Unformatted text preview: 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 This page intentionally left blank 09:40 Page ii 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page i The Cambridge
Second Edition 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page ii 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page iii The Cambridge
Second Edition Bill Gunston, obe, fraes CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore,
São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo
Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:
© Bill Gunston 2004, 2009 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the
provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part
may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published in print format 2009
ISBN-13 978-0-511-63403-1 eBook (EBL) ISBN-13 978-0-521-19165-4 Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy
of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication,
and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain,
accurate or appropriate.
Information regarding prices, travel timetables, and other factual information
given in this work are correct at the time of first printing, but Cambridge
University Press does not guarantee the accuracy of such information thereafter. 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page v Foreword
Gathering terms for an aerospace dictionary is
harder than it looks. I recently studied a list of
terms used by the US Air Force to describe the
status of each of its component organizations.
They explained, ‘These actions are defined in
ways that may seem arcane to the nonspecialist, but each term has a specific
meaning.’ The terms are: Activate, Active list,
Assign, Attach, Consolidate, Constitute,
Designate, Disband, Disestablish, Establish,
Establishment, Inactivate, Inactive list,
Organize, Provisional organizations, Redesignate, Re-establish, Relieve from active
duty, and Unit. I read their meanings through
several times and decided not to include any in
In a previous edition I was criticised by a
reviewer for using words ‘which have no relevance to aerospace’. He cited as an example
‘barrier pattern’, a term which BAe
Manchester had asked me to define! My sole
objective is to create a useful product. To this
end I have included brief entries on such words
as ‘generic’, ‘oxygen’ and ‘gasoline’, which are
not aerospace terms. Incidentally, while
‘gasoline’ is clearly now a preferred spelling, I
have had to write quite an essay on ‘kerosene/
I once had to defend myself against an air
marshal who was offended by such rubbish (as
he saw it) as ‘hardware’ and ‘software’. Today
the explosion of home computing has opened
up millions to such previously unfamiliar
language. Indeed, in recent years the number
of software terms has begun to get out of
hand. The JSF programme alone involves
more than 40 software acronyms, and I have
omitted most of them.
Partly for this reason, this dictionary is
centred (centered) at least in mid-Atlantic, if
not further west, so we have ‘Petrol Gasoline’,
the brief definition appearing under the latter.
Cross-references are italicised. I have used US
spellings wherever they are appropriate, and in this field they tend to predominate. Note:
USA means US Army.
I have attempted to include a brief explanation of aerospace materials, even if they are
known by a registered tradename. Also
included are the names of many organizations,
but, with a few exceptions, not armed forces,
airlines, museums or flying clubs, and
certainly not the names of manufacturers or
particular types of aircraft, though such
acronyms as TSPJ – Tornado self-protection
jammer – are tempting. On the other hand,
there is a grey area in which a company
product appears to merit inclusion, an
example being Zero Reader. I have had particular trouble with the names of spacecraft and
their payloads, but this is a dictionary of aviation, not space flight.
Entries are in strict alphabetical order; thus
MW50 appears in the place for MW-fifty. The
exception is where an entry has a single alphabetical character followed by a numeral. In
such cases it appears immediately after other
entries featuring that single character. With a
subject as complicated as aerospace, where
one finds C, c, c1, c¯ , c¯ , (c), C* and a host of
C+numeral entries, it is difficult to decide
which sequence to adopt. Greek terms are
listed in Appendix 1, but some – such as Alpha
and Beta – merit a place in the body of the
On a lighter note, I read an article by Col.
Art Bergman, USAF, explaining how to
manage the temperamental F100 engine. I had
no difficulty with his EECs, UFCs and Plaps,
but I was defeated by ‘The F100 needs a lot
more TLC than the J79 . . .’ I asked several
certified F-15 drivers, and they were all mystified. I called the 527th TFTS, then the
European Aggressor outfit. A charming
female voice instantly said, ‘Ever think of
tender loving care?’ On reflection, I put this
meaning in the dictionary. The criterion is
v 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page vi Foreword
whether or not an aerospace person might be
confused without it.
One obvious problem area is at what point
one should give up trying to include foreign
terms. Some may think I have been overgenerous to our Gallic friends, while other
countries may think themselves harshly
treated by being ignored. It is impossible to
say ‘Leave out all foreign terms and
acronyms’, because many have become part of
the English language. Nobody would expect
‘aileron’ to be omitted, and before long
‘Fenestron’ will probably be just as universally
accepted as ‘fenestron’.
At a rough count the number of new entries
this time is in excess of 15,000. Almost all the
additions are acronyms. There is little point
in again saying that acronyms are an infectious disease, especially in the world of
aerospace. Whilst admitting that the incentive
to abbreviate is often strong, it is self-defeating
if the reader has a choice of more than 20
interpretations and does not know which one
Some acronyms, such as Cardsharp, appear
contrived. Another is Tiger – Terrifically
Insensitive to Ground-Effect Radar; I had to
force myself to include it. In general, I have
omitted acronyms which include the name of
a company, an example being Caps – Collins
adaptive processor system. I have attempted
to indicate whether the spoken acronym or
spelt-out version predominates. Thus, we have
Papi before PAPI. The oustanding exception
is NATO. This is always spoken as a word, but
the hierarchy in Brussels still insists that it is
not written Nato.
Some acronyms bear little resemblance to
the actual initial letters of the original words,
while a few are quite a mouthful. We have
been in particular trouble with the Joint Strike
Fighter. This soon spawned JSF-E&MD
and JSFPO-AEP, whilst Boeing was awarded
a $28,690,212 contract to perform the
JSFPICPTD. This means the Joint Strike
Fighter Program Integrated Core Processing
Technical Demonstration and is something I
have omitted. Another non-starter has to be
vi Direct, which the US Air Force tells me stands
for Defense IEMATS REplacement Command and Control Terminal, which would be
fine were it not for the fact that IEMATS
stands for Improved Emergency MEssage
Automated Transmission System. Roger
Bacon, the sage of Flight International, has
drawn attention to Boeing’s ‘no-tail advanced
theater transport, tilt-wing super-short
takeoff and landing’, which creates the handy
name NTATTTW/SSTOL. Clearly, we need
acronyms within acronyms.
It is often difficult to decide when the name
of a specific item has become a more general
term which has to be included. In the 1970s the
AAH (Advanced Attack Helicopter) meant
the AH-64 Apache. This is a particular type of
helicopter, so it had no place in these pages.
However, over the years AAH has become a
term applied to several of the AH-64’s later
competitors, so exclusion is no longer justified. In the same way Awacs is now a class of
aircraft, while, even though there is only one
type of AABNCP, that designation is so
important it would be unhelpful to omit it.
Both the AAH and AABNCP begin with
‘Advanced’. This is merely a pointless buzzword. Presumably it is intended to imply that
something is the very latest, ‘state of the art’
and better than the competition, but – in aerospace at least – I have seldom heard of
anybody designing something that was
not ‘advanced’. Can these items still be
‘advanced’ after 40 years? To me, another bête
noire is ‘integrated’. Already we have a zillion
AIAs (advanced integrated acronyms). This is
an advanced integrated dictionary.
There is an obvious need for a body with the
clout to decree what things shall be called,
because the present situation is ludicrous. Did
you know that the acronym ATAC can mean
‘Advanced Target Acquisition and Classification’? Fine, but ATDC stands for ‘Assisted
Target Detection and Classification’ and also
for ‘Automatic Target Detection and
Classification’ and also for ‘Automated
Target Detection and Classification’. Clearly
that is not enough, because ATRC stands for 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page vii Foreword
‘Aided Target Recognition and Classification’
and ‘Automatic Target Recognition and
Classification’. I did not myself invent these.
And I have just noticed that the USAF, the
world’s leading offender, has become dissatisfied with the mere ERT (extended-range
tank). It has changed it to ERFCS, extendedrange fuel-containment system. Feeble! The
name could be made far more complicated!
In the same way, it should be simple to have
an agreed abbreviation for an airspace control
zone, but we are now confronted by CTLZ,
CTR, CTRZ, and CTZ. In the first edition of
this work I included FMEA, for which two
elucidations were (and are) current: failure
modes and effects analysis and failure-mode
effects analysis. I now have to add FMECA –
failure-mode effects and criticality analysis
– and FMETA – failure-mode effects and task
analysis. It is inconceivable that the authors
of the two new letter-jumbles were unaware of
FMEA, and I cannot comprehend the need for
the two new identities. If we go on like this I
fear for the sanity of whoever takes over this
work when I collapse through exhaustion.
Many of the acronyms in these pages
already have more than 20 meanings, and are
gathering fresh ones all the time. This trend is
leading to texts which, even to most aerospace
people, must appear mere gobbledegook.
There is no more clearly written periodical
than Aerospace, published by the august
Royal Aeronautical Society, and it strives to
remain one of the few bastions of good
English. They published an article which told
us, ‘Currently, BASE is developing a Terprom
SEM-E standard card for use in the H764G, a
high-accuracy INS with embedded GPS. It has two slots, the second being used by an
Arinc, MIL-1553A/B or PANIL interface.’
Many readers were doubtless happy with this,
and one was impelled to respond with, ‘May I
add something to your characterisation of
AQP as “an upgrade of CRM” . . . The human
factors elements had to be injected into nonjeopardy Loft and LOE . . . With converging
developments in CPL NVQ and recurrent
CRM, the AQP may be the shape of things to
come in the UK.’
A speaker at a recent conference ‘has sat
on EUROCONTROL, ICAO, EUROCAE,
RTAC and AEEC. In his current position as
Programme Manager CNS/ATM he is
involved in the CLAIRE and ISATIS using
ACARS, a development study of VDL Mode
2 in France. He is evaluation manager of
EOLIA and ASD manager in ProATN.’ And
an advertisement tells me, ‘Group IV faxes
and PCMCIA cards are only supplied with an
ISDN S-Bus interface. The ISDN integration
provided by the LES means that a SODA is
only required at the mobile end.’ I think I need
a whisky with my SODA.
Preface to the Cambridge edition
This updated and enlarged new edition is the
first to be published by Cambridge University
Press. I would like to thank Phoenix Typesetting for doing a masterful job with
mathematics and Greek symbols, and everyone at Cambridge for their diligence and
infectious enthusiasm – all too rare these
days in book publishing. Bill Gunston, Haslemere, 2004 vii 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - Prelims - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:40 Page viii Foreword to the Second
I am grateful to the publisher’s excellent team
in New York and Cambridge, not least for
agreeing that a new edition is needed. The
avalanche of new aerospace terms, and
especially acronyms, shows no sign of abating.
There is little point in my reiterating the questionable value of inventing new meanings for
three-letter acronyms when the same three
letters already have more than 30 different
meanings relevant to aerospace. Of course,
common sense shows that these cannot be
presented in any particular order of importance.
One correspondent asked, ‘What’s the point
of having so many meanings for the same set
of letters? It just clutters up your book.’ In my
reply I asked him which ones he would delete.
I am still waiting for his reply.
Obviously, it is imposible to include everything. I have given GSP a single brief line,
though I have one definition of this seemingly
harmless letter-combination which extends
over 14 pages of text. My first explanation of
EPS is ‘Emergency or [confusing] electrical,
power system, or supply, or source’. It was
impossible to omit any of these, because all are
in current use. The reader can be assured that
I am not in the business of myself inventing
extra meanings; there are too many already.
As far as possible I have (obviously) tried to
avoid including an acronym within the
explanation of an acronym. I apologise for
the fifth translation of Dars. I have offered
‘Deployable ARS12 (NATO).’ The seeker
after enlightenment may, in an ill humour,
look up ARS12, where he will find it means
‘Air Control Center, recognised air picture
production center sensor-fusion post [ACCS]
(NATO).’ Quite a mouthful to be represented
by three letters.
I have tried to keep down the number of viii entries by combining two or more in one entry.
For example, under DSU 1 offer:
4 Data-storage unit; R adds receptacle.
5 Defensive system upgrade; P adds program. I hope that no reader seeking DSUR will
angrily say that it is not there. I have also
agonised over many names and functions,
especially in structural analysis where I have
often failed to concoct explanations which are
both brief and accurate. A dictionary ought
not to try to emulate a textbook.
Just as this edition was closing for press, I
received a letter from Dick Gunnell, an
Englishman living in the south of France. He
drew my attention to a passage on page 41 of
Annette Carson’s classic history of aerobatics
At the very same time, quietly and almost unnoticed, it
seems, the word “aerobatics” entered the English
language. A certain Mr E. L. Gunston wrote the following
amusing letter to The Aeroplane, which was published in
its edition of 1st January 1914:
“Since boucling and boucle is a feat which has come to
stay, and which apparently is as common as sane flying,
these feats performed by Pégoud, Chevillard and certain
other scientific gentlemen will have to be called by a distinguishing name. Why not ‘aerobatics’?”
Nice one, Mr Gunston! My correspondent asks whether Mr E.L.G.
was my father (‘there appears to be a similarity
in the genes’). Regretfully I must claim no
known close kinship. I wonder if he invented
any other terms now to be found between
Again, I would like to thank Phoenix
Typesetting, and everyone concerned at
Cambridge University Press, both in
Cambridge and New York, for unfailing
meticulous attention to detail.
Bill Gunston, Haslemere, 2009 978 0 52119 165 4 - 2009 - letter - A - Printer File.qxd 04/05/2009 09:42 Page 1 A
A 1 General symbol for area (see S).
2 Aspect ratio (see As).
4 Atomic weight.
5 Moment of inertia about longitudinal axis, rolling
8 Degrees absolute.
9 Amber airway, or light.
10 IFR flight plan suffix, fitted DME and 4096-code.
11 JETDS code: piloted aircraft, IR or UV radiation.
12 Airborne Forces category aircraft (UK, 1944–46).
13 Atomic (as in A-bomb).
14 Sonobuoy standard size class, c 1 m/3 ft.
15 Air Branch (UK Admiralty).
16 Calibration (USAF role prefix 1948–62).
17 US military aircraft basic mission or modified
mission: attack (USAS, USAAC, USAAF, 1924–48;
USN 1948–62; USAF/USN since 1962).
18 Aircraft category, ambulance (USAAS 1919–24,
19 Powered target (USAAC 1940–41).
20 Amphibian (USAF 1948–55).
22 Aeroplane (PPL).
23 Altitude, followed by digits indicating hundreds of
24 Arm, as distinct from safe.
25 Antarctic (but Tor Bergeron’s classification = Arctic).
26 Alternate [airport].
27 Weather: hail
28 Accepted (EFIS or nav. display).
29 Arrival chart.
30 Sport-parachuting certificate: 10 jumps, no accuracy
31 Autotuned (navaid).
32 Magnetic-vector potential.
33 Aircraft category: free balloon (FAI).
34 Cross-section area of wing torsion box.
35 Common but not universal usage for aft-acting aerodynamic force; not synonymous with drag but the x-axis
component of Fa.
36 Margin [e.g., 0.15 or 0.2] above stall speed.
¯ Structural resistance to buckling.
Ã Wing-section axial force parallel to chord, per unit
Å Angström (10 –10m), very small unit of length,
contrary to SI.
(A) Local time.
a 1 Velocity of sound in any medium.
2 Structural cross-section area.
4 (Prefix) atto, = × 10–18.
5 (Suffix) available (thus, LD a = landing distance
a- Average value of lift-curve slope due to angle of attack. ã Kussner factor.
A0, A0 Unmodulated (steady note) CW radio emission.
A0A1 Unmodulated (steady note) radio emission identified by Morse coding in a break period.
A0A2 Unmodulated emission identified by Morse
coding heard above unbroken carrier (eg an NDB).
A1, A 1 1 Unmodulated but keyed radio emission,
typically giving Morse dots and dashes.
2 Flying instructor category; two years and 400 h as
instructor (British Commonwealth air forces).
a1 Lift-curve slope for wing or other primary aerodynamic surface, numerically equal to dCL/dα.
A2 Military flying instructor category; 15 months and
a2 Lift-curve slope for hinged trailing-edge control
surface [arguably, also flap], numerically dCL/d⑀.
A2C 2 Army airborne [or airspace] command and
control [S adds system] (USA).
A2C2 Airborne airstrike command and control
(GTACS); S adds system.
A2IPB Automated assistance with intelligence preparation of the battlespace (USAF).
A3 AM radio transmission with double SB.
A3 Affordable acquisition approach (USAF).
A3H AM, SSB transmission with full carrier.
A3I Army/NASA aircrew/aircraft integration (USA/US).
A3J AM, SSB transmission with suppressed carrier.
A3M Advanced air-to-air missiles.
A3TC Advanced automated air traffic control.
A8-20 Airworthiness approval for classic (usually
ex-military) aircraft (CAA, UK).
A-25 Royal Navy form for reporting aircraft accidents.
A400 to A755 See Arinc, ARINC.
A-battery Electric cell to heat cathode filament in valve
A-bomb Atomic bomb, see nuclear weapon.
A-check S-check plus routine inspection of flightcontrol system. For a modern airline engine, typically
A-class 1 Airspace = 18,000+ ft [5486 m] AMSL and
2 Aircraft accident = involving loss of life or damage
exceeding US$1 million.
A-frame hook Aircraft arrest...
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