE An internal combustion air-breathing duct engine
JET AIRLINER An airliner that uses jet engine propulsion. Capable of efficiently functioning at a high altitudes and high speeds.
KNOT (nautical mile per hour) Common measure of aircraft speed, equaling 6,080 feet or about 1.15 miles.
LAYOVER A rest stop away from home base for the aircraft and crew in the middle of a flight.
LEARJET A private luxury business jet aircraft originally manufactured by Learjet in Wichita, Kan. Now owned by Bombardier. The word is also used generically to refer to small business jets.
LEG One direction of travel between two points, which may be repositioning and fuel stops.
LIFT Chartering an aircraft for cargo or passenger transport.
LUXURY JET CHARTER Chartering a luxuriously appointed aircraft for business or pleasure.These jets provide five-star catering, ground transportation, and lavish accommodations in excess of needs.
MATCH SPEED The ratio of true airspeed to the speed of sound
MEDEVAC Short for “medical evacuation.” An aircraft used to transport injured patients to a hospital. Also known as air ambulance.
MID-SIZE JETS Aircraft designed for longer-range travel such as transcontinental flights. Provide larger passenger capacity.
NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM The network of airspace, navigational services facilities and equipment.
NAUTICAL MILE Used to measure distances at sea. 2,025 yards or 6,076 feet.
NAVAIDS Any type of device that guides an aircraft from one area to another. Examples include the Global Positioning System (GPS), a map, a beacon or a compass.
NAVIGATION Recording, planning and controlling the movement of an aircraft from one point to another.
NATS Leading air traffic service provider for aircraft flying in UK airspace and over the eastern part of the North Atlantic.
NBAA National Business Aviation Association.
NARA National Aircraft Resale Association
NON-TOWERED AIRPORT An airport without a control tower
ONE-WAYS An aircraft that is chartered for a particular leg of an existing itinerary.
OPERATOR An entity responsible for the licensing, maintenance, safety and operations of one or more private charter aircraft. May be separate from the owner of the aircraft.
PATTERN The route of aircraft traffic around an airfield, at an established height and direction. At tower-controlled fields, supervised by Air Traffic Controllers via radio. In non-radio or emergency conditions, supervised by red and green light signals.
PAYLOAD Anything an aircraft carries to derive revenue, such as cargo or passengers.
PILOT IN COMMAND The pilot responsible for safety and operations of the aircraft during flight.
POINT TO POINT PRICING Typically results when an empty leg is chartered for a portion of the original air charter itinerary. Also known as a transient aircraft charter.
POSITIONING When aircraft is ferried from its originating airport to another airport for departure.
PRECIPITATION Water particles that fall from the atmosphere to the earth’s surface, often as rain or snow.
PREFFERED VENDORS The vendor of choice for supplemental lift. Air charter agents, jet charter brokers and charter jet operators compile a list of air charter vendors for each region that they service.
PRIVATE AIRPORT Used by general aviation and private aviation, but ineligible for use by scheduled airline travel.
PRIVATE FLIGHT An aircraft used by the owner, or one of their friends or family, for private use. No money changes hands, as versus a commercial flight.
PRIVATE JET An aircraft that is privately owned.
PRIVATE JET BROKER An intermediary who compares options from operators to facilitate hiring a private aircraft.
PROHIBITED AREA An airspace area that prohibits flight except by prior arrangement with the controlling agency.
RADAR A transmitted radio pulse that provides information on the range and elevation of objects in its path.
RADIO Wireless transmission device, based on electromagnetic signals, used by aircraft for communication.
RAMP The hard-surfaced space in front of an FBO or terminal facility, used for deplaning, parking of aircraft, etc.
RELEASE TIME A delay in departure time, issued by ATC to separate a departing aircraft from other traffic.
REPOSITIONING TIME The time for charter aircraft to travel to or from base en-route to the departure point or from the destination of the particular trip.
RESTRICTED AREA “Active” or “Hot” airspace that usually excludes civilian aircraft. May include airspace used for rocket flights, practice air-to-air combat or ground-based artillery practice. Temporary restricted areas are established for forest fires, natural disasters or major news stories. Flight through a restricted area may be authorized by the FAA.
RUDDER A control surface attached to the rear of the aircraft’s vertical stabilizer (fin), on the tail. The rudder forces the tail left or right, correspondingly “yawing” the aircraft right or left. Rudder movement works with banked wings to balance a turn. Controlled by left and right rudder (foot) pedals.
RUNWAY Hard surface, smooth area used for aircraft landings and takeoffs.
SUPER MID-SIZE JETS Combining transatlantic capability with the speed and comfort of a wide-body, high-altitude aircraft. Feature wide-body cabin space, high-altitude capability, speed and ultra-long range.
SCHEDULED AIR TRANSPORTATION Requires the FAA Part 121 certificate.
SEE AND AVOID The FAA requires all pilots to be responsible for keeping their aircraft separated from other aircraft when visual conditions permit spotting traffic. This also applies to IFR flights when pilots are operating in visual weather conditions, and to VFR flights being issued radar advisories. SIGMET An advisory significant to the safety of ALL aircraft, usually issued in times of severe weather.
SPEED OF SOUND Equal to 761 mph at sea level. Also known as Mach 1.
SPORT JET CHARTER An aircraft chartered to transport members of sports teams to sporting events.
STAGE LENGTH The distance of an air charter client’s itinerary.
STATUTE MILE Equal to 5,280 feet.
TAIL NUMBER The airplane’s registration number.
TAIL WIND Winds that are more than 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the runway.
TARMAC A paved airport surface including runways or aprons at an aircraft hangar.
TAWS (terrain awareness and warning system) This system gives the flight crew earlier aural and visual warning of impending terrain. As an advanced type of GPWS, it also has forward looking capability and provides continued operation in the landing configuration.
TAXI TIME The aircraft’s transit time on the runway until it takes off.
TCA (terminal control area) Set up at the confluence of airways in the vicinity of one or more major airports, this volume of controlled airspace protects air traffic flying in and out.
TCAD This proprietary low cost anti-collision system detects and alers pilots to nearby transponders. However, it does not provide evasive instructions or coordinate with other aircraft.
TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance system) This cockpit system detects other transponder-equipped aircraft. It also alerts pilots and commands/coordinates evasive action between aircraft.
THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION An independent auditor’s verification of safety, maintenance and operations.
TRAFFIC PATTERN Based on a standard rectangular flight pattern around airport landing runways. May involve 45-degree or crosswind entry, with downwind, base and final legs as rectangle sides. 90-degree left turns are standard, while right-hand traffic patterns are considered non standard (noted in Airport Facility Directories). Downwind is usually flown at a 1,000 or 1,500 feet above the airport elevation. Those airports with a control tower may modify or short-cut the pattern under ATC instructions.
TRANSPONDER An airborne device that transmits an identifying signal that responds to ground-based interrogation signals. A transponder can also provide an aircraft’s altitude to Air Traffic Control.
TRUE AIR SPEED The speed of an aircraft relative to the airmass in which it is flying.
TURBINE A vital component in jet engines, turbines use compressed air to generate thrust, and inside the motor, spin a metal shaft. Turbines also power turboprop aircraft.
TURBO JET AIRCRAFT Jet engine aircraft which operate turbines that in turn operate air compressors.
TURBO PROP AIRCRAFT An aircraft with turbine and propeller powered by a jet engine.
UNICOM (Universal Communication) A radio frequency, typically 121.0 mHz, used for local pilot communication at non-tower (controlled) airports. In addition, UNICOM is used for administrative purposes by Fixed Base Operators.
VFR (Visual Flight Rating) A visual flight rating disallows pilots to climb through a cloud cover.
VISIBILITY The ability to observe and identify extrusive lit objects at night as well as extrusive un-lit objects during the day.
VISUAL METEROLOGICAL CONDITIONS The conditions in which pilots have enough visibility to fly an aircraft and maintain visual separation between clouds and a ceiling, terrain and other aircraft.
VLJ (Very Light Jet) A VLJ, sometimes referred to as an entry-level jet, is a small, short-range jet that seats 2-4 passengers and can be operated by a single pilot.
WAIT TIME The time an aircraft is waiting on the tarmac for departure of the next leg of its itinerary.
WAKE TURBULENCE Occurs when small, horizontal whirlwinds on aircraft wingtip vortices cause a turbulent air condition. The most severe wake turbulence tends to occur when large aircraft flying at low speeds (take-off or landing approach) cause smaller aircraft following close behind to experience control loss. Aircraft controllers can use predefined separation standards to avert this issue during take-off, departure, landing and approach operations.
WAYPOINT A prearranged set of coordinates that identifies a point in physical space, and is defined relative to alternative navigational aids.
WEATHER MINIMUMS The lowest—or worst—visibility conditions an aircraft may be legally flown under visual flight rules. Aircraft are required to fly under instrument flight rules, or not at all, when visibility is less than the specified minimums.
WINGLET Used to improve fuel economy; a small rudder-like addition placed on the tips of a wing used to stabilize, control or employ air movement.
WORLD AERONAUTICAL CHART (WAC) Aeronautical charts used for navigation, WACs are typically used by pilots operating aircraft at high altitudes and moderate speeds.