Glossary - Letter P

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P |abbreviation| in excess of , greater than the highest reportable sensor in a TAF / FM191600 24012KT P6SM SKC, i.e. in excess of 6 statute miles /

PA |abbreviation| public address


Pacific Standard Time |noun| the time zone of the west coast area of the USA and Canada, 8 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time


pack |noun|  1. a detachable system / Circuit packs consist of basic decision-making elements, referred to as logic gates, each performing combo operations. A power pack system is one in which most of the major components, with the exception of the actuators and, in some systems, the pumps, are included in a self-contained unit.2. a small package containing a set number of items / The survival pack includes heliographs, sea marker dyes, day/night distress flares and parachute flares. /

pack controller |noun| an electronic device which regulates airflow and temperature within the air conditioning pack / air cycle machine, which adjusts the temperature of hot engine compressor bleed air for use in the aircraft

pad |noun| same as helipad


pair |noun| two matched items, similar in appearance and function / A brake control valve usually contains four elements, one pair for the brakes on each side of the aircraft, to provide duplicated control. /

pallet |noun| a portable platform used for storing or moving cargo / freight

Pan-pan |noun| a ‘pan’ call indicates an urgency call which concerns the safety of the aircraft, but does not require immediate assistance. It is a lesser degree of urgency than the distress call ‘Mayday’.

pancake (informal) |noun| same as pancake landing - |verb| to make a pancake landing, or cause an aircraft to make a pancake landing


pancake landing |noun| a landing in which an aircraft drops suddenly straight to the ground from a low altitude, usually because of engine failure


panel |noun|  1. a flat, often rectangular piece of the skin of the aircraft / Access to the engine compartment is normally via hinged cowling panels. /  2. a board with switches, dials, control knobs, etc. / The pilot is trained to scan an instrument panel. /


panic |noun| a sudden overpowering fear or terror / In order to prevent mass panic amongst passengers in an emergency situation, crew may have to use force. /

paperwork |noun| filling in forms, records, documents, reports etc.

PAPI |abbreviation| precision approach path indicator


PAR |abbreviation| precision approach radar


parachute |noun| a device used to slow down free fall from an aircraft, consisting of a light piece of fabric attached by cords to a harness and worn or stored folded until used in descent


parachute flare |noun| a distress signal, suspended from a parachute to allow more time for the flare to be seen, which is fired to a height of 1200 ft


parachutist |noun| a person who returns to the ground from an aircraft using a parachute


parallel |adjective|  1. side by side and having the same distance between them at every point / As one aircraft flew round to attempt another landing, a Boeing 757 was taking off on the parallel runway. The runway is parallel to the main road. /  2. - in parallel > arranged so as to join at common points at each end / When batteries are connected in parallel, voltage remains constant but capacity increase. / - |noun| a line which is parallel to another - parallels of latitude > imaginary lines of constant latitude around the Earth’s surface


parameter |noun| a set of measurable values such as temperature which define a system and determine its behavior / Parameters required by the crew to set and monitor engine thrust are permanently displayed on the screen. /


parasite drag |noun| a component of total lift, caused by friction between the airflow and the structure of the aircraft / Parasite drag increases as speed increases. /


parcel |noun| a small package - parcel of air > small body of air / When a parcel of air is heated, its volume increases and its density decreases thus there is a fall in pressure. /


park |verb| to leave a vehicle such as a car or an aircraft in a particular place when no one is using it / Park beside the Cessna 150. /


parking brake |noun| a wheel brake applied from the flight deck by means of a handle and used on the ground at the stand until the chocks are in place or for emergency braking as a last resort / Make certain that the parking brake is on before doing engine run-up checks. Light aircraft should be left with parking brakes off so that they can be moved quickly in the event of a fire in the hangar. /


partial |adjective| in part, not fully - partial closing of an undercarriage door > not full closing of the doors - partial filter blockage > incomplete blockage of a filter


particle |noun| a very small piece or part / Solid particles in the atmosphere include sand, dust, volcanic ash and atmospheric pollution. Hailstones start as ice particles in the upper part of a cumulonimbus cloud. /


particular |adjective| special, given, distinct, not general / The size and number of valves required for a particular type of aircraft is governed by the amount of air necessary for pressurization and air conditioning. /


pass |noun|  1. a badge or document which allows one to enter a restricted or prohibited area / a security pass /  2. a successful result in an exam - |verb|  1. to move / Tropical storms dissipate as they pass from sea to land. The air leaves the compressor outlet and passes through a matrix assembly. /  2. - to pass information > to give information - pass your message > an instruction to a pilot to give information via radio to an air traffic control facility  3. - to pass an exam > to be successful in an exam  4. - to pass a book to someone > to pick up and give a book to somebody nearby  5. - to pass another aircraft > to move past another aircraft


passage |noun|  1. movement over, along, or through something / The passage of air over a turbine is used to power a small emergency generator. The passage of a trough is marked by a sharp veer in the wind. /  2. a channel through which something can pass / Liquid cooling is achieved by circulating a liquid around the cylinder barrels, through a passage formed by a jacket on the outside. /  3. part of a book or speech, etc. / a passage from a training manual /


passenger |noun| a person who travels in an aircraft, car, train, etc., and has no part in the operation of it / The Piper Archer has seating for a pilot and three passengers. /

passenger address |noun| a communication system for the flight and cabin crew to talk to all the passengers or the communication itself. Abbreviation: PA

passenger aircraft |noun| an aircraft specially designed for carrying people

passenger coach |noun| a bus for transporting passengers to and from aircraft

Passenger Service Unit |noun| a component located on the lower side of the overhead baggage racks above the passengers’ heads and containing oxygen masks, air gasper outlets, ‘no smoking’ and ‘fasten seat belt’ signs. Abbreviation: PSU

passenger steps |noun| mobile stairs used for embarkation and disembarkation of passengers usually used at outlying stands

passenger terminal |noun| a building for passenger check-in, security, immigration, etc.

passive |adjective| receiving an action but taking no action / In primary radar systems, the target is passive. / - passive state > referring to a system or device which may be switched on or ‘live’ but not reacting to any input. Opposite: active


pass-mark |noun| the mark which separates those who fail and those who pass an examination


passport control |noun|  1. the action of checking passports of people arriving in or leaving a country / We now have to go through passport control. /  2. the place where passports are checked when people arrive in or leave a country / At passport control, a customs official checks passports. /


patch |noun| a small area / Patches of early morning fog made identification of ground features difficult. /


path |noun| a route or course along which something moves / Projection of the path of the aircraft over the ground is called its track. /


pattern |noun| a form or method which shows particular, consistent characteristics - pressure pattern > changes in pressure areas which take place regularly, e.g. every year


pavement |noun| a prepared concrete or tarmac surface for ground maneuvering of aircraft, including taxiways and runways (NOTE: The bearing strengths of pavements intended for aircraft of 5,700 kg MTWA (maximum total weight authorized) or less are reported as the maximum allowable weight and maximum allowable tire pressure.)


pavement classification number |noun| a number expressing the bearing strength of a pavement for unrestricted operations. Abbreviation: PCN


PAX |abbreviation| passengers


payload |noun| the money-earning load carried by the aircraft including the passengers, baggage and freight / The shape of an aircraft is determined by the requirement to provide an aerodynamic lift force great enough to support the weight of the aircraft and payload whilst in flight. /


PCN |abbreviation| pavement classification number


PDC |abbreviation| pre-departure clearance


peak |noun| the highest point / The intensity of solar radiation reaches a peak around noon. / - peak value > maximum value


PED |abbreviation| portable electronic device


pedal |noun| a foot-operated lever


penalty |noun|  1. an unwanted result of an action / The penalty of using a circular polarization transmission may be some loss of definition. /  2. a punishment or fine / Fuel penalties can be incurred if fuel surplus to requirements is carried. /


penetrant |noun| something which forces or gets entry into an area or substance / Penetrant dye inspection is a non-destructive test used mainly for the detection of defects open to the surface. Penetrant oil can be used to loosen rusty bolts, etc. /


penetrate |verb| to force a way into / Cool air from the Atlantic can sometimes penetrate far into Europe. Occasionally, thunder cloud will penetrate through the tropopause. /


penetration |noun| the act of forcing a way into or through / Long-range radars are little affected by weather interference and have good cloud penetration characteristics. /


per |preposition| for each, for every / feet per minute (fpm), gallons per hour (gph) /


per cent |noun| the number out of each hundred - fifty per cent (50%) > half or ½ or 50 out of 100 - twenty-five per cent (25%) > one quarter or ¼ or 25 out of 100


percentage |noun|  1. a fraction with 100 as the understood denominator / Volumetric efficiency is usually expressed as a percentage. /  2. part of the total / Only a small percentage of passengers take in the pre-departure safety briefing. /


perform |verb| to do / Circuit breakers perform the same function as a fuse. The pilot performed a loop to conclude his flying display. /


performance |noun| the ability of a system such as an aircraft or an engine to function as required / The performance of the turbojet engine is measured in thrust produced at the propelling nozzle or nozzles. /

perimeter fencing |noun| security barrier around the outer limit of airport

period |noun| a length of time /a 24 hour period, a period of 3 minutes/


periodic |adjective| happening from time to time or at regular intervals, occasional - periodic maintenance > maintenance made at a particular time interval / Periodic calibration of ILS (instrument landing system) installations is recommended. /

perishable goods |noun| items such as fresh food which must be kept under specific conditions to protect them from spoiling too soon

peritrack |noun| same as taxiway


permanent |adjective| lasting or remaining without change - permanent deformation > damage to a structure which must be repaired by replacing the damaged part - permanent magnet > a metal component which always has a magnetic influence. Opposite: temporary


permissible |adjective| allowable, not prohibited / Great care must be taken to ensure that the aircraft operates within regulated or permissible weight limits. /


permission |noun| consent or authorization / A passenger who is drunk can be refused permission to board the aircraft. /


permit |noun| a document or pass that is proof of official permission to do or have something / You need a permit to enter the restricted area. / - |verb| to allow / When oxygen mask are pulled down to the usable position, valves are opened which permit oxygen to flow. Information passed to the operations department will be sufficient to permit the flight to be planned. /


Permit to Fly |noun| a certificate issued by the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK for aircraft which do not qualify for a Certificate of Airworthiness


perpendicular |adjective| at right angles or 90° to a base or a line / The vertical grid lines are perpendicular to the horizontal ones. The air is acted upon by a force perpendicular to the isobars in the direction of low pressure. /


persist |verb|  1. to continue to exist / Snow cover tends to persist on north-facing slopes of mountains. /  2. to continue without giving up / She persisted with her request until it was granted. /


persistence |noun|  1. the fact of continuing to exist and not disappearing / The persistence and movement of cols is governed by the movement of the adjacent pressure systems. /  2. the act of continuing to do something and not giving up / He managed to overcome his difficulties through persistence and hard work. /


personnel |noun| a body of people involved in a common purpose such as work / Smoke masks are available for use by personnel within the aircraft. /

PF |abbreviation| pilot flying

PFCU |abbreviation| power flying control unit


PFD |abbreviation| primary flight display


phase |noun|  1. a stage or part / An emergency situation may occur during any phase of the flight. /  2. the relationship between voltage and current / The CSDU (constant speed drive unit) drive shaft turns the permanent magnet generator and single phase AC (alternating current) is induced in the winding on the stator. /


phase angle |noun| the difference between two periodic phenomena expressed as an angle


phase difference |noun| a measure of phase angle from any VOR radial related to that on bearing 360°


phenomenon |noun| an occurrence or circumstance which can be perceived by the senses / Metal fatigue is not a modern phenomenon. Of all meteorological phenomena, thunderstorms present the greatest hazard to aviation. / (NOTE: The plural form is phenomena.)


photographic film |noun| a celluloid material usually contained in a small metal cylindrical casing for use in cameras


physical |adjective|  1. referring to matter and energy or the sciences dealing with them, especially physics / Oxygen and nitrogen together constitute 99% of the atmosphere and obey the physical laws as any other gas. /  2. referring to the human body / In some aircraft operating for long periods at high altitudes, physical discomfort may arise from low relative humidity. / - physical fitness > the state of health of the body


PIC |abbreviation| pilot in command

pick up |verb|  1. to detect something heard on the frequency / The Lan Chile crew picked up the pan call from the TAROM flight and relayed it to ATC. /  2. in a more technical sense, it refers to sensors, detectors etc. detecting a signal, movement, vibration, temperature etc.

piece |noun| a bit, portion or part / The upper and lower skin panel of each wing can be made in one piece. / (NOTE: Piece is often used to show one item of something which has no plural: a piece of equipment ; a piece of information.) - piece of equipment > an item of equipment / Early rescue depends on rapid location of survivors and the survival beacon is the most important piece of equipment in this regard. /

pier |noun| a long corridor connecting airport terminal with gates

pilot |noun|  1. a person who operates an aircraft in flight  2. the part of a system or device that leads the whole - |verb| to operate or guide / to pilot an aircraft / (NOTE: A pilot holding a private or commercial pilot’s license may log as pilot-in-command time only the flight time during which he or she is the only operator of the aircraft’s flying controls.)

pilot flying |noun| the pilot who is actually doing the hands-on flying of the aircraft at a given moment. Captain and First Officer take these roles in turn. Abbreviation: PF

pilot in command |noun| the pilot who has responsibility for the operation and safety of the aircraft during flight time. Abbreviation: PIC

Pilot Not Flying or Pilot Non-Flying |noun| the pilot who is monitoring the PF, entering data, communicating with ATC etc. Captain and First Officer take these roles in turn. Abbreviation: PNF

Pilot’s Operating Handbook |noun| a book giving details of an aircraft with recommendations and instructions regarding its use. Abbreviation: POH


pin |noun| a short, usually cylindrical metal rod


pinpoint |noun| a visual observation of the precise position of an aircraft / The pinpoint is a very positive mean of establishing position, as long as the feature is properly identified. / - |verb| to draw attention to / to pinpoint a problem /


pipe |noun| a hollow cylinder or tube to convey a fluid / a delivery pipe, an exhaust pipe /


pipeline |noun| a long hollow cylinder or tube to convey a fluid such as oil or natural gas / The incompressibility of liquids enables force to be transmitted long distances through pipelines. /

PIREP |abbreviation| pilot reports: Weather information from official sources is complemented by live updates from pilots about weather conditions they encounter en route or during approach and landing.

piston |noun| a solid cylinder that fits into a larger cylinder and moves under fluid pressure, as in petrol and diesel engines or compresses fluids, as in pumps and compressors


piston engine |noun| a petrol or diesel engine in which pistons are moved by combustion of fuel, this reciprocating movement producing rotating movement


piston ring |noun| one of the metal rings which seals the space between the piston and the cylinder wall / There should be a loose fit between the cylinder and the piston, the difference being taken up by the piston rings. /


pitch |noun|  1. a nose up/down movement of the aircraft about its lateral axis / If the control column is moved forward or aft, the pitch attitude of the aircraft changes. /  2. the distance a propeller would advance in one rotation if there was no slip - fine pitch setting and coarse pitch setting > angular propeller-blade settings / Variable pitch propellers were originally produced with two blade-angle settings – fine pitch to enable full engine speed to be used on take off and coarse pitch to allow an economical engine speed to be used for cruising. / - |verb| to move about the lateral axis / Move the yoke fore and aft to pitch down and up. /


pitch angle |noun| the angle between the blade element chord line and the plane of rotation of the propeller

pitch attitude |noun| the angle between the aircraft’s longitudinal axis and the horizontal plane

pitch-down input |noun| the action of the pilot pushing on the control column or stick

pitch-down movement |noun| a nose-down movement of the aircraft attitude

pitch lock |noun| a means of holding the fine pitch stop in a prescribed position (NOTE: Some manufacturers use the term to describe a device which locks the blades at whatever angle they are at if there is a failure of the pitch change mechanism.)


pitch trim |noun| the trim of the aircraft in the lateral axis so that there are no forward/aft forces on the control stick or yoke


pitot head |noun| an externally mounted device which senses and sends airspeed information to the airspeed indicator in the cockpit

pitot heat |noun| refers to the electrical heating of the various air data probes: pitot probe, angle of attack sensor, static port etc.

pitot-static system |noun| a pressure system for the airspeed indicator, altimeter and vertical speed indicator


pitot tube, Pitot tube |noun| an open-ended tube used to measure the speed of flow of a fluid / device to sense pitot pressure created by the movement of air over the aircraft /


pivot |noun| a short rod on which another part rotates - |verb| to turn on a point / The rocker arm pivots on a bearing and opens the valve. /


place |noun|  1. a space or area / Greenwich is a place on the 0° meridian. /  2. a position  3. - in place of > instead of - to take place > to happen / The explosion took place just before the aircraft landed. / - |verb| to put / Place the chart on the seat next to you. Rotate the grid to place the wind direction under true. /


plain |adjective| without pattern or marking or writing - a plain sheet of paper > a sheet of paper with nothing on it


plan |noun|  1. a drawing or diagram of a place viewed from above / The horizontal situation indicator presents a selectable dynamic color display of flight progress and plan view orientation. /  2. a scheme or program worked out in advance of putting something into operation - |verb| to organize a scheme or program / Jeppesen charts are used to plan and fly a safe route to a destination. /


plane |noun|  1. an imaginary surface containing all the straight lines that connect any two points on it / The planes of parallels of latitude are parallel to the plane of the equator. The pitch angle is the angle between the blade element chord line and the plane of rotation of the propeller. /  2. an airplane (NOTE: Because of possible confusion with meaning 1, plane as in meaning 2 is considered bad usage by some. The word aircraft is preferred in that case.)


planning |noun| making plans / The instructor gave a talk on flight planning. /


plan position indicator |noun| the normal type of display for a radar signal, which resembles a map with the radar site at the center


plant |noun| large and usually heavy equipment or tools used for doing something


plate |noun| a smooth, flat rigid object with the same thickness all over / The basic construction of a lead-acid cell consists of a positive electrode and negative electrode, each of which is made up of lead-antimony alloy grid plates. /


play |noun| a slightly loose fitting of engineering parts which allows them to move freely / Some play should be felt in the aileron actuator rod linkage. / - |verb| - to play a part > to be part of a whole which has an effect on something / Contrast and color play a part in identifying coastlines. /


plot |noun| a graph or diagram that shows a relationship between two sets of numbers as a series of points joined by a line / a plot of applied stress and resulting strain / - |verb| to calculate and mark a line on a graph or chart, etc. - to plot a course > to calculate and draw the desired route of an aircraft on a chart


plug |noun|  1. a device for making an electrical connection / Alternating current ground power can be fitted to an aircraft via a six-pin ground power plug. / - a 3-pin plug > an electrical supply plug with three electrodes: live, neutral and earth  2. a device for igniting fuel in an engine / An electric spark from an igniter plug starts combustion. The fuel/air mixture is ignited by a spark plug. /  3. a device to prevent liquid flowing out of a container / oil drain plug, spark plug / - |verb|  1. - to plug a hole > to fill a hole so that fluid cannot escape  2. - to plug something in > to make an electrical connection, often by inserting the plug on an electrical device such as a computer into an electrical supply socket


plunger |noun| a machine part that operates with a thrusting or plunging movement, e.g. a piston / A flow indicator valve comprises a body, a spring-loaded plunger connected to an actuator arm, and a micro-switch. /


plus |preposition| increased, added to / At the selected decision height plus 50 feet, an aural alert chime sounds. Four plus four equals eight (4 + 4 = 8). /


PMS |abbreviation| performance management system


pneumatic |adjective| operating by means of air under pressure or compressed air / High-pressure pneumatic systems are generally fitted on the older types of piston-engine aircraft to operate the landing gear, wing flaps, wheel brakes. /


pneumatically |adverb| by using air under pressure or compressed air / Clamshell doors are hydraulically or pneumatically opened. /

PNF |abbreviation| Pilot Not Flying or Pilot Non-Flying

PNR |abbreviation| point of no return


POB |abbreviation| persons on board


pocket |noun| same as air pocket


pod |noun| a streamlined casing or housing / The engine bay or pod is usually cooled by atmospheric air. /


POH |abbreviation| Pilot’s Operating Handbook


point |noun|  1. a particular figure on a scale / The melting point of ice is 0°C (Celsius). /  2. a particular place - a point on a map > a particular place on a map  3. the sharp end of something - |verb|  1. to direct towards / Point the aircraft towards the airfield. /  2. to indicate direction, often with a finger  3. - to point out > to draw attention to / The instructor pointed out the dangers of not keeping a good lookout. /


pointer |noun| an indicating device on an instrument, e.g. a needle / The pointer centralizes to indicate that the aircraft is aligned with the runway center line. /


point of no return |noun| a place on the route where the aircraft does not have enough fuel to return to the starting place / The point of no return is calculated before departure to cover the chance that both the terminal airfield and its alternate become unavailable during flight. / Abbreviation: PNR


polar |adjective|  1. located in or coming from the region around the north or south pole / The greatest horizontal gradients of mean temperatures of a layer are found at the boundaries between cold polar and warm tropical air masses. /  2. referring to the pole or poles of an electrical device or of a magnet / Bar magnets attract each other because of polar differences. /


polar diameter |noun| the distance from one pole, passing through the center of the Earth, to the other pole / The Earth’s polar diameter is shorter than its average equatorial diameter. /


polar ice cap |noun| the permanent area of ice at north or south pole


polarization |noun|  1. a characteristic of light or radio or other electromagnetic waves in which the waves are aligned in one direction and show different properties in different directions / The antenna must have the same effective length and the same polarization as the transmitter. /  2. partial or complete polar separation of positive and negative electric charge


polarize |verb| 1. to align in one plane / The frequency allocation for VOR (very high frequency omni-directional radio range) is 108–117.975 MHz (megahertz) and transmissions are horizontally polarized. /  2. to separate positive and negative electric charges


polarity |noun| the direction of flow of flux or current in an object / During discharge, when the polarity of the supply changes, the stored energy is returned to the supply. / - polarity test > a test to see which terminal is positive and which is negative


pole |noun|  1. the north or south point of the Earth’s axis / A meridian is a line joining pole to pole. /  2. a terminal, e.g. of a battery / negative pole, positive pole /  3. a long, rounded piece of wood or metal


pollution |noun| the presence of unusually high concentrations of harmful substances in the environment


pontoon |noun| same as float


poor |adjective| bad / poor weather conditions, poor visibility /  


poppet valve |noun| an intake or exhaust valve of a piston engine, operated by springs and cams


porous |adjective| referring to substances which allow fluid to pass through them /The deicing fluid passes through a porous plastic sheet./


port |noun|  1. an entrance which is opened periodically / As a piston in the pump moves outwards into its cylinder, it covers the inlet port and forces fluid out of the top of the cylinder. /  2. the left-hand side of an aircraft when facing forwards when inside the aircraft / Unless an aircraft is flying in the same or exactly opposite direction to the wind, it will experience either port or starboard drift. / Opposite: starboard


portable |adjective| capable of being carried in the hands / The aneroid barometer is a more portable device than a mercury barometer. /


portable electronic device |noun| a piece of electronic equipment such as a mobile phone or laptop which is small enough to be carried on-board an aircraft, and which may cause problems with the aircraft’s systems during flight. Abbreviation: PED


portion |noun| a part or section /A hailstone starts as a small ice particle in the upper portion of a cumulus cloud./


position |noun|  1. a place or location where something is / The Greenwich or prime meridian and the equator are the axes of the system called latitude and longitude which is used for expressing position on the Earth. /  2. the setting of a control, etc. / the neutral position /  3. - in a sitting position > seated - |verb| to place something in a special location / The magnetic compass is positioned away from magnetic sources. /


position line |noun| a line along which an aircraft is known to be at a particular time, usually by taking a VOR bearing. Also called: line of position, navigational line


position report |noun| a report over a known location as transmitted by an aircraft to an air traffic control station


positive |adjective|  1. definite, without doubt / The pinpoint is a very positive means of establishing aircraft position. /  2. referring to a number greater than zero / Oil is ducted to the front of the pitch change piston and the blades move to a positive angle. /  3. referring to the + symbol - positive terminal > the terminal of a battery marked +


positive idling speed |noun| idling speed selected with the throttle to ensure that the engine runs correctly without spark plug fouling / An adjustable stop on the throttle control ensures a positive idling speed. /


possibility |noun| a chance occurrence / Anti-braking systems are designed to prevent the wheels from locking during landing thus reducing the possibility of wheel skid. /


possible |adjective| capable of happening / If possible, control surfaces should be moved by hand. There will be a possible delay. Fire in a toilet could present difficulties due to the confined space and possible smoke accumulation. /

post-incident analysis |noun| a study conducted after an event / A post-incident analysis revealed that the crew had not performed a full approach briefing. /

potential |adjective| capable of being, but not yet in existence / A designated fire zone is a region where a potential fire risk may exist. / - potential danger > possible future danger - |noun| voltage / Precipitation static develops due to friction between the aircraft surface and precipitation causing the aircraft to become charged to a high potential. /


pound |noun| a unit of weight equal to 16 ounces or 453.592 grams. Abbreviation: lb


powder |noun| a substance made of ground or otherwise finely dispersed solid particles / Dry chemical fire-extinguishers contain a non-toxic powder. /


power |noun| energy or force


power-assisted |adjective| - power-assisted controls > controls which require less human effort to move

power cut |noun| a loss of electrical power supply / A series of power cuts has affected the continuity of the radar. /

power dive |noun| a steep dive made by an aircraft with its engines at high power to increase the speed


powered |adjective| driven by something such as a type of energy or motor / system powered by electricity /


power line |noun| a thick cable, supported by pylons, which carries electricity for long distances


power-plant |noun| an engine used to move a vehicle or aircraft / Additional strength is required for the power-plant attachment point. /

power setting |noun| the position of the engine thrust / throttle levers / The PF selected a Maximum Continuous Thrust power setting. /

power supply |noun| an electrical circuit that provides particular direct current voltage and current levels from an alternating current source for use in other electrical circuits / If the power supply from the amplifier to the gauge fails, the needle slowly falls to zero. /

power transient |noun| a temporary electrical surge or impulse, causing a sudden peak of variables and very short power cuts, especially at power up

PPI |abbreviation| plan position indicator


PPL |abbreviation| Private Pilot’s License


PPR |abbreviation| prior permission required


PR |abbreviation| public relations


practicable |adjective| capable of being put into practice or effect / Some military aircraft use braking parachutes but this is not practicable on civil aircraft. /


practical |adjective| referring to practice or action rather than theory / For practical purposes, any straight line drawn on a Lambert’s conformal projection represents a great circle. /


practice |noun|  1. habitual or customary behavior / It is common practice for pilots to take turns to sleep on long-haul flights. /  2. a performance or operation - in practice > when actually done, in reality / Frequency modulation (FM) in theory has a limitless number of sidebands, but in practice only the first eight pairs are significant. / - |verb| US same as practise ‘…if the aircraft has been standing overnight or longer, check the drains for water. This should, of course, be normal practice’ [Civil Aviation Authority, General Aviation Safety Sense Leaflet]


practise |verb| to do something repeatedly in order to improve / In order to improve flying skills, a trainee pilot must practise regularly. / (NOTE: This word is also written practice in US English.)


pre- |prefix| before


prearrange |verb| to decide or to plan in advance, to predetermine / Selective calling uses the four-letter code prearranged with the controlling authorities. /


precaution |noun| an action taken to prevent or avoid a dangerous situation or failure / Personnel concerned with fueling should take every precaution to prevent outbreaks of fire. /

precautionary landing |noun| an anticipated landing decided on by the crew in order to manage an abnormal situation (technical failure, illness etc.) but which is not an emergency / Due to the failure of engine 1, we have decided to return to Bogota and make a precautionary landing. /

precede |verb| to take place or to come before something else / A period of calm often precedes a storm. When the RVR (runway visual range) is greater than the maximum value which can be assessed, the group will be preceded by the letter indicator P followed by the highest value which can be assessed. /


precedence |noun| the quality of being more important or urgent than something else - to take precedence over > to have priority over, to be more important than / Emergency landings take precedence over all others. /


preceding |adjective| taking place or coming before something else - as mentioned in the preceding paragraph > as written in the paragraph before the one being read


precipitation |noun| water falling as rain, drizzle, hail, sleet and snow from the atmosphere onto the surface of the Earth / Cloud droplets are small and light at first, but when the droplets grow and become heavier, they fall as precipitation. Precipitation is classified as light, moderate or heavy according to its rate of fall. /


precise |adjective| exact or accurate / A pinpoint is an indication of the precise position of the aircraft. A precise interval is essential to obtain correct ignition timing on all cylinders during engine running. /


precision |noun| exactness or accuracy / Precision flying is only achieved by constant practice. / - with precision > with exactness


precision approach path indicator |noun| a series of lights leading to the runway threshold which enable pilots to control their rate of descent visually. Abbreviation: PAPI


precision approach radar |noun| a ground-based primary radar system to give vertical and lateral information about an aircraft’s final approach path. Abbreviation: PAR


precision area navigation |noun| a standard of performance for navigation that requires an aircraft to remain within 1 nautical mile of the center-line of its course for 95% of the time. Abbreviation: PRNAV


pre-departure |adjective| taking place before a departure / Only a few passengers absorb the pre-departure safety information. /


pre-departure clearance |noun| a message that the pilot must receive from air traffic control before the plane is allowed to take off


predetermine |verb| to decide and set or fix beforehand


predetermined |adjective| decided and set beforehand / When the roll control knob is returned to the central position, the aircraft rolls out on to a predetermined heading. /


predict |verb| to foretell or to say beforehand / Rain is predicted within the next hour. Dead reckoning position is the position of the aircraft as predicted by calculation. /


predictable |adjective|  1. reliably regular and therefore foreseeable / Only the high frequency band has predictable, reliable sky wave propagation by day and by night. /  2. capable of being foreseen, expected or anticipated - the accident was predictable > it was possible to know that the accident would happen before it happened


prediction |noun| the act of saying what will happen in the future / The map display combines current ground speed and lateral acceleration into a prediction of the path over the ground to be followed over the next 30, 60 and 90 seconds. /


predominance |noun| greatest importance or influence / The predominance of a cold northerly airstream during the winter months. /


predominant |adjective| most important or influential, more powerful than others / The ocean surface usually consists of a predominant swell three or four feet high and 500 to 1,000 feet between crests. /


predominate |verb| to have greater number or importance, or to be more powerful than others / A cold northerly airstream predominates during the winter months. /


prefer |verb| to like more, to favor / Of the two basic types of fuel pump, where lower pressures are required at the burners, the gear-type pump is preferred because of its lightness. / (NOTE: preferring – preferred)


preferable |adjective| better than, more desirable / Three position lines are preferable to two. If there is a choice between two courses of action, the safest is the most preferable. /


preference |noun| - in preference to > by choice, rather than / For some applications, e.g. landing gear and flaps, hydraulic systems are used in preference to mechanical or electrical systems. /


prefix |noun| part of a word added at the beginning of a word to alter the meaning / Pre- is a prefix meaning ‘before’. / (NOTE: The prefixes for cloud types are: alto- medium level cloud (6,500 feet to 23,000 feet); cirro- high cloud (16,500 feet and above); nimbo- any height, but rain-bearing as for example nimbostratus: rain carrying, low-level cloud; strato- low cloud (up to 6,500 feet).)


pre-flight |adjective| taking place before a flight - pre-flight briefing > a short instructional talk before a flight - pre-flight checks > checks made on the aircraft structure and systems before taking off / During pre-flight checks, control surfaces should be moved by hand to ascertain that they have full and free movement. / - |noun| the set of procedures and checks that pilots and ground crew must carry out before an aircraft takes off - |verb| to inspect an aircraft before it takes off to ensure that it is airworthy


pre-ignition |noun| the ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chamber, occurring before the spark / Pre-ignition is often caused by a hot spot in the combustion chamber which ignites the mixture. /


preparation |noun| a state of readiness or act of making something ready for use beforehand / Normal aircraft preparation are actions and precautions taken by the cabin crew on every flight to ready the aircraft for any abnormal or emergency situation which may occur during any phase of the flight. /


prepare |verb| 1. to make ready beforehand for a particular purpose, as for an event or occasion / The instructor prepared the students for the exams. / - prepare for take-off > to get ready for take-off  2. to make by putting various elements or ingredients together / Regional area forecasting centers use information about upper wind speeds and temperatures to prepare specific forecasts and significant weather charts. /


prescribe |verb| to set down as a rule or a guide - prescribed procedures > a set or fixed pattern of doing something / A means of holding the fine pitch stop in a prescribed position is also called ‘pitch lock’. /


preselect |verb| to select or to choose in advance


preselected |adjective| selected or chosen in advance / The CSU (constant speed unit) maintains the preselected propeller speed. /


presence |noun| existence / The presence of cloud by day decreases the value of the maximum temperatures. A fuel sample hazy or cloudy in appearance would indicate the presence of water. /


present |adjective|  1. in place, existing / Fuel, oxygen and heat must all be present for fire to exist. /  2. the period in time through which we are now living, between the past and the future - at the present time > at this time, now - present day aircraft > modern aircraft - present weather > the weather at the moment of speaking - |verb|  1. to create or to make / A fire in a toilet could present difficulties. Learning to fly presents a challenge. / - to present an opportunity > to create or to give an opportunity  2. to give a prize or award /Charter passengers on Concorde were presented with a certificate as a souvenir of their flight./


presentation |noun| showing, a display / The most widely acceptable presentation of flight fuel data is in a tabular form. /


presently |adverb|  1. soon / I’ll be there presently. /  2. US now, at the present time - he’s presently in France > at the present time, he is in France - a number of methods are presently in use > a number of methods are currently in use


preset |verb| to set in advance / Radios allow the user to preset a number of different frequencies. / (NOTE: presetting – preset) - |adjective| set in advance


press |verb| to push or exert pressure on / press to test/talk (PTT) button /


pressure |noun| force applied uniformly over a surface, measured as force per unit of area - fuel pressure > pressure exerted by fuel as it is pumped from the tanks to the engine - pressure switch > a switch which is activated when a preset pressure is attained / On some engines a fuel differential pressure switch fitted to the fuel filter senses the pressure difference across the filter element. /


pressure altimeter |noun| a conventional altimeter which operates using atmospheric pressure


pressure altitude |noun| the altitude indicated when the altimeter is set to 1013.2 millibars / When using flight levels, the altimeter should be set to 1013.2mb to give the pressure altitude. / (NOTE: Pressure altitude is used in determining density altitude, true altitude and true airspeed.)


pressure bulkhead |noun| a partition inside the aircraft which separates pressurized from non-pressurized areas


pressure gauge |noun| an instrument for measuring pressure


pressure relay |noun| a component which transmits fluid pressure to a direct reading pressure gauge, or to a pressure transmitter which electrically indicates pressure on an instrument on the hydraulic panel


pressurization |noun| the act of increasing the air pressure inside a space, e.g. an aircraft cabin, so that it feels normal for the occupants when the outside air pressure decreases


pressurize |verb| to increase the pressure of / When air pressure is used to transfer fuel, it will be necessary to pressurize the fuel tanks. /


prevail |verb| to be most common or frequent / Hot dry conditions prevail in the Middle East in summertime. / - the prevailing wind is from the south-west > the wind blows from the south west more often than from any other direction


prevent |verb| to stop from happening / Heated air provides sufficient heat in the outer skin to melt ice already formed and prevent any further ice formation. /


previous |adjective| coming before, earlier - the previous chapter > the chapter before the one being read or referred to - previous reports > earlier reports


primarily |adverb| most often, mainly / Dry chemical fire extinguishers are primarily used for electrical fires. /


primary |adjective| first or most important - of primary importance > of greatest importance - primary coil > an induction coil


primary flight display |noun| same as primary flight instruments


primary flight instruments |plural noun| the six instruments displayed on the instrument panel immediately in front of the pilot: airspeed indicator, attitude indicator, altimeter, turn coordinator, heading indicator, and vertical speed indicator / When practicing instrument flying, the attitude indicator is the most important of the primary flight instruments. /


primary radar |noun| a radar system which uses reflected radio signals

primary radar target |noun| a blip (symbol) displayed on controller’s radar screen

primary surveillance radar |noun| a radar system which operates independently of the target / Unlike Primary Surveillance Radar, SSR (Secondary Surveillance Radar) uses a transponder on-board the aircraft to obtain a return. / Abbreviation: PSR

prime |adjective| first - prime importance > greatest importance - |verb| to pump fuel spray into the piston engine inlet manifold to make starting from cold easier / During the summer, after the first flight of the day, it is not normally necessary to prime the engine. /


prime number |noun| a number, which, if there is to be no remainder, is only divisible by itself and 1, e.g. 13, 17, 19, 23, 29


primer |noun|  1. a protective substance which is applied to a metal or wood surface before painting / Interior metal finishing is done with dust shedding gloss-paint over a primer. /  2. a small hand-operated pump, operated from the cockpit, to spray fuel into the piston engine inlet manifold to make starting from cold easier


principal |adjective| main / Four principal control modes can be selected on the EFIS (electronic flight instrument system) control panel. /


principle |noun| a basic truth or law / Fire extinguishing is based on the principle of removing one of the three components necessary for fire to exist – fuel, oxygen and heat. / (NOTE: Do not confuse with principal.)


prior |adjective| earlier, previous / prior approval, prior permission / - prior to > before - prior to take-off > before take-off ‘…the pilot remembered hearing the stall warning immediately prior to impact’


priority |noun| the order of importance or urgency - high priority > important or urgent in the circumstances - low priority > not important or urgent in the circumstances


Private Pilot’s License |noun| the basic license for flying light aircraft. Abbreviation: PPL


PRNAV |abbreviation| precision area navigation

PRO |abbreviation| probability (in METAR)

probability |noun| likelihood, the chance of occurrence / The probability of aquaplaning increases as the depth of tire tread decreases. /


probable |adjective| likely, most possible / Pilot error was the probable cause of the accident. /


probe |noun| a metal sensing device / Ice is allowed to accumulate on a probe which projects into the airstream. /

probe heat |noun| the electrical anti-icing of the air data probes (pitot probe, static ports, angle of attack sensors, outside air temperature sensors) which are located on the outside of the forward fuselage. The failure of the probe heat system on the A330 is suspected as being a contributory factor to the loss of Air France Flight 447 over the South Atlantic in June 2009. If the probes become obstructed with ice, the flight crew can lose all altitude, airspeed and angle of attack information and the computers which receive this information will generate erroneous outputs.

procedural |adjective| referring to procedure


procedural approach |noun| a specific approach made often after procedure turns as part of timed, accurately flown flight pattern to prepare for a landing at a particular aerodrome / It is important that the integrity of an aid used to conduct procedural approaches is high. /


procedure |noun|  1. a series of actions taken to achieve something / an emergency procedure /  2. the process by which aircraft are brought into position for an instrument approach and landing


procedure turn |noun| a turn made at 3° per second to align the aircraft with the runway

proceed |verb| to continue, to carry on, to go towards, to go forward / Track 280 degrees magnetic to GAN before proceeding on course. /

process |noun| a series of actions or changes which achieve a particular result / adiabatic process, combustion process, cooling process /


produce |verb|  1. to create / Low alto-stratus clouds often produce rain. /  2. to make or to manufacture / Most light aircraft are produced in the United States. /  3. to show / The pilot must produce her license to the authorities within two weeks. /


product |noun|  1. something created or made by human or natural methods / Carbon monoxide is a product of the combustion process. /  2. a number obtained by multiplying two other numbers together / The amount of power produced in a purely resistive circuit is a product of voltage and current (P = VI watts). /


production |noun|  1. creation / The movement of air over the airfoil is necessary for the production of lift. /  2. the process of manufacturing something / Production of aircraft in the factory came to a stop in 1974. /  3. the act of showing / An authorized person may require the production of a certificate of airworthiness. /


profile |noun|  1. an outline or shape of something, seen from a side view / The deicing panels are formed to the profiles of the wing and tail unit leading edges into which they are fitted. /  2. a short description / The handbook gives a short profile of the different aircraft types. /


prognostic |adjective| referring to foretelling or foreseeing events such as the weather


prognostic chart |noun| a chart which predicts the weather for a given area / Prognostic or forecast charts are prepared, by the central meteorological office of each region, normally for periods up to 24 hours ahead. / Also called: forecast chart


program |noun| the schedule of events to take place or procedures to be followed / Every part of the aircraft must be designed to carry the load imposed on it and in order to determine such loads a program of stress analysis is always carried out. /


progress |noun| movement towards an end or aim / the progress of an aircraft in flight / - in progress > taking place - embarkation is in progress > passengers are boarding the aircraft


progression |noun| a continuous series or sequence / The instruments are checked in logical progression from left to right. /


progressive |adjective| gradual, in stages / Throttle movements should be kept to a minimum and be smooth and progressive. /

progressive taxi instructions |noun| gradual or step-by-step instructions for taxiing / Progressive taxi instructions are recommended when taxiing is complex. /

prohibit |verb| to disallow or forbid / Smoking is prohibited in toilets. /


project |noun| a large-scale plan or scheme / a project to modernize the airport / - |verb|  1. to protrude or jut out / Ice is allowed to accumulate on a probe which projects into the airstream. /  2. to produce an image on a screen with a film or slide projector / The instructor projected a diagram of the fuel system onto the screen. /


projection |noun| the production of an image on a surface


prolong |verb| to increase the duration or time, often unnecessarily / Prolonged idling at low rpm (revolutions per minute) could cause spark plug fouling. /


promulgate |verb| to make known through official means / The range promulgated for NDBs (non-directional radio beacons) in the United Kingdom is based on a daytime protection ratio between wanted and unwanted signals. /


prone |noun| - prone to > likely to do something, or more than usually affected by something / Wing leading edges and engine intakes and propellers are prone to icing. /


pronounced |adjective| noticeable or marked / Turbulence caused by convection is more pronounced over paved surfaces than over forest or grassy terrain. /


propagation |noun| transmission / The speed of propagation of radio waves is slower over land than sea. /


propel |verb| to cause to move / Fronts are propelled by the wind behind them. /


propeller |noun| a rotating shaft with blades which, together with the engine, moves an aircraft through the air


propeller blade |noun| one of the elements of a propeller which generate lift when the unit is turning


propeller pitch |noun| the distance a propeller would advance in one rotation if there was no slip


propeller tip |noun| the part of the blade of a propeller furthest from the central hub


propelling nozzle |noun| the extreme rear part of the jet engine where the jet exhaust enters the atmosphere


properly |adverb| correctly / When the chart is properly orientated, it is easier to compare distance between landmarks. The pinpoint is a very positive means of establishing position, as long as the feature is properly identified. /


property |noun|  1. a characteristic or quality / Mass is a basic property of matter. One of the properties of mercury is that it is liquid at room temperature. /  2. the things that somebody owns, possessions - personal property > things belonging to a particular person


prop-jet |noun| same as turboprop


proportion |noun|  1. part of the whole compared with another part / Only a small proportion of passengers absorb the pre-departure safety information. /  2. - in proportion to > directly related to / The force required to move the control column is in proportion to the force being exerted by the control surface. /


proportional |adjective|  1. comparable  2. related - (directly) proportional > directly related / The wind blows along contours with low values on the left, and the speed is directly proportional to the contour gradient. / - inversely proportional > so that as one thing increases and another decreases by the same amount / Temperature is inversely proportional to altitude. The magnitude of the pressure gradient force is inversely proportional to the distance apart from the isobars. /


propulsion |noun| an act or instance of pushing or driving forwards (NOTE: The verb is to propel.)


propulsive |adjective| pushing or driving / The propeller is a means of converting engine power into a propulsive force called thrust. / (NOTE: The verb is to propel.)


propulsive power |noun| the power needed to produce thrust


protect |verb| to keep from harm, injury or damage / Gloves are worn to protect the hands in the event of a fire. /


protection |noun| the act of keeping something from harm, injury or damage - fire protection > action or measures taken to prevent fire


protective |adjective| referring to something which keeps something else from harm, injury or damage / Busbars are insulated from the main structure and are normally provided with some form of protective covering. /


protrude |verb| to extend above a surface / Prominent mountains frequently protrude above low-lying cloud and mist. /


protrusion |noun| something which protrudes or extends above a surface / When it has been necessary to physically remove a layer of snow, all protrusions and vents should be examined for signs of damage. /


prove |verb|  1. to show that something is true / The pilot proved that she was not at fault. /  2. to be found to be, to be discovered to be (NOTE: proving – proved – has proved or has proven) - to prove useful > to be discovered as useful by experience


provide |verb| to supply or to give / Radio altimeters provide a continuous indication of height above the surface immediately below the aircraft up to a maximum of 5,000 feet. Flight crews are frequently provided with a full meteorological briefing. Each tank is provided with a shut off valve. When aquaplaning, a tire is not capable of providing directional control or effective braking. / - provided that > on condition that, if / The flight will take off on schedule provided that the weather improves. /


provision |noun|  1. providing something, or what is provided / The provision of fresh air is important for passengers’ comfort. Catering companies are responsible for the provision of food. There is a generator for the provision of emergency power. The oil tank has provision for filling and draining. /  2. a legal statement which provides for something such as particular circumstances


proximity |noun| nearness in space or time / The two aircraft were in close proximity. /

PSU |abbreviation| Passenger Service Unit

psychological stress |noun| a mentally or emotionally upsetting condition which affects one’s health


PTT |abbreviation| press to test/talk


public |noun| people in general - |adjective| referring to the people in general


public address system |noun| a microphone, amplifier and loudspeaker set up to allow one person to be heard by a group of people / The captain made a public address (PA) system announcement asking passengers to remain seated. / Abbreviation: PA system


publication |noun|  1. the act of making something public, publishing / the publication of the latest figures /  2. a book, magazine, chart, etc., which has been published / The book is a Civil Aviation Authority publication. /


public relations |noun| the task of maintaining good relations with the public. Public relations may also involve putting across a point of view or publicizing a product. / The arrangements for the VIPs are being handled by the public relations department. / Abbreviation: PR


publish |verb| to prepare and issue a book, magazine, chart, etc., and sell or distribute it to the public / All known air navigation obstructions in the UK are published in the Air Pilot. /

published speed |noun| the reference speed which is published in the flight manual for this phase of operations

pull out |verb| to stop a dive in an aircraft and return to level flight


pullout |noun| a maneuver in which an aircraft changes from a dive to level flight


pulse |noun| a single vibration of electric current


pulse modulation |noun| the use of a series of short pulses, which are modified by an input signal, to carry information


pump |noun| a device with rotary or reciprocating action which is used to move fluids along pipes or for compressing fluids - |verb| to move or compress a fluid by means of a pump / Fuel is pumped from the tanks to the carburetor. / (NOTE: Most modern aircraft are fitted with hydraulic pumps driven from the engine. Other types of pumps may be found, but these are usually used to power emergency systems. Pumps can be driven directly from the engine gearbox, by an electric motor, or by air.)


pure |adjective| not mixed with something else / Inner tubes for tires are made of pure rubber. Magnesium does not possess sufficient strength in its pure state for structural uses. / - pure aluminum > aluminum which has not been combined with any other metal to create an aluminum alloy


purple airway |noun| an area of temporarily controlled airspace, established to provide special protection to Royal flights in fixed-wing aircraft, in which additional rules for air traffic apply at all times and in all weathers


purpose |noun|  1. function / The purpose of the engine is to convert heat energy to mechanical energy. /  2. a use / For practical purposes, any straight line drawn on a Lambert’s chart represents a great circle. / - general purpose > for all-round or general use

purser |noun| the chief cabin attendant on medium size narrow-body aircraft

push-back |noun| the process of pushing a plane out from its parked position using a special vehicle


push-rod |noun| a steel or aluminum rod which moves the rocker arm / The camshaft operates the push-rod. / (NOTE: The push-rod is part of the valve mechanism.)


pylon |noun|  1. a structure on the wing of an aircraft to support an engine (NOTE: Most modern jet passenger transport aircraft have pylon-mounted engines.)  2. a tall metal structure built to support electricity or telephone cables / Electricity pylons are difficult to see from the air so pilots of light aircraft should be particularly careful to note their positions. /


pyrotechnic |adjective| of or relating to fireworks - pyrotechnic lights > lights created by rockets or flares

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