THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING
On Common Sense Stuff
(pronunciations in parenthesis)
AME—Aviation Medical Examiner. See Flight Surgeon. (Aey Em Ee, should be Amy)
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit. Little jet engine used to start the big jet engines and to provide electricity and air-conditioning to the aircraft on the ground. (Aee Pee You, should be Ah Pooh).
AROIGNO – Arrogant Ignoramus. Insufferable combination of personality traits causing the afflicted individual to be hated by his/her mother. (Air Oh Ig No).
Astrogator – One who chooses to cram his person into a large metal tube, with others of like mind, for the purpose of being flung through the upper reaches of the atmosphere at ridiculously high rates of speed. (Ae Strow Gate Or).
ATIS – Automatic Terminal Information Service. A sporty little game provided by the FAA wherein the salient information concerning a given airport (weather, altimeter setting, runways in use, etc.) is broadcasted by radio and digital uplink to interested airplanes/pilots. The useful information is followed by a long stream of totally useless data concerning things such as open ditches a quarter of a mile from the runway, men and equipment working in the next county over, the type and social disposition of the various feathered fauna lurking in the area, and various other meaningless gibberish. From time to time buried amongst the worthless drivel (herein lies the sport of it all) will be nuggets of information the missing of which could cost you your pilot’s license or, worse yet, your life: i.e. the last half of the already short runway you intend to land on is closed with said “men and equipment” covering every inch. (Aey Tehz)
ATC-Air Traffic Control. A system wherein folks on the ground, having no real control at all, try to talk a bunch of pilots into doing those things which in general will keep them from bumping into one another. (Aeh Tee See, should be At See).
ATNI – Air Traveling Neophyte Ignoramus. One who, through lack of experience or refusal to learn, knows nothing about the business of getting around by air. See nincompoop (in some other dictionary). (At Knee).
CePS – Cell Phone Shouter. One who finds it necessary, for whatever reason, to shout into small electronic devices while in public places, thereby inviting all within hearing distance (about a hundred yards or so) to become privy to the details of what should have been a private conversation. (Seeps).
COSS – Common Sense Stuff. That which is lacking in most of our day-to-day goings on. (Kahz).
FA - Flight Attendant. Used to be called stewardesses or stewards. If you want to immediately identify yourself as an ATNI, just sing out, “Oh, stewardess,” while making that little wavy signal with your hand. Onboard the aircraft by FAA mandate to show you when and how to dive off the airplane should it become a mangled mess of metal. Forced by the airline companies to act as waiters/waitresses while awaiting that opportunity. (Eff Aeh, should be Fah).
FAA - Federal Aviation Administration. That schizophrenic organization charged with the dual and contradictory tasks of both promoting and policing the aviation industry. The fuzz. In keeping with the split personality of their employer, most of the folks who work for the FAA are really great individuals; some are PUCCI’s. The line, “Hi, I’m from the FAA, and I’m here to help you,” always gets a chuckle from the professional pilot group. (Eff Aeh Aeh, should be Fah Ah).
FAR—Federal Aviation Regulation. Rules and regulations written by the FAA in convenient Part, Subpart, Subsubpart, section, amendment, and amended amendment format so that the fearless aviator can easily (with the help of a good sized law firm) determine, within mere weeks of his last flight just which rules were violated and file the appropriate paperwork. (Eff Aey Are, should be Fahr)
Fearless Aviator—One who, in spite of the terrifying price of avgas/jet fuel, is courageous enough to hurl him or herself into the atmosphere in a heavier than air machine, defying the laws of gravity while not understanding them to any large degree. (Wow)
Flight Surgeon—A term more often associated with the military but often used by all pilots. Board certified physician designated by the FAA as authorized to, on a periodic basis, inflict upon the fearless aviator an appropriate heaping of pain and discomfort for the purpose of issuing a tiny (but highly coveted) scrap of paper called a medical certificate. (pronunciation depends upon whether or not said scrap of paper was issued)
FO – First Officer. The second in command, behind the captain, aboard an airliner. Patiently (or not) waiting for the old man in the left seat to die or retire. (Eff Oh, should be Foh).
GPS – Global Positioning System. Really neat device using a system of orbiting transmitters to tell you where on the face of the earth you are at any given moment. Accurate to within half the width of a human hair. Can be purchased for personal use at the local discount store for under a hundred bucks, or for an airliner for a quarter of a million or so. (Gee Pea Ess, should be Jeeps).
ILS – Instrument Landing System. A system generating an electronic beam for leading aircraft to the runway in poor visibility. (Eye El Ess, should be Aisles).
IMC- Instrument Meteorological Conditions. Weather in which you can’t see where you’re going (due to clouds, fog, rain, etc.) while flying. An unnatural state for both man and bird. Made possible by advanced technology for man and some really cool stuff we don’t fully understand for the bird. (Eye Em See, should be Im See).
IP – Immune Professional. One of those fortunate few who are in no way affected by PLANDUM. (Eep).
Medical Certificate—Tiny scrap of paper with the miraculous power to transform a mere mortal, by his sitting upon it, into a certified fearless aviator. Issued by the FAA through a Flight Surgeon. (pronounced—Oh, sh##! or “I know it’s in here somewhere” when asked to produce it for an FAA examiner.)
NAT – Non Aviator Type. Mere mortals not blessed with the skill and daring necessary to slip the surly bonds of earth in full control of their very own sky steed. (Pronounced the same but not to be confused with those tiny, worrisome, little insects prevalent in the deep south in the summer time).
NILALSFAT – Now I Learned a Little Something From All That. An acknowledgement of brilliant revelation, usually occurring after some particularly nasty mishap that should never have happened. (Nih Lahls Fat).
Pilot Miles - The standard mile (whether statute, nautical, or otherwise) when subjected to that most powerful of all pilot attributes (cheapness). This influence causes utterances (usually from the captain) such as “We don’t need a taxi. The restaurant is only a couple of miles. We can walk.” The more experienced flight crew comes to understand that these are “pilot miles” and need to be increased by a factor of five or more. (Pilot Miles).
PLANDUM – Procedural Lobotomy and Neurological Damage Utilizing Magnetism. A phenomena affecting all who come into close proximity to large airports. (Plane Dumb).
PUCCI- Persons Under Compensated Craving Influence. Those persons who, having been given a smattering of authority of some kind, find it very difficult to deal with it in a reasonable, respectful manner because of their focus on their lack of adequate compensation for a dirty, difficult, thankless job. They include but are not limited to: airport security screeners, customs agents, immigrations officers, IRS agents, and occasionally (but not often) law enforcement officers. These individuals make us all the more thankful for the professional manner in which most of their brethren conduct themselves. (Pooh Chee, Italian pronunciation).
SIDSUAKYFOF – Sit Down, Shut Up, and Keep Your Feet Off the Furniture. A polite (?) way of telling someone to get out of the way so that we can do our job and get on with the business at hand. (Sid Soo Akie Fahf).
SAFCF – Standard Air Force Close Formation. Two or more airplanes flying in the same hemisphere whose direction of flight is within ninety degrees of each other. They are not necessarily within sight of each other, but if they are, it will be called a near miss. (Safe Siff).
SNCF – Standard Navy Close Formation. Two or more airplanes maneuvering as one unit, so skillfully controlled as to appear to be welded together, so closely spaced barely a sliver of daylight can be seen between them. (Sync Fah).
SYM – Snobby Young Man. Individuals charged with dealing with the public (desk clerks, waiters, ticket agents, etc.) who do so with an arrogant, condescending manner. There are also Snobby Young Women (SYW) but they don’t seem to be nearly so annoying, particularly if they are cute. (Sim).
TACAN – Tactical Air Navigation. Military version of VOR operating on UHF (Ultra High Frequency). (Tack An)
TRABU – Trailer Backer Upper. Truly fortunate individual (male, there are no female TRABU’s) blessed with incredible mental dexterity, physical strength, skill, and daring allowing them to be able to accurately control a large vehicle with another vehicle loosely attached behind while going backwards. (Tray Boo).
TIYCS – This is Your Captain Speaking. An alert to the fact that one should immediately put all distractions aside and pay close attention as extremely important information is about to be conveyed from the bottomless source of wisdom and information, ordinarily via a scratchy, too soft (or loud), aircraft public address system. (Tie Yikes).
UFO – Unidentified Flying Object. A very ordinary flying object (airplane, helicopter, balloon, etc.) as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary individual. (You Eff Oh, should be Ooh Foe).
USA – United States of America. The greatest nation on the face of the earth. (You Ess Aee, should be Ooh Sah).
VMC- Visual Meteorological Conditions. Weather in which you can see where you’re going while flying. (Vee Em See, should be Vehmk).
VOR – VHF (Very High Frequency) Omni-directional Range. Ancient navigational device still used by most of today’s airliners because the airlines are too cheap to buy the really neat stuff. (Vee Oh Are, should be Vohr)
Wimp wheels - Those little wheels on carry-on luggage (detachable or permanently fixed) allowing the piece to be towed rather than carried or dragged. So named because at their introduction many macho flight crewmen refused to use them as they significantly reduced the pain and discomfort of the proverbial “bag drag”, that all too common walk from one end of the terminal to the other to catch the next flight (see Rule 31 under Rules of Etiquette for Flyers). (Wimp Wheels).
YCS – Your Captain Speaking. The name of an incredibly erudite, well thought out website oozing with copious amounts of wisdom injected with barely survivable humor and wit. (Yikes)
Dedicated to preserving the fine art of spinning a good yarn.