Pilots can relate to this list of jargons, can you?

Do you speak pilot? As a person aspiring to be one, you should familiarize yourself with the jargons that pilots use. Why so? Echoing what many anthropologist have said, in order for you to understand a certain group of people, you need to study their language first.

The terms and jargons listed here are what pilots, and other members of the aviation industry, commonly use on a day-to-day basis. So studying these terms and taking them to heart will actually help you understand the nature of their work! Kudos to you young enthusiast!


  • AIR POCKET – a spot of turbulence.
  • ALLEY – a passageway between ramps and terminals.
  • BASE – base of the operations for an airline.
  • BLACK BOX – the name given to the flight recorder, usually used for investigation when an accident occurs.
  • CALLSIGN – a phrase used to identify aircrafts in radio transmissions.
  • CEILING – the height above ground or sea level of the base of the lowest layer of cloud.
  • CONNECTION – the transfer between two different flights. This may involve a change in flight number or airline.
  • CONTACT FLIGHT – type of navigation where the altitude and flight path can be maintained by visual reference to the ground and its landmarks.
  • CONTOUR FLIGHT – Contact Flight in and around mountainous areas following visual reference to the terrain’s contours.
  • DEPLANE – getting off the plane.
  • DIRECT FLIGHT – a flight that flies from one destination to another without a connection.
  • ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.
  • ETD: Estimated Time of Departure.
  • ETE: Estimated Time Enroute.
  • FIRST OFFICER – the second in command on the cockpit. The second officer takes turns in operating the aircraft, and in alternating turns with the captain. In other words, he or she is the co-pilot.
  • FLIGHT DECK – the cockpit.
  • FLIGHT LEVEL – the height of the plane is above sea level.
  • GPS – Global Positioning System.
  • GPU – Ground Power Unit.
  • GROUND SPEED – the speed of the plane as measured relative to the ground.
  • IN RANGE – a common announcement made by airlines when the plane to be boarded hasn’t landed yet. The plane is arriving shortly, but it’s hard to tell when exactly it will land.
  • KNOT – the standard unit of speed in aviation and marine transportation. Abbreviation: kt.
  • MAYDAY – ultimate international radio distress call, which signals danger to the people aboard the plane and requires immediate help.
  • NON-STOP – a direct flight that goes from one destination to another without a stopover.
  • NORDO – an aircraft that has no radio or experiencing radio failure.
  • NO-SHOW – a passenger who failed to check-in or board on time, even with reservations.
  • PAX – term for passengers.
  • Psi – the unit of measure for pressure (pounds per square inch).
  • RAMP – the aircraft and ground vehicle movement areas closest to the terminal.
  • STOPOVER – a scheduled interruption of a flight to refuel at an intermediate airport. This could involve a change of aircraft, but does not involve change of flight number or airline.
  • TOUCHDOWN – another word for landing.
  • UTC – Co-ordinated Universal Time, formerly Greenwich Mean Time.
  • VIS – Visibility.
  • XMSN -Transmission.
  • ZULU – the timezone used by aviation and the military.

Take note and study of these terms. Who knows, in the long run, you will be speaking like a pilot even while you were still training!


Learning the jargons in the industry isn’t enough to actually become a full-fledged pilot; training to become one will. WCC Aviation School is an aviation school in the Philippines that offers special training in becoming a pilot!

WCC is the closest aviation school that anyone can visit along the Metro. But if you want to get some information right away, visit their website here.

May all your flight dreams come true!


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