Aviation Glossary: Abbreviations, Acronyms, Directory & General Information

ACMI Agreement A lease contract between two parties, through which an entity with an air operating certificate (an air carrier) is the lessor. The lessor provides the aircraft, crews, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI). The second party, in most cases also with an air operating certificate, is the lessee. The lessee is responsible for the schedule, flight charges, cargo handling, crew support, flight operations, ramp handling, aircraft servicing, fuel, and so on. Charges are typically based on an hourly rate, with a minimum number of hours to be operated per specified period.
Aircraft ULD An assembly of components consisting of any of the following:
1. Aircraft container
2. Aircraft pallet and pallet net
3. Aircraft pallet and pallet net over a nonstructural container or igloo
The purpose of the unit load device (ULD) is to enable individual pieces of cargo to be assembled into a standard-size unit to facilitate efficient loading and unloading of aircraft having compatible handling and restraint systems.
Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) The AOC is the key link to safety oversight. It attests to an airline’s competence as to safe operation and it determines who is responsible for an airline’s safety oversight. In the US it is issued by the FAA. In the UK it is the Safety Regulation Group of the CAA. An AOC is one of the criteria required in order for the FAA or CAA to grant an operating license.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) A service operated by the appropriate authority to promote safe, orderly and expeditious flow in air traffic.
Cargo load factor The percentage of capacity available to carry cargo that is actually used to carry such cargo. Load factor may be calculated on the basis of volume, weight, or unit loading device capabilities. On passenger aircraft, cargo capacity excludes the space necessary to carry passenger baggage. The most common method of computing cargo load factor is the ratio of the actual cargo load by weight to the available cargo weight capacity based on a carrier’s cargo density assumptions.
Charter A non-scheduled flight operated according to the national laws and regulations of the country being served, as provided for in Article 5 of the Chicago Convention.
Direct operating cost All costs incurred in operating the aircraft including the cost of ownership.
Dry lease An aircraft leasing arrangement between two parties. The lessor provides the aircraft only to the lessee, who then provides the crew, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and so on required for operation. (See “ACMI” and “wet lease.”)
ETOPS Extended Operations Certification requirement that allows extended range operations for those flights conducted over a route that contain a point further than one hour flying time at the approved one-engine inoperative cruise speed (under standard conditions in still air) from an adequate airport.
Fuselage An aircraft’s main body structure housing the flight crew, passengers and/or cargo cabin to which the wings, tail section and engines are attached.
General Abbreviations
ACMI Aircraft, crews, maintenance, and insurance
AD Airworthiness directive
AFM Airplane Flight Manual
AGL Above ground level
AOC Air operator’s certificate
APU Auxiliary power unit
ATC Air Traffic Control
CAA Civil Aviation Authority
CAS Calibrated Airspeed
CAT Clear Air Turbulence
CAVU Ceiling and visibility unlimited, ideal flying weather
CTAF Common traffic advisory frequency
DOT Department of Transportation (United States)
EASA European Aviation Safety Agency
ELT Emergency locator transmitter
ETOPS Extended operations
ETA Estimated time of arrival
ETD Estimated time of departure
EU European Union
FAA Federal Aviation Administration (United States)
FAR Federal Aviation Regulations (United States)
FAR Part 91 General Aviation
FAR Part 103 Ultralight Vehicles
FAR Part 105 Parachute Jumping
FAR Part 108 Airplane Operator Security
FAR Part 119 Certification Air carriers and commercial operators
FAR Part 121 Domestic Flag and supplemental Air Carriers and commercial operators
FAR Part 125 US Civil Airplanes, seating 20 or more passengers
FAR Part 127 Air carriers using helicopters for scheduled interstate flights
FAR Part 129 Foreign Air Carrier and Foreign Operator
FAR Part 133 Rotorcraft External Load Operations
GCA Ground controlled approach, part of ILS
GMT Greenwich Mean Time, same as UTC
GPS Global positioning system, satellite based navigation
IATA International Air Transport Association
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
IFR Instrument flight rules
ILS Instrument landing system
LORAN Long range navigation system
MLW Maximum landing weight
MNPS Minimum Navigation Performance Specification
MTOW Maximum takeoff weight
MTW Maximum taxi weight
MZFW Maximum zero fuel weight
OEM Original equipment manufacturer
OEW Operating empty weight
PAR Precision approach radar
STOL Short takeoff and landing
TAS True air speed
TCAS Traffic collision avoidance system
TIACA The International Air Cargo Association
ULD Unit load device
UTC Universal tine coordinated
Z (Zulu) zero meridian (UTC or GMT)
VFR Visual flight rules
VOR VHF Omni Range, a ground based navigation aid
IATA International Air Transport Association Founded in 1919, which is open to schedule air carriers whose home countries are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). IATA is actively involved in virtually every aspect of airline operations and management. Primary functions include provision of a wide range of services to airlines, airports, governments, and consumers. Primary products and services include consulting, publications, and training for both passenger- and cargo-related issues.
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization A United Nations body formed in December 1944 under the auspices of the Chicago Convention with the objectives of developing the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fostering the planning and development of international air transport so as to: ensure safe and orderly growth of international aviation throughout the world; encourage the arts of aircraft design and operation for peaceful purposes; encourage the development of airways, airports and air navigation facilities for civil aviation; meet the needs of peoples of the world for safe, regular and efficient and economical air transport; prevent economic waste caused by unreasonable competition; ensure the rights of states are respected; avoid discrimination between states; and promote the safety of flight.
Line maintenance Routine servicing, troubleshooting, and maintenance corrective actions required for airplane dispatch. Line maintenance generally includes transit checks, daily checks, and service checks, all of which are traditionally called the A-check.
Load factor The percentage of capacity available to carry payload that is actually utilized. 1. Cargo load factor: The percentage of cargo load by weight based on a computed cargo weight capacity based on a density assumption. This is the most common method of computing cargo load factor.
2. Passenger load factor: The percentage of seats available that are actually purchased by passengers.
3. Position load factor: The percentage of loaded ULDs to cargo ULD positions available on an aircraft.
4. Volume load factor: The percentage of the volume actually used to carry cargo to the usable internal volume of ULDs and bulk compartments.
5. Weight load factor: The percentage of actual cargo weight to the maximum payload weight available on an aircraft when loaded for a specific range.
MLW Maximum landing weight The maximum certified total aircraft weight for landing, as limited by aircraft strength and airworthiness requirements.
MTOW Maximum takeoff weight The maximum certified total aircraft weight at takeoff brake release, as limited by aircraft strength and airworthiness requirements.
MZFW Maximum zero fuel weight The maximum certified total aircraft weight allowable before usable fuel must be loaded in the aircraft, as limited by aircraft strength and airworthiness requirements.
Structural-limit payload Maximum aircraft payload calculated as a structural limit: maximum zero fuel weight minus operating empty weight.
Unit load A number of individual pieces of freight or cargo in a single box or container, or on a pallet, and held in place with a net or similar device, to make them suitable for transporting, stacking, or storage as a single unit. It may also be a single large item packaged for transporting, stacking, or storage.
Wet lease A leasing arrangement between two parties. The lessor typically provides the aircraft and crew. Other operational requirements such as fuel, insurance, ground services, and maintenance are as negotiated. In the practical sense, wet leases function between the general provisions of an aircraft-only “dry lease” and an “ACMI agreement.” (See “ACMI” and “dry lease.”)
Phonetic Alphabet
A Alpha UTC + 1 hour, Western Europe, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola
B Bravo UTC + 2 hours, Eastern Europe, Balkans, Lybia, Egypt, South Africa
C Charlie UTC + 3 hours, Moscow, Eastern Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania
D Delta UTC + 4 hours, Samara
E Echo UTC + 5 hours, Yekaterinburg
F Foxtrot UTC + 6 hours, Omsk
G Golf UTC + 7 hours, Karsnoyarsk, Western Indonesia
H Hotel UTC + 8 hours, Irkutsk, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Western Australia
I India UTC + 9 hours, Korea, Japan, Eastern Indonesia
J Juliet
K Kilo UTC + 10 hours, Vladivostok, Papua New Guinea, Eastern Australia
L Lima UTC + 11 hours, Magadan
M Mike UTC + 12 hours, Kamchatka, Fiji, New Zealand
N November UTC - 1 hour, Atlantic Ocean
O Oscar UTC - 2 hours, Cape verde
P Papa UTC - 3 hours, Greenland
Q Quebec UTC - 4 hours, Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
R Romeo UTC - 5 hours, EST, Eastern USA
S Sierra UTC - 6 hours, CST, Central USA
T Tango UTC - 7 hours, Mountain USA
U Uniform UTC - 8 hours, Pacific USA
V Victor UTC - 9 hours, Alaska
W Whisky UTC - 10 hours, Hawaii
X Xray UTC - 11 hours, Pacific Ocean nations
Y Yankee UTC - 12 hours, Pacific Ocean nations
Z Zulu

Mr. Andreas Czapp

A.C.P. Logistics Europe AG
Kleckerwaldweg 16
21266 Jesteburg / Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 4183-7747.0
Fax: +49 (0) 4183-7747.77
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