• Aerofoil - A body so shaped as to produce aerodynamic reaction normal to the direction of its motion through the air without excessive drag.
  • Aft - To the rear, back or tail of the aircraft.
  • Air brake - Any device primarily used to increase drag of an aircraft at will.
  • Ambient - Surrounding or pertaining to the immediate environment.
  • Amplitude - Largeness; abundance; width; range; extent of repetitive movement (from extreme to extreme).
  • Attitude - The nose-up or nose-down orientation of an aircraft relative to the horizon.
  • Boundary Layer - The thin layer of air adjacent to a surface, in which the viscous forces are dominant.
  • Buffeting - An irregular oscillation of any part of an aircraft produced and maintained directly by an eddying flow.
  • Cantilever (wing) - A wing whose only attachment to the fuselage is by fittings at the wing root: it has no external struts or bracing. The attachments are faired-in to preserve the streamline shape.
  • Control Lock (Gust lock) - A mechanical device designed to safeguard, by positive lock, the control surfaces and flying control system against damage in high winds or gusts when the aircraft is parked.
  • Control Reversal - At high speed: the displacement of a control surface producing a moment on the aircraft in a reverse sense because of excessive structural distortion. At low speed: the displacement of an aileron increasing the angle of attack of one wing to or beyond the critical angle, causing a roll in the direction opposite to that required.
  • Convergent - Tend towards or meet in one point or value.
  • Critical Mach Number (MCRIT) - The free stream Mach number at which the peak velocity on the surface of a body first becomes equal to the local speed of sound.
  • Damping - To slow down the rate; to diminish the amplitude of vibrations or cycles.
  • Geometric Dihedral - The angle between the horizontal datum of an aeroplane and the plane of a wing or horizontal stabilizer semi-span.
  • Divergent - Inclined or turned apart. Divergence - A disturbance which increases continually with time.
  • Eddy - An element of air having intense vorticity.
  • Effective Angle of Attacke) - The angle between the chord line and the mean direction of a non-uniform disturbed airstream.
  • Equilibrium - A condition that exists when the sum of all moments acting on a body is zero AND the sum of all forces acting on a body is zero.
  • Fairing - A secondary structure added to any part to reduce its drag.
  • Feel - The sensations of force and displacement experienced by the pilot from the aerodynamic forces on the control surfaces.
  • Fence - A projection from the surface of the wing and extending chordwise to modify the wing surface pressure distribution.
  • Fillet - A fairing at the junction of two surfaces to improve the airflow.
  • Flight Path - The path of the Centre of Gravity (CG) of an aircraft.
  • Fluid - A substance, either gaseous or liquid, that will conform to the shape of the container that holds it.
  • Free Stream Velocity - The velocity of the undisturbed air relative to the aircraft.
  • Gradient (Pressure) - Rate of change in pressure with distance.
  • Gust - A rapid variation, with time or distance, in the speed or direction of air.
  • Instability - The quality whereby any disturbance from steady motion tends to increase.
  • Laminar Flow - Flow in which there is no mixing between adjacent layers.
  • Load Factor - The ratio of the weight of an aircraft to the load imposed by lift. The correct symbol for load factor is (n), but it is colloquially known as (g).
  • Load Factor = Lift / Weight

  • Mach Number (M) - The ratio of the True Airspeed to the speed of sound under prevailing atmospheric conditions.
  • M = TAS / Local Speed of Sound (a)

  • Magnitude - Largeness; size; importance.
  • Moment (N-m) - The moment of a force about a point is the product of the force and the distance through which it acts. The distance in the moment is merely a leverage and no movement is involved, so moments cannot be measured in joules.
  • Nacelle - A streamlined structure on a wing for housing engines (usually).
  • Normal - Perpendicular; at 90°.
  • Oscillation - Swinging to and fro like a pendulum; a vibration; variation between certain limits; fluctuation.
  • Parallel - Lines which run in the same direction and which will never meet or cross.
  • Pitot Tube - A tube, with an open end facing up-stream, wherein at speeds less than about four tenths the speed of sound the pressure is equal to the total pressure. For practical purposes, total pressure may be regarded as equal to pitot pressure at this stage.
  • Pod - A nacelle supported externally from a fuselage or wing.
  • Propagate - To pass on; to transmit; to spread from one to another.
  • Relative Airflow, (Relative Wind), (Free Stream Flow) - The direction of airflow produced by the aircraft moving through the air. The relative airflow flows in a direction parallel and opposite to the direction of flight. Therefore, the actual flight path of the aircraft determines the direction of the relative airflow. Also, air in a region where pressure, temperature and relative velocity are unaffected by the passage of the aircraft through it.
  • Scale - If a 1/10th scale model is considered, all the linear dimensions are 1/10th of the real aircraft, but the areas are 1/100th; and if the model is constructed of the same materials, the mass is 1/1000th of the real aircraft. So the model is to scale in some respects, but not others.
  • Schematic - A diagrammatic outline or synopsis; an image of the thing; representing something by a diagram.
  • Separation - Detachment of the airflow from a surface with which it has been in contact.
  • Shock Wave - A narrow region, crossing the streamlines, through which there occur abrupt increases in pressure, density, and temperature, and an abrupt decrease in velocity. The normal component of velocity relative to the shock wave is supersonic upstream and subsonic downstream.
  • Side-slip - Motion of an aircraft, relative to the relative airflow, which has a component of velocity along the lateral axis.
  • Slat - An auxiliary, cambered aerofoil positioned forward of the main aerofoil so as to form a slot.
  • Spar - A principal spanwise structural member of a wing, tailplane, fin or control surface.
  • Speed - Metres per second (m/s) is used in most formulae, but nautical miles per hour or knots (kt) are commonly used to measure the speed of an aircraft. There are 6080 ft in 1 nautical mile and 3.28 ft in 1 metre.
  • Speed of Sound (a) - Sound is pressure waves which propagate spherically through the atmosphere from their source. The speed of propagation varies ONLY with the temperature of the air. The lower the temperature, the lower the speed of propagation. On a ’standard’ day at sea level the speed of sound is approximately 340 m/s (660 kt TAS).
  • Stability - The quality whereby any disturbance of steady motion tends to decrease.
  • Stagnation Point - A point where streamlines are divided by a body and where the fluid speed is zero, relative to the surface.
  • Static Vent - A small aperture in a plate fixed to form part of the fuselage and located appropriately for measuring the ambient static pressure.
  • Throat - A section of minimum area in a duct.
  • True Airspeed (TAS) or (V) - The speed at which the aircraft is travelling through the air.
  • Turbulent Flow - Flow in which irregular fluctuations with time are superimposed on a mean flow.
  • Velocity - The same as speed, but with direction specified as well.
  • Viscosity - The resistance of fluid particles to flow over each other. All fluids have the property of viscosity. A fluid with high viscosity would not flow very easily. The viscosity of air is low in comparison to something like syrup, but the viscosity that air does have is a very important consideration when studying aerodynamics.
  • Vortex - A region of fluid in circulatory motion, having a core of intense vorticity, the strength of the vortex being given by its circulation.
  • Vortex Generator - A device, often a small vane attached to a surface, to produce one or more discrete vortices which trail downstream adjacent to the surface, promote mixing in the boundary layer and delay boundary layer separation. (Increases the kinetic energy of the boundary layer).
  • Vorticity - Generally, rotational motion in a fluid, defined, at any point in the fluid, as twice the mean angular velocity of a small element of fluid surrounding the point.
  • Wake - The region of air behind an aircraft in which the total pressure has been changed by the presence of the aircraft.
  • Wash-out - Decrease in angle of incidence towards the tip of a wing or other aerofoil.
  • Wing Loading - Ratio of aircraft weight to wing area.
  • Wing Loading = Aircraft Weight / Wing Area

  • Zoom - Using kinetic energy to gain height.
  • Principles of Flight

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