Opodo travel news

Airline pilot explains cockpit jargon

Airline pilot explains cockpit jargon
7 Feb 2014

When you're flying, you'll regularly hear phrases and terminology that seems rather alien. 

Like any industry, aviation has a host of nicknames and codenames that seem unfathomable to the outsider but, in fact, often relate to fairly routine situations. 

To help put passengers a little more at ease, Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the book 'Cockpit Confidential', has explained a number of common pieces of pilot and crew jargon in a post for news.au.com. 

For example, he reveals that when the  instruction to 'disarm the doors and crosscheck' is given, it means that the emergency slides, which open automatically, need to be disengaged by one member of staff and then double-checked by another. For obvious reasons, failing to do this would be problematic once the plane has docked with the arrivals terminal. 

Confusingly, Smith reveals that the true meaning of a 'direct flight' is simply one where the flight number remains the same, regardless of how many stops the plane is making. Something to bear in mind if you are after a non-stop flight to your destination. 

Similarly, 'final approach' is used in more than one way by both pilots and crew members. To pilots, it is a very precise term describing the moment the plane is lined up exactly with the runway, but the crew may use the term simply to describe the final part of the plane's descent. 

However, if you hear that your plane has been placed in a 'holding pattern', it means that it is flying a racetrack-shape course depicted on aeronautical charts that enables a number of flights to safely orbit an airport in the event of bad weather or lack of space on the ground and won't be on its 'final approach' for a while. 

Other phrases you don't want to hear are 'this is a final and immediate boarding call' followed by your name, as this means you really need to get to your gate ASAP. ADNFCR-408-ID-801691441-ADNFCR

Rate this article (5 great; 1 terrible):