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1918 Glossary of Aeronautical Terms

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Greetings All,


Last night after I returned home from my work trip I was sitting and reading through my old, dogeared copy of John Rathbun's 1918 work "Aeroplane Construction and Operation", (looking for info in regards to Bullethead's post about castor oil), and remembered that this particular book has one of the best glossaries of period correct aviation terms I have ever run across. So this morning I sat down and took the plain text version, cleaned it up, made a few spelling corrections and am posting it here. I think you may find it very useful when reading old war diaries, pilots' letters home, and the like. I have referred to this one myself numerous times over the years in my studies, and while it is not 100% complete it is pretty darned close and is in a very nice concise format. The thing I like about it most is it includes many of the French terms you will run across when reading old accounts. Feel free to copy and paste this into a word file and save it to your computer for future use. I'm a firm believer that you can never know too much about a subject that interests you. Enjoy. smile.gif













In the following list are the most common of the aeronautical words and phrases. Many of these words are of French origin, and in such cases are marked "Fr." In cases of English words, the French equivalents follow in parentheses. When a French word or term is given it is in italics, unless it is in common use in this country. Words marked (*) are the revisions adopted by the National Advisory Board of Aeronautics at Washington, D. C, and include the term "Airplane," which was intended to supplant the more common "Aeroplane." These revisions have not met with universal adoption, for the older words are too well established to admit of change.




ABSOLUTE UNITS. Units given in terms of mass. For expression in terms of pounds (Gravitational Units) they must be multiplied by some factor involving the value of gravitation. Thus, to convert units of mass into pounds, the mass must be multiplied by the value of gravitation, 32.16 being the average figure taken for this quantity. To convert the absolute lift factors given by the N. P. L. into pounds per square foot per mile per hour, multiply the absolute value by 0.0051 V.


ABSOLUTE ZERO. The temperature at which heat ceases to exist. This is 461 degrees below the Fahrenheit zero, or 273 degrees below the Centigrade zero.


ACCELERATE. To increase in speed.


ACIER (Fr.) Steel.


AERODONETICS. A word originated by Lanchester to denote the science of stability.




AEROFOIL.* A thin wing-like structure designed to obtain lift by the reaction of moving air upon its surfaces.


AERODYNAMICS. A science investigating the forces produced by a stream of air acting upon a surface.


AERODYNAMIC RESISTANCE. The resistance caused by turbulence or eddies.


AERODROME. A flying field. This word was also used by Langley to describe an aeroplane.


AEROSTAT. A lighter than air machine.


AEROSTATICS. The science of lighter than air machines, or devices sustained by flotation.


AEROPLANE. (Fr. L'Avion.) A heavier than air craft sustained by fixed wing surfaces driven through the air at the same velocity as the body of the machine. Auxiliary surfaces are provided for stabilizing, steering, and for producing changes in the altitude. The landing gear may be suitable for either land or water, although in the latter case it is generally known as a "Seaplane." The Committee equivalent is "Airplane."


AILERON.* A movable auxiliary surface used in maintaining lateral balance.


AILE (Fr.) Wing.


AIRBOAT. An aeroplane provided with a light boat hull in which the pilot and passenger are enclosed.


AIRCRAFT.* Any form of craft designed for the navigation of the air. This includes aeroplanes, balloons, dirigibles, helicopters, ornithopters, etc.


AIRPLANE* See aeroplane.


AIRSHIP. A lighter than air craft provided with means of propulsion.




ALTIMETER.* An instrument used for determining the height of aircraft above the earth.


ALTITUDE. Height of aircraft above sea level, generally given in feet.


AMPHIBIAN. An aeroplane equipped with landing gear for both land and water.


ANEMOMETER.* An instrument for measuring the velocity of the wind.


ANGLE OF INCIDENCE. The angle made by a surface or body with an air stream. In the case of curved wings, the angle is measured from the chord of the curve.


ANGLE OF ATTACK.* See Angle of Incidence.


ANGLE OF ENTRY. The angle made with the chord of a wing section by a line drawn tangent to the upper curved face, and at the front edge.


ANGLE OF TRAIL. The angle made by a line drawn tangent to the upper surface at the trailing edge.


ANEMOGRAPH. An instrument used for graphically recording the velocity of air currents.


APTEROID ASPECT. A wing is in apteroid aspect when the narrow edge is toward the wind.


ARETIER ARRIERE (Fr.) See Trailing Edge.


ARETIER AVANT (Fr.) See Leading Edge.


ARBRE (Fr.) Shaft.


ASPECT RATIO.* The ratio of the wing span to the chord (length divided by width).


ATTERRISSAGE (Fr.) Landing Gear.


ATTACHES (Fr.) Fastenings.


AUXILIARY SURFACE. A surface used for stability or for the control of the aeroplane.


AVIAPHONE. An electric system of communication between the passenger and pilot.


AVION (Fr.) See Aeroplane.


AXIS OF PITCH. The axis taken parallel to the length of the wings, and through the center of gravity. This is sometimes called the "Y" axis.


AXIS OF ROLL. An axis passing fore and aft parallel to the center line of the propeller. This axis is sometimes called the "X" axis.


AXIS OF YAW. A vertical axis, passing through the center of gravity, afound which the machine swings when being steered in a horizontal direction under the action of the rudder. This is the "Z"axis.





BALSA WOOD. A very light wood obtained from South America. It is lighter than cork.


BALLOON.* A form of aircraft of the lighter than air type comprising a gas bag and car. It is not provided with a power plant, and depends upon the bouyancy of the gas for its sustentation. A balloon restrained from free flight by means of a cable is known as a "Captive Balloon." A kite balloon is an elongated form of captive balloon, fitted with a tail to keep it headed into the wind, and is inclined at an angle so that the wind aids in increasing the lift of the gas.


BALLONET.* A small air balloon within the main gas bag of a balloon or dirigible used for controlling the ascent or descent, and for keeping the fabric of the outer envelope taut when the pressure of the gas is reduced. The ballonet is kept inflated with air at the required pressure, the air being controlled by a valve or by regulating the speed of the blower.


BANK.* To incline the wings laterally when making a turn so that a portion of the lift force will be opposed to the centrifugal force.


BAROGRAPH.* (Fr. Barographe.) An instrument used for recording pressure variations in the atmosphere. The paper charts on which the records are made are used for determining the altitude of aircraft.


BAROMETER. An instrument used for measuring variations in the atmospheric pressure, but is not provided with a recording mechanism as in the case of the barograph.


BEAUME. A scale of density or a hydrometer unit used in measuring the density of fluids. On the Beaume scale water is 10.00, while on the "Specific gravity" scale water is 1.00. The Beaume scale is generally used for gasoline and oils.


BENDING-MOMENT. The moment or "Leverage" that tends to bend a beam.


BEQUILLE (Fr.) Tail Skid.


BERCEAU de MOTEUR (Fr.) Engine Bed.


BIAS LAID FABRIC. Fabric laid on the wing structure with the seams at an angle with the ribs.


BIPLACE (Fr.) Two Seater.


BIPLANE.* (Fr. Biplan.) An aeroplane with two superposed lifting surfaces.






BOIS (Fr.) Wood.


BOIS CREUS (Fr.) Hollow wood construction.


BOMBER. An aeroplane used for bombing operations.


BOOM. The fore and aft beams running from the wings to the tail in a pusher type biplane.


BORD de ATTACQUE (Fr.) Entering or leading edge.


BORD de SORTIE (Fr.) Trailing edge.


BLADE, PROPELLER. (Fr. Pale-Helice.)


BOULON (Fr.) Bolt.


BOUSSOLE (Fr.) Compass.


BRAS de AILE (Fr.) Wing Spar.


BREVET (Fr.) Flying permit or license.


BRAKES, AIR. Small adjustable flaps used in increasing the head resistance during a landing, thus decreasing the speed.


BURBLE POINT. The angle at which the lift of a wing section reaches a maximum.


BUOYANCY. The static force due to a difference in density. The difference in density between the gas in a balloon envelope and the outside air determines the sustaining or buoyant force of a balloon.


BUS. A slow fairly stable aeroplane used in training schools.





CABLE. (Fr. Cable.) A wire rope built up of a number of small strands.


CAERE' * (Fr.) A flying attitude in which the angle of incidence is larger than normal with the tail well down.


CAMBER.* The convexity, or rise of a lifting surface, measured from the chord of the curve. It is usually given as the ratio of the maximum height of the curve to the length of the chord. Top camber refers to the upper surface, and bottom camber to the lower surface.


CABANE (Fr.) The center struts rising from the top of the body to the upper wing, or the short struts used for the bracing of the overhanging portions of a biplane wing. Usually cabane denotes the center cell struts.


CANARD (Fr.) A machine in which the elevator and stabilizer are in front. The canard type flies "tail first."


CAPOT (Fr.) Cowl or motor hood.




CAPACITY.* The lifting capacity is the maximum flying load of an aicraft. The carrying capacity (live load) is the excess of the lifting capacity over the dead weight of the aeroplane, the latter including the structure, power plant and essential accessories.


CARLINGUE (Fr.) Cock-pit.


CATA-HEDRAL. A negative dihedral, or wing arrangement, where the wing tips are lower than the center portion.


CATAPULT. A device for launching an aeroplane from the deck of a ship or other limited space. The first Wright machines were launched with a catapult.


CELL. (Fr. Cellule.) The space included between adjacent struts of a biplane. The space between the center struts is the "Center Cell."


CEILING. The maximum altitude to which an aeroplane can ascend.


CEINTURE de SURETE (Fr.) Safety Belt.


CENTER OF PRESSURE (C.P.)* The point of application of the resultant of all aerodynamic forces on an aeroplane wing. If the wing is supported at the center of pressure it will be in equilibrium.


CENTER OF GRAVITY. The point at which an aeroplane will balance when freely suspended.


CENTER OF BUOYANCY.* The point at which the resultant of all the buoyant forces act.


CHARNIERE (Fr.) Hinge.


CHASSIS. The landing wheels and their frame. This is also called the "Landing Gear" in English, or the "Train de Atterrissage" in French. The chassis carries the load when resting on the ground or when running over the surface.


CHORD.* This has two meanings. The chord is the width of a wing or its shortest dimension. The chord is also the straight line drawn across the leading and trailing edges of a wing section.


CHASER. (Fr. Avion de Chasse.) A small, fast machine used in scouting or fighting. This type is also known as a "Speed Scout."


CHARA-A-BANC (Fr.) A two seater aeroplane in which the pilot and passenger are seated side by side.


CLOCHE (Fr.) A type of control column used on the old Type XI Bleriot.


COCK-PIT. The part of the body occupied by the pilot or passenger. The openings in the body cut for entrance and exit are the "Cock-pit Openings."


COMMANDES A PONT (Fr.) Control bridge or Deperdussin yoke.


COMPTE TOURS (Fr.) Tachometer or speed indicator.


COMPONENTS. The individual forces that make up a total resultant force.


CONTROLS.* (Fr. Commandes.} The complete system used for steering, elevating, balancing, and speed regulation. When controls are operated by hand they are known as "Manual Controls."


CONTROL BRIDGE. (Fr. Commandes A Pont.) The "U" shaped lever used with the Deperdussin control system. Sometimes known as the "Yoke."


CONTROL STICK. (Fr. Manche A Balai.) A simple control lever capable of being moved in four directions for elevation, depression and lateral balance.


CONTROL SURFACES. The adjustable surfaces used for directing and balancing aircraft. On an aeroplane these are represented by the rudder, elevator, and ailerons.


CONTREPLAQUE (Fr.) Three-ply wood.


CORDE (Fr.) Cord or wire.


CORD a PIANO (Fr.) Piano or solid hard wire.


CORD WINDING. (Fr. Transfil.) A winding wrapped around wooden struts to prevent splintering or complete fracture.


COSSE (Fr.) Thimble for cable connections.


COUSSIN (Fr.) Cushion.


COVERING, WING. (Fr. Entoilage.) The fabric used in covering the wing structure.


CRITICAL ANGLE.* The angle of attack or incidence at which the lift is a maximum.


COWL. (Fr. Capot.) The metal cover surrounding a rotary cylinder motor.


CROISILLONS (Fr.) Bracing wires.





DAMPING. The reduction of oscillation or vibration by the resistance of the stabilizing surfaces.


DEAD LOAD. The weight of the structure, power plant, and essential accessories.


DEAD WATER. The wake directly in the rear of a moving body or surface.




DECALAGE.* The difference in the angle of incidence between the upper and lower wings of a biplane.


DEMOISELLE TYPE. A small monoplane type developed by Santos Dumont.


DENSITY. The specific weight, or the weight per cubic foot.


DIEDRE (Fr.) Dihedral angle.


DERIVE (Fr.) Fin.


DIHEDRAL ANGLE. (Fr. Diedre.) When the tips of the wing are higher than at the center, the two wing halves form an angle. The included angle between the two halves, taken above the surface, is known as the "Dihedral angle."


DIPPING FRONT EDGE. A wing section in which the leading edge is well bent down below the rest of the lower surface.


DIRIGIBLE.* A lighter than air craft in which sustentation is provided by a gas bag. It differs from a balloon in having a power plant, and is thus capable of flying in any desired direction regardless of the wind.


DISC AREA OF PROPELLER.* The total area of the disc swept out by the propeller tips.


DISCONTINUITY. Interruption in direction, or breaks in stream line flow. A body causing eddies or turbulence causes "Discontinuous Flow." The surface separating the eddies and the continuous stream is called a "Surface of Discontinuity."


DISPLACEMENT. The volume or space occupied by a floating; body.


DOUBLE CAMBER. A wing section in which both the top and bottom surfaces are given a convex camber or curvature.


DOPE. (Fr. Enduit.) A solution used for protecting and stretching the wing fabric.


DRAG. The resistance offered to the forward motion of a surface or body moving through the air. As defined by the Advisory Committee this is the total resistance offered by the craft and includes both the resistance of the wings and body. This conception is confusing, hence the author has considered drag as being the forward resistance of the wings alone. The resistance of the structure is simply called the "Head resistance," and the sum of the resistances is the "Total resistance." This nomenclature was in existence before the Advisory Board proposed their definition.


DRIFT. As denned by the Advisory Board, the drift is the horizontal resistance offered by the wings alone. This is confusing since previous works denned "Drift" as the amount by which an aircraft was driven out of its normal path by wind gusts. According to usage, "Drift" is the sidewise deviation from the normal flight path.


DRAG WIRES. The bracing wires used for resisting the drag stresses set up in the wing.


DRIFT INDICATOR. An instrument for indicating the amount by which an aircraft is blown out of its path by side winds.


DUAL CONTROL. A double system of control that can be operated both by the pilot and passenger.


DUTCH ROLL. A combined side roll and fore and aft pitch. The machine rolls from side to side in combination with an up and down motion of the nose.


DYNAMIC PRESSURE. The pressure due to the impact of an air stream.





ECCENTRIC LOAD. A load acting to one side of the center line of a beam or strut.


EC OLE (Fr.) School.


ECROU (Fr.) Nut.


EDDY. An irregularly moving mass of air caused by the breaking up of a continuous air stream, or by "Discontinuity."


EFFICIENCY. The efficiency of a lifting surface is generally expressed by the ratio of the lift to the drag, or the "Lift-drag ratio." The efficiency of a propeller is the ratio of the work usefully applied to the air stream in regard to the power supplied to the propeller.


ELEVATOR.* The hinged horizontal tail surface used for maintaining longitudinal equilibrium and for ascent or descent.


EMPENNAGE (Fr.) The group of tail surfaces, including the elevator and stabilizer.


ENDUIT (Fr.) Dope.


ENGINE ROTATION. According to the Advisory Board, an engine is turning in right-hand rotation when the output shaft stub is turning anti-clockwise.


ENGINE BEARERS (BED). (Fr. Berceau du Moteur). The timbers or fuselage members upon which the engine is fastened.


ENGINE SPIDER or BRACKET. (Fr. Arraignee Support de Moteur.) A perforated metal support for a rotary cylinder motor.


ENTERING EDGE. (Fr. Bord D'Attaque or Aretier Avant.) The front edge, or air engaging edge, of an aerofoil or lifting surface. It is also called the "Leading Edge."


ENTOILAGE (Fr.) Wing fabric or covering.


ENVELOPE. The gas bag of a balloon or dirigible.


ESSIEU (Fr.) Axle.


ENVERGURE (Fr.) Wing span.


EXPANDING PITCH. A system in which the pitch increases or "expands" towards the tips of the propeller.





FABRIC, WING. (Fr. Entoilage.) The cloth used for covering the wing and control surface structures.


FAIRING. (Fr. Fusele.) Wood coverings used to streamline steel struts or other structural members.


FERRULES. Sheet steel caps used for the ends of the interplane struts.


FIN. (Fr. Derive.) A fixed vertical stabilizing surface used for damping out horizontal vibration and oscillations.


FINENESS RATIO. The ratio of the maximum length to the width of a streamline body.


FITTINGS. (Fr. Ferrures, Godets.) The metal parts used for making connections between the structural parts of an aeroplane.




FLACCID BLADE PROPELLER. A propeller having a cloth covered frame work on which the fabric is free to adjust itself to the air pressure.


FLAPS, ELEVATOR. (Fr. Volets de Profondeur.) See ELEVATOR.


FLEXIBLE SHAFT. (Fr. Transmission flexible.) Used for tachometer drive.


FLOORING. (Fr. Plancher.)


FLASQUE D'HELICE (Fr.) Propeller flange.


FOOT LEVER. (Fr. Palonnier.) The foot lever generally used to operate the rudder.


FORMERS. Supports used in giving a certain outline to the fuselage. The formers are attached to the fuselage frame and in turn support small stringers on which the fabric is fastened.


FRICTIONAL WAKE. The following current of air in the rear of a moving body or surface. Because of the friction, a portion of the air is drawn in the direction of the motion.


FUSELAGE. A structure, usually enclosed, which contains and streamlines the power plant, passengers, fuel, etc. Sometimes called the "Body."




FUSIFORM. Of streamline form.




GAP. The vertical distance between leading edges of the superposed planes of the biplane or triplane.


GLIDING. (Fr; Vol Plan.) With an aeroplane the weight of the machine can be made to provide a forward component that will allow the machine to descend slowly (without power) along an inclined line. This line is known as the "Gliding Path."


GLIDING ANGLE. The angle made by the gliding path with the horizontal is known as the gliding angle. This may be expressed in degrees or in the units of horizontal distance traveled per foot of fall.


GLIDER. A small form of aeroplane without a power plant, which is capable of gliding down from an elevation in the manner of an aeroplane. With a proper direction and velocity of wind it can be made to hold a constant altitude and can be made to hover over one spot continuously.


GOUVERNAIL (Fr.) Rudder.


GUY WIRE. A bracing wire.





HARD WIRE. A solid tempered wire of high tensile strength use for aeroplane bracing systems.


H. T. WIRE. Another expression for hard or high tensile strength wire.


HEAD RESISTANCE. The resistance of the structural parts of an aircraft. In an aeroplane, the head resistance is the sum of the resistances of the body, stays, struts, chassis, tail, rudder, elevators, etc.; in fact, this includes everything with the exception of the wing drag.


HELICOPTER. A type of direct lift machine in which susteuta tion is performed by vertical air screws or propellers.


HELIX. A geometrical curve formed by the combined advance and revolution of a point.


HELICE (Fr.) Propeller or screw.


HELICE TRACTIVE (Fr.) Tractor propeller.






HOOD OF ENGINE. (Fr. Capot.)


HYDROMETER. An instrument for measuring the density of liquids.





ICTHYOID. Fish or stream lined shape.


INCLINED PLANE. A plane inclined to the wind stream so that the energy of the air stream is broken up into the two components of lift and drag.


INCLINOMETER. An instrument used for determining the angle of the flight path.




INCIDENCE, NEGATIVE. The angle formed with the air stream when front edge of the lifting surface dips below the apparent flight path.


INHERENT STABILITY. Stability due to some fixed arrangement of the main or auxiliary surfaces. A machine that requires mechanism or moving parts for its stability is automatically but not inherently stable.


INTERFERENCE. The crowding of the airstream in the gap of a biplane or triplane causes the surfaces to "Interfere," and results in a loss of lift.







JAMB de FORCE (Fr.) Bracing strut.


JANTE (Fr.) Rim of wheel.







KILOMETER. French metric unit of distance. One kilometer equals 0.621 statute mile or 0.5396 nautical mile.


KILOGRAM. Metric unit of weight. One kilogram equals 2.205 Avoir. pounds.


KNOCKOUT HUB. An aeroplane chassis wheel hub provided with removable bronze bushings.


KEEL PLANE AREA.* The total effective side area of an aeroplane which tends to prevent skidding or side slipping.





LATERAL STABILITY. Stability about the fore and aft axis.


L'AVION (Fr.) Aeroplane.


LAMINATED. Built up in a series of layers.


LEEWAY.* The angular deviation from a given course due to cross currents of wind.




LIFT. The vertical component of the forces produced on an aerofoil by an air current.


LIFT COEFFICIENT. The lift per unit of area at a unit velocity (Ky). The American lift coefficient is the lift in pounds per square foot at one mile per hour.




LIVE LOAD. The live load generally includes the passengers, pilot, fuel, oil, instruments, and portable baggage, although in some cases the instruments are included in the dead load. The live load is the difference between the total lift and the dead load.


LOADING (UNIT). The unit loading is the load carried per square foot of wing surface, or is equal to the total weight divided by the area.


LONGERONS. The principal fore and aft structural members of the fuselage!




LONGITUDINAL STABILITY. Stability in a fore and aft direction about the "Y" axis.





MASS. The quantity of matter. Is equal to the weight in pounds divided by the gravitation, or generally to the weight divided by 32.16.


MANDRIN de BOIS (Fr.) Wood spar.


MAROUFLAGE (Fr.) Strut taping with fabric bands.


MANCHE A BALAI (Fr.) Control stick.


MANETTE (Fr.) Throttle.


MAR, MONTANT (Fr.) Interplane struts.


METACENTER.* The point of intersection of a straight vertical line passing through the center of gravity of the displaced fluid or gas, and the line that formerly was a vertical through the center of gravity before the body was tipped from its position of equilibrium. There is a different metacenter for each position of a floating body.


MONOPLANE. (Fr. Monoplan.) A type of aeroplane with a single wing surface.


MONOCOQUE BODY (Fr.) A body built up in tubular form out of three-ply wood, thus virtually forming a single piece body.


MONOPLACE (Fr.) Single seater.


MONOSOUPAPE (Fr.) Single valve Gnome motor.


MONTGOLFIER (Fr.) Hot air balloon.


MULTIPLANE. An aeroplane having the main lifting surface divided into a number of parts.




NACELLE. The body or fuselage of an aeroplane or dirigible. It generally signifies a dirigible body. The short fuselage of a pusher type is often called the nacelle.




NEGATIVE AILERONS. Ailerons making a negative angle with the wind when in normal flight. The negative incidence of the ailerons is decreased on the low side and increased on the high side so that the high side is pushed down. This decreases the drag on the lower, inner wing in making a turn, and therefore does not tend to stall the machine.


NERVURES (Fr.) Wing ribs.


NORMAL PLANE. A flat plane placed with its surface at right angles to the air stream.


NORMAL PRESSURE. The pressure at right angles to the surface of a plane.


NON-LIFTING TAIL. A stabilizing surface arranged so that it carries no load in normal flight.


NOSING. The member used for the entering edge of the wing.


NOSE. The front end of the aeroplane.


NUT. (Fr. Ecru.)




OBLITEUR RINGS (Fr.) The special piston rings used on the Gnome motor.


ORTHOPTER. Any type of wing flapping machine.


ORNITHOPTER. A wing flapping machine that imitates bird flight.


ORTHOGONAL BIPLANE. A biplane with the upper and lower leading edges in line.


OSMOSIS. The transfer of hydrogen or other gas through a balloon envelope by a molecular process. This must not be confused with leakage due to holas.




O. W. L. TYPE. A type of machine adapted for use over "Water and Land."





PANCAKE. A straight vertical drop due to stalling.


PATH OF FLIGHT. The path of the center of gravity of an aircraft in reference to the air.


PALONNIER (Fr.) Foot bar or lever.


PANELS. The wing sections included between adjacent struts.




PARASOL TYPE. A monoplane in which the wing is located above the body.


PENGUIN. A training machine which cannot leave the ground.


PERSONNEL. Pilot and passengers.


PETROL. An English term for gasoline.




PILOT. The operator of aircraft.


PILOT BALLOONS. Small balloons sent up to determine the direction of the wind.


PITCH. The forward distance traveled through by one revolution of the propeller.


PITCHING. A fore and aft oscillation, first heading up and then diving.


PISCIFORM. Fish form.


PIQUE, VOL (Fr.) Dive.


PLAFOND (Fr.) "Ceiling" or maximum altitude obtainable.


PLAN CENTRAL (Fr.) Center panel.


PLANCHER (Fr.) Flooring.


PLAN FIXE de QUEUE (Fr.) Stabilizer surface.


PLAN de DERIVE (Fr.) Stabilizing fin.


PITOT TUBE. An instrument for measuring the velocity of an air current.


PONTOON. Seaplane floats.


POIGNEE (Fr.) Handle.


POMPE (Fr.) Pump.


POMPE A PRESSION (Fr.) Pressure pump.


POULIE (Fr.) Pulley.


PROPELLER. (Fr. Helice.) A device used in converting the energy of a motor into the energy required for the propulsion of an aircraft. It consists of two or more rotating blades which are inclined in regard to the relative wind, and hence they act as rotary aeroplanes in creating a tractive force.





RACE OF A PROPELLER. The air stream thrown by the propeller.


RADIAL MOTOR. A motor with the cylinders arranged in radial lines around the crankcase.


RAKED TIPS. The tips are arranged at an angle with the wing so that the span of the trailing edge is greater than that of the leading edge.


RAYONS (Fr.) Spokes.


REFLEX CURVE. An aerofoil in which the trailing edge is given an upward turn.


REMOUS (Fr.) A downward current of air.






RESULTANT. The total force resulting from the application of a number of forces.


RETREAT. Back swept wings with the tips to the rear of the wing center.


RIBS. The fabric forming member of the wing structure.


RUDDER, VERTICAL. A control surface used for steering in a horizontal plane.


ROLL. Oscillation about the fore and aft axis.





SCREW. (Fr. Helice.) See PROPELLER.


SEAPLANE.* An aeroplane equipped with floats or pontoons for landing on water.




SERVICE TANK. The fuel tank feeding directly into the carburetors.


SET BACK WINGS. A type of wing in which the leading edge is inclined backward as in the Mann biplane. The trailing edge is straight.


SHOCK ABSORBERS. An elastic device on the chassis or landing gear that absorbs vibration by allowing a limited axle movement.


SIDE SLIP.* Sliding down sideways, and toward the center of a turn. This is due to an excessive angle of bank.


SIEGE (Fr.) Seat.


SIMILITUDE, LAWS OF. The drag or resistance of a small aerodynamic body does not increase in direct proportion with the area and speed. The laws governing the relation between a model and a full size machine are known as the laws of "Similitude."


SKIDS.* (Fr. Patin, Pattinage.) Long wood or metal runners attached to the chassis to prevent the "nosing over" of a machine when landing, or to prevent it from dropping into holes or ditches on rough ground. It also acts when the wheels collapse.


SKID CURTAINS. Vertical side curtains or surfaces provided to reduce the skidding action on turns or to prevent side slip.


SKIDDING.* Sliding sideways away from the center of the turn. It is due to insufficient banking on a turn.


SKIN FRICTION. The resistance caused by the friction of the air along a surface.


SLIP.* Applied to propeller action, the slip is the difference between the actual advance of an aircraft and the theoretical advance calculated from the product of the mean pitch and the revolutions per minute. When the propeller is held stationary, the slip is said to be 100 percent.


SLIP STREAM. The wind stream thrown by a propeller.


SOARING FLIGHT.* The sustentation of a wing surface due to wind currents and without the expenditure of other power. Soaring flight is performed by gulls, buzzards and vultures, but no practical machine has yet been built that will fly continuously without the aid of power.


SPAN. (Fr. Envergure.) The length or longest dimension of a wing, generally taken at right angles to the wind stream.


SPAR. (Fr. Bras D'Aile.) The main wing beams that transmit the lift to the body.


SPOKES. (Fr. Rayon.)




STABILITY.* The property of an aircraft that causes it to return to a condition of equilibrium after meeting with a disturbance in flight.


STAGGER.* The advance of the leading edge of the upper wing over that of the lower wing.


STABILIZER.* (Fr. Stabilisateur.) A horizontal tail surface (fixed) used for damping out oscillations and for promoting longitudinal stability.


STALLING.* The condition of an aeroplane that has lost the speed necessary for steerage way or control.






STATOSCOPE.* An instrument for detecting a small rate of ascent or descent. Used principally with balloons.


STAY WIRE. (Fr. Tendeur.) A wire or cable used as a tie to hold members together, or to give stiffness to a structure.


STEP.* A break in the form of a float or flying boat bottom.


STREAMLINE. A form of body that sets up no turbulence or eddies in passing through air or liquid.


STRUT.* (Fr. Mar, Montant.) A compression member used in separating the upper and lower wings of a biplane; or the longerons of the fuselage.







TACHOMETER. (Fr. Compte Tours.) An instrument for directly indicating the revolutions per minute.


TAIL.* (Fr. Queue.) The rear part of an aircraft to which usually are attached the rudder, stabilizer, and elevator.


TAIL SKID. (Fr. Bequille.) A flexibly attached rod which holds the tail surfaces off the ground, and breaks the landing shocks on the tail structure.




TAIL DIVE. A very dangerous backward dive.


TAIL SPIN. A condition in which the tail revolves about a vertical line passing through the center of gravity.


TANDEM PLANES. A form of aeroplane in which the wings are placed one after another.


TAUBE. An old type of German or Austrian aeroplane with back swept wing tips.


TAXI. To run along the ground.


THIMBLE. (Fr. Cosse.) An oval grooved metal fitting used for the protection of a cable loop at the point of attachment.


THREE-PLY. (Fr. Contreplaque.) A wood sheet composed of three layers of wood glued together, the line of grain crossing at each joint.


THRUST. The propulsive force exerted by a propeller.


THRUST DEDUCTION.* The reduction of thrust due to a reduction of pressure under the stern of the aircraft.


TIRANT (Fr.) Bracing tubes.


TORQUE. The turning force or moment exerted by the motor.


TOILS (Fr.) Linen.


TORQUE WARP. The amount of warp, or permanent set in the ailerons necessary to overcome the torque or twisting effect of the motor. In some machines the torque is overcome by changing the angle of incidence at the wing tips.


TRACTOR BIPLANE. A type of aeroplane in which the propeller is placed in front of the wings so that it pulls the machine along.


TRAILING EDGE. The edge of a wing at which the air stream leaves the surface.


TRAIN D'ATTERRISSAGE (Fr.) Landing gear.


TRANSFIL (Fr.) Cord winding on the struts.


TRIPLANE. (Fr. Triplan.) An aeroplane with three superposed wings.


TURBULENCE. The eddies or discontinuity caused by a body or surface passing through the air.




USEFUL WEIGHT. The difference between the total lift and the dead load. This comprises the pilot and passenger, the weight of the fuel, baggage and instruments.


UNIT LOADING. The weight per square foot of main wing surface.









VOLANT (Fr.) Steering wheel.


VERNIS (Fr.) Varnish.


VRIL (Fr.) Spinning nose dive.


VOLETS de PROFONDEUR (Fr.) Elevator flaps.





WARP CONTROL.* Lateral control obtained by twisting the wing tips.


WASHOUT. Decreased camber or incidence toward the wing tips.


WEATHER-COCK STABILITY. Stability in the line of travel, or with the relative wind, so that the machine always tends to head into the wind.


WHALE TYPE. A speed type biplane in which the body entirely fills the gap between the upper and lower wings.


WHIRLING TABLE. A testing device in which a model wing or body is placed at the end of a revolving arm.


WINGS.* (Fr. Aile.) The main supporting surfaces of an aeroplane.


WORKING FACE. The face of a propeller blade lying next to the slip stream.


WAKE GAIN.* Due to skin friction and eddies, a moving aircraft drags a certain amount of the surrounding air with it. This reduces the effective resistance of the hull and increases the effective pitch of a pusher propeller since the latter acts on a forward moving mass of air. This is "Wake Gain."





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uncleal wrote:


Zee wing broke off in a dive.



LOL! No, uncleal you would find the correct phrase for that situation under M for, "Merde! Les ailes ont disparu! Mon avion est foutue!"




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In my father's time in the RAF (1922-1958) it was considered very bad to call an airscrew a 'propellor' as those were fitted to ships. Even when I joined in 1966 airscrew was the preferred term. He also called a radio a wireless, a term which is coming back into use with a rather different meaning. He also pronounce 'radar' with a short first 'a', unlike the modern 'raydar'.


And, of course, a 'penguin' was an RAF expression for a non-flying officer long after those strange 'flight simulators' were forgotten. Maybe the OFF team could simulate one of these early flight simulators just for a laugh. No, no, I didn't say that !

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