|This "dictionary" of
terms is meant to provide the information necessary to translate fighter
pilot slang and jargon; it's a Rosetta stone to fighter pilot "lingo,"
if you will. There is some language on this page that should not be
repeated or may otherwise be inappropriate. They are here only so that
you can interpret fighter pilot terminology. Some relevant non-fighter
pilot terms are also included.
Most of these terms are literally slang or unofficial terms. To read about official brevity communications, reference the Joint Publication on brevity comm (PDF).
Ever wonder why you hear a fighter pilot say "cranium" or "skull" instead of "head?" For insight as to why fighter pilots sometimes use "abnormal" words in an "normal" way, read here.
|A [Return to Index]|
Pronounced "Triple A." Explosive rounds fired from
cannons as a defense against aircraft. Some guns
are radar-guided, others are simply sprayed into the
"Air Expeditionary Force." The current means by
which the USAF combines its fighters, tankers, bombers,
airlift, etc., into a total force for deployment.
and explanation of TDYs.
"Air Force Specialty Code."
The alpha numeric system by which the Air Force
designates career fields. For example, the basic
fighter pilot AFSC is "11F"; other specialties and
qualifiers can make the AFSC longer. An 11F1 is a
pilot in training, while an 11F3 is a fully qualified
fighter pilot, and a K11F3 is an
instructor pilot. A list of basic AFSCs can be
Combustion in a jet
engine that occurs after the primary sequence.
Afterburners generally generate significant thrust at
the cost of large quantities of fuel. Known as
"reheat" to our English friends.
Board." A team of officers and specialists assigned
to investigate an aircraft accident with the intent of
assigning blame. Compare with SIB.
|ALO||"Air Liaison Officer."
A pilot who is temporarily removed from flying and is
assigned to work with Army units to coordinate Army/Air
Force operations, particularly within close range to
Army units on the ground. One of several potential
assignments a fighter pilot might receive. See the
Assignment System portion of the article on
|AMRAAM||"Advanced Medium-Range Air to Air Missile." The
AIM-120 is a radar-guided launch and leave missile
primarily used for BVR engagements.
|AWACS||"Airborne Warning and Control System." A modified
707, the E-3 Sentry serves primarily as an airborne
controller by coordinating friendly aircraft operations.
AWACS also assists fighters with the location and
engagement of enemy aircraft. See the
aircraft page for links to Air Force
|B[Return to Index]|
|Balls to the Wall||
To go as fast as possible;
max effort. Various internet sources claim the
source of this phrase is actually benign.
Supposedly, some vehicle's throttles were topped by a
ball (going back before aviation even to the steam
engine, in some stories). Thus, pushing the
throttle forward as far as it would go--and thus asking
for maximum power--was "balls to the wall."
It doesn't matter if the stories are true or not. In fighter parlance, anything that sounds remotely like an illicit bodily reference is a popular idiom.
An aircraft that is likely,
though not definitely, an adversary. Often used
loosely to describe any adversary, even in non-flying
scenarios. It fails to meet the criteria that
would make it a Bogey or
A phenomenon in the Air
Force where members cannot help but tell everyone about
how good it was at some other base at which they were
assigned. For example, "At Base X, we used to do
it this way...." See the relevant
Basic Course. The introductory training course for
a specific fighter aircraft. I.e., the F-16 B-course
or the F-15 B-course.
Slang for the BDU-33, a
20lb training bomb.
"Basic Fighter Maneuvers."
The 1v1 aircraft combat most commonly known as
"dog-fighting," intended to teach gunnery and short
range missile skills.
The pre-briefed fuel state
at which an aircraft needs to begin its return to base
in order to land with the pre-planned fuel. Also
used jokingly; ie, being "bingo TP" may mean someone is
almost out of toilet paper. See
The automated female voice
that provides audible in-cockpit warnings in some
fighter aircraft. "Bob" replaces "Betty" in a male
voice in some aircraft. See an external related
article. Also a derogatory term for a person
who complains or talks too much.
Literally, the data
recorder that contains the computer memory and records
all aspects of a flight, most often used in post-crash
Figuratively, anything a fighter pilot doesn't
understand the operation of (and doesn't care about).
Synonymous with black magic, Magic 8 ball, or
(i.e., how does a thermos know to keep hot things hot
and cold things cold?).
"Boredom-induced Loss of
Consciousness." Pronounced "Bee-Lock," the term is
a play on G-LOC and may briefed as
a "threat" in terribly non-entertaining or repetitive
An aircraft that is
unidentified. The aircraft must be identified by
some means, visual or electronic, before action can be
taken. See Bandit,
"Beyond Visual Range."
The ability to engage an enemy aircraft prior to being
able to see him.
What an F-15C pilot calls a "bomb," since talking about
Air-to-Ground is taboo in the Eagle community.
|C[Return to Index]|
Flight: An airborne
aircraft uses a "callsign" as an identifier when talking
to the controllers. This is generally a word and
number combination. For example, "Killer 01."
If Killer was a flight of four aircraft, the flight
members would be numbered in succession; ie, 01, 02, 03,
Pilot: A pilot's "tactical nickname." In the Air Force, these names are "given" during a Naming. See the article on one fighter pilot's naming.
"Close Air Support." Attacking ground targets in
close proximity to friendly ground units.
A device with a simulated cockpit on the end of a long
arm that spins at extraordinary speed, allowing a pilot
to experience controlled "G"
"Company Grade Officer's
Council." A committee of Air Force officers of the
ranks Captain and lower.
A defensive device
(essentially a bundle of shredded foil) that is dispensed from a fighter that
desires to confuse an enemy radar. As a verb, to
"chaff" something off means to try to deflect it (to
someone else), particularly when it comes to undesirable
duties. Often used in concert with
An evaluation sortie.
A flight that is graded by an evaluator. In
training, these rides determine the ability to progress
to further stages of training. In an operational
Air Force unit, checkrides are given approximately every
18 months to grade a pilot's ability to safely fly the aircraft and
accomplish the mission.
A reminder to look behind you. In an aircraft, 12
o'clock is directly in front of you, 3 o'clock is on
your right, 9 is on your left, and 6 o'clock is directly
behind you. Often used as parting words (the
equivalent of "good luck"), or as a "watch your back."
See the mutual support
the article on
An air refueling receiver.
A tanker that is giving gas to receivers is said to have
"chicks in tow."
The term's application to
females has fallen out of favor due to political
correctness. In order to fight that politically
correct perception, female pilots often refer to
themselves as "chicks." See the
An aircraft condition.
If a jet is "Code 3," it requires maintenance action
before it is safe or useful for another flight. A
"Code 2" jet needs maintenance but can continue to fly.
A "Code 1" jet is in perfect working order. These
codes are often applied to more than just jets.
That is, a pilot that is so sick he's on bed rest might
facetiously call himself "Code 3."
A unit medallion, often
called an "RMO."
of the unit coin is listed on virtually every vendor
website in identical form. (Notably, they all use
the word "scion" to describe some well-to-do early
fighter pilots; a generic summary can be seen
here.) Most websites did not credit the
history, but some did list a Kelly Air Force dining out
presentation as the source text. I could find no
Fighter Pilot Traditions.
The enlisted person in
charge of a particular airplane. Just as a pilot
often gets to have his name painted on the side of an
aircraft, so does the crew chief who "owns" that jet.
Read about the relationships between fighter pilots and
crew chiefs in the Enlisted section of the article on
"Crew/Fighter Resource Management." A teamwork
concept in which all participants are encouraged to call
on the knowledge and experience of the other players.
C/FRM is explained slightly
|D[Return to Index]|
A reference to an aircraft's
parent regulation. The Dash-1 contains all the
normal operation and emergency procedures required to
safely operate the aircraft and is the final authority
as to the official limits of the aircraft.
A fighter pilot drinking
Including Flying." The medical status of a pilot who is
too sick to fly but can still perform other duties, as
determined by the flight surgeon.
|Dollar Ride||The first sortie of
pilot training; sometimes applied to the first sortie of any
formal flying training program in a new aircraft.
|Doofer Book||A running
compilation of the missteps of the members of the squadron. They
are most interesting when kept during deployments and often
become a unique collection of history (and often humor) for a
Generally, there are few rules, either about content or language—the only criterion is that the story must be at least 10% true. Doofer books have largely fallen victim to political sensitivity. See the relevant section of this article.
|Dos Gringos||A duo of F-16 pilots who
revived the tradition of fighter pilot songs. See the
FAQ, article on Fighter Pilot Songs.
Their website is located
|E[Return to Index]|
"Electronic Counter Measures."
A means of attempting to confuse enemy radars.
Some fighter aircraft carry an ECM device internally,
while others carry an external ECM pod.
Rubber suit worn
during over water operations when the water temperature
is dangerously low. Should a fighter pilot be
required to eject, the suit is designed to increase his
chances of survival in otherwise near-fatal water
temperatures. Often called a "poopie suit," a
reference to the fact that if you have to defecate,
there isn't much you can do about it.
|F[Return to Index]|
"Forward Air Controller."
In general, an Army or Marine on the ground who directs
an airborne aircraft's attack runs in support of front
line units. A "FAC-A," or airborne FAC, is a pilot
in another aircraft conducting the same mission.
A cloth bag that some pilots
use to carry classified media to the aircraft. So
called because it resembles a "handbag," and any man
that carries a purse...
"First Assignment Instructor
Pilot." A pilot who graduates from pilot training
whose first assignment is to return to pilot training as
an instructor. One of several potential
assignments a new pilot might receive. See the
Training section of the article on
"Flying Evaluation Board." A committee of officers
to which a pilot is referred if someone questions his
ability to continue safely flying. An FEB can take away a
The procedure by which a
fighter pilot sets his cockpit switches in order to
prepare for combat. When he "crosses the fence,"
he "fences in" and sets his switches to the appropriate
mode. He "fences out" when leaving.
|Flare||A defensive device
expended by an aircraft in order to decoy heat-seeking
missiles. Often used in concert with
|Flat-top February||Fighter pilots get their
hair cut in high and tight fashion for this annual
first aircraft in a formation; the experienced pilot in the
formation primarily responsible for accomplishing the mission
and leading his wingman.
Guy." The "nickname" given to pilots who are new to a
squadron and have not yet received a callsign.
Guy." Reference to those of ranks Major and above.
similar to its sports origins, a pilot commits a "foul" when
he violates protocol on a air to ground bombing range. The
range controller transmits, "Foul, 2," to let #2 know he
committed the error. Also used generically to express
discontent with another's actions.
|Fox||Code word (slang term) indicating a certain type of air-to-air missile has been fired; the type is designated by number:|
|"Fox 1" = semi-active radar missile (AIM-7 Sparrow)|
|"Fox 2" = heat-seeking missile (AIM-9 Sidewinder)|
|"Fox 3" = active radar missile (AIM-120 AMRAAM)|
|"Fox 4" = facetious reference to missile shot; for example, if someone claimed to shoot a missile in an impossible situation, he might be accused of shooting a non-existent "top secret" missile requiring a "Fox 4" call. Also jokingly used when an aircraft is brought down by something other than a missile; for example, a midair collision.|
Occasionally fighter pilots will simply say "Fox."
Short for fratricide, which is the killing of a friendly
by a friendly (blue on blue) whether on the ground or in the air.
Military: Short for fraternization, which is an inappropriate relationship between military members of unequal ranks. Generally refers to unprofessional officer / enlisted relationships.
|G[Return to Index]|
Under one G, a pilot is in level flight and feels his
normal weight. Some fighter aircraft are capable
of up to 9 Gs. See
in Back." A reference to the backseater in
"G-induced Loss of Consciousness," pronounced "gee
lock." A black out
caused by the loss of blood flow to the brain experienced
by fighter pilots when under high-G conditions.
See centrifuge. See also
|Gonk||Currency of the
foreign country in which a fighter pilot is deployed. Doesn't
matter which one; they all use gonk.
|Go Pills||An amphetamine pill
prescribed by a flight surgeon for a pilot. The pill is
intended to provide the benefits of caffeine without the side
effects (diuretic, jitters). Because of the pill's
similarity to illegal drugs, they are highly controlled and
sometimes politically controversial.
|Gouge||A collection of
questions, answers, data, and hints; the "inside scoop." At one time,
particularly in pilot training, to have test "gouge" meant
simply to have a copy of the test ahead of time. Testing
scandals have reduced the occurrence of that type of gouge.
Generically, it just means helpful data, whether academic or
otherwise; i.e., "do you have any good gouge on how to...?"
Sometimes synonymous with "poop." See the
article on the
|Ground-Pounder||Slang for Army
troops; when used to refer to Air Force members, it is a
derogatory term for non-aviators.
|H[Return to Index]|
Missile." A supersonic missile designed to home in
on and destroy enemy ground radars. See the
description of HARMs in the article on
A non-fighter aircraft.
|Holding Hands||In close formation.
Two fighters that are in a close formation are said to be
"holding hands." Often used to let Air Traffic Control
know that the formation has rejoined and can be treated as a
|Holy Joe||Antiquated slang for
chaplain. Also, an overly pious or sanctimonious
|Hook||To fail an upgrade
flight. So called because of the hook-shaped "U" of
"Unsatisfactory" that constitutes the grade of such a ride.
|Hostile||A targeted aircraft that has been positively identified as belonging to the adversary, and most often meaning friendlies are authorized to engage with force. See Bandit, Bogey.|
|I[Return to Index]|
Avionics: "Identification Friend or
Foe." An electronic means of identifying aircraft.
"Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals." Flown in
the AT-38B, this is the last flying course a fighter
pilot attends before going on to the B-Course for his
operational Major Weapons System.
"Instructor Pilot." A
pilot with the qualifications to teach another.
|J[Return to Index]|
|Jeremiah Weed||A 100 proof
liquor that is often the "traditional" drink of choice for
fighter pilots. There is an interesting description of
Wikipedia, and the "true story" of how it came to be a
fighter pilot icon is quoted
fuel state above bingo at which
maneuvering should be terminated or separation/bug-out
begun. Joker may be understood as a 'pad' above bingo
that allows for a certain amount of maneuvering before
finally reaching bingo.
|K[Return to Index]|
|KIO||"Knock It Off." A radio transmission that tells all aircraft to cease tactical maneuvering because a dangerous situation has developed. In flags and LFEs, this "stops the war." Sometimes used in non-flying scenarios to direct another pilot to stop messing around.|
|L[Return to Index]|
Based on the practice of
charging pilots for landing an aircraft at an airport, a
"landing fee" is charged to a pilot arriving at a new
assignment. The fee most often ostensibly covers
the costs of things like squadron T-shirts, unit-colored
name tags, and plaques or lithos that the pilot will
receive when he leaves. The fee can be nominal and
logical, but in many cases is simply based on the unit's
number (i.e., a $137 landing fee for becoming a member
of the 37th Fighter Squadron).
"Large Force Exercise."
A gathering of a large number of aircraft, often from
different countries, to participate in a single
simulated "war." Read about some LFEs
|LGB||"Laser Guided Bomb."
Free fall ordnance with a laser-seeker on the front that
allows the bomb to be guided with impressive precision.
|Line of Sight||The ability to
have an unimpeded view of the objective.
Protection Association." The unofficial
organization of Lieutenants (the youngest officer grade in
the Air Force).
|M[Return to Index]|
A unit of speed relative to
the Speed of Sound. A Mach number of 1.0 is equal
to the speed of sound. Most modern fighters
maximum speeds are in the vicinity of 2.0 M.
Because the speed of sound depends on multiple
variables, it does not translate directly into a fixed
"mile per hour" value.
Code word (slang term)
indicating an AGM-88 HARM
(air-to-ground missile) has been fired.
"Military" (also known as "dry") power, it is the maximum
non-afterburner setting of a jet engine.
"Mission Oriented Protective
Posture." A level of chemical defensive gear that
must be worn, with a scale of 1 to 4. MOPP 0 indicates that chem gear must
be nearby; MOPP 4 indicates that overgarments, boots,
gloves, and a gas mask must be worn.
Synonym for dead, die, kill.
A pilot who is killed during a dogfight is a "mort."
When going into a dangerous situation, a pilot may be
told "don't mort yourself."
||Fighter pilots will often
grow mustaches during the annual event. See
Fighter Pilot Traditions.
|Mutual Support||The ability of a pilot
and his wingman to provide support for each other.
Visual mutual support indicates that two fighters can
see each other and is the most desirable. Detached
mutual support indicates the fighters are separated but
have awareness as to the other's location. See the
Mutual Support section of the article on fighter pilot
|N[Return to Index]|
A traditional fighter pilot
event at which young fighter pilots are assigned their
the topic of Namings in the article on
Fighter Pilot Traditions.
Sleeping pills provided by a
flight surgeon. They are often given to pilots to
adjust their diurnal cycle after having deployed over
several time zones or when they need to transition from
day pilots to night pilots (or vice versa).
"Night Vision Goggles." Binocular type devices that
attach to the helmet that allow a fighter pilot
increased vision during night operations.
|O[Return to Index]|
The Officers' Club. A
social gathering place restricted to officer use,
generally consisting of bars, restaurants, and
auditorium/ball rooms. Officers are "highly
encouraged," though not required, to become members of
the Officers' Club. See the Article on
for more information.
"Officer Performance Report." In the Air Force, an
annual report on the professional performance of an
officer. See a description of "typical" OPRs in
the article on
Paperwork and Reality.
Operations Tempo. A means of describing the pace
of operations at a particular base. Ie, a "high
ops tempo" indicates that there are continuous mission
demands that tend to keep everyone busy. See the
impact of Ops Tempo in the article on
Training School." A three-month course by which the
Air Force makes college graduates officers. Often
called "90 day wonders." The Navy OCS is essentially
|P[Return to Index]|
"Phased Array Tracking
Intercept of Target." A US air defense system
designed to protect against enemy ballistic missiles and
aircraft. It gained fame for its performance in
the Gulf War in protecting Israel and Allied forces
against Iraqi SCUDs. It gained notoriety for its
ability to shoot down friendly aircraft in Operation
IRAQI FREEDOM (see the
article on OIF).
"Permanent Change of Station." A USAF move from one
base to another.
To expend ordnance. To "pickle" a bomb or "hit the
pickle button" means to fire a weapon.
Whenever a pilot pickles missiles or rockets he
generally transmits a code word to let others know a
missile is in the air. See Fox,
A thick plastic bag with a small neck designed to be
used as a urinal while in the cockpit of a fighter.
The piddle pack has a powder chemical in it that turns
the liquid into gel, minimizing (but not eliminating)
the potential for leaks. No, we do not know how
female fighter pilots relieve themselves in the jet.
|Pigs in Space||
Description of the
performance of a fighter aircraft that is heavily loaded
with fuel and weapons and at high altitude. Its
maneuverability and agility is seriously degraded,
causing some fighter pilots to refer to that situation
as being a "pig" (poor performance) in "space"
(generally at high altitude)
A step or instruction
that must be followed, regardless of the personal
opinion of the procedure itself. See
To depart. The crew
chief "pulls the chocks," which are generally just
wooden blocks painted yellow, out from the tires,
allowing the aircraft to taxi. When a pilot is
ready to depart (even if its just to go home), he may
say he's "pulling chocks." Sometimes synonymous
To "punch out" is to eject.
Sometimes used for other purposes that indicate a final
departure. Someone who is going home for the
evening may "punch out" (or "pull
To depart a point; the time and place from which a fighter
formation leaves its holding pattern and begins its planned
route. Also used generically; for example, when
TDY, fighter pilots may plan a "push
time" from the hotel front desk to head to the flight line.
|Ground: Something that
is neither good nor bad, neither a win nor a loss; a tie.
Often represented by a "o" as opposed to a "+" or "-".
|Push it Up||
In aviation, “pushing it up”
refers to increasing the throttle setting; e.g., pushing the
throttle up. In the fighter pilot world, the phrase
refers to a night of partying and heavy drinking. See
the Friday night event section of the article on
|Q[Return to Index]|
|Queep||A term that is used to describe paperwork, reports, and other "extraneous" duties that keep a pilot out of the cockpit.|
|R[Return to Index]|
"Red Cunt Hair." A
vulgar, sexual reference to an infinitesimal unit of
measure; to be within an RCH is to be immeasurably
A Large Force Exercise that
"simulates" combat for hundreds of aircraft in a single
engagement. The event is hosted at Nellis AFB in
A request for maintenance response,
generally when a pilot is starting up an aircraft to go
on a mission. I.e., if a pilot
has a radar problem, he will call "Redball, radar," on
the radio, which is a request for radar specialists.
A maintenance condition in
which a jet is unsafe for flight. Maintenance must
be performed to remove the Red X before the jet can fly
again. A "slash" or "dash" are other lesser
degrees of required maintenance action which allow an
aircraft to continue flying until the condition is fixed
later. A Red X is a Code 3
A type of tour to a "remote"
location, which may include Greenland, the Middle East,
Korea, or others. Remotes are generally one year
long. Family members are generally required to
stay in the states while a pilot goes remote. See the
(slang term) indicating an AGM-65 Maverick (air-to-ground
missile) has been fired.
Object." See Coin.
Engagement." The regulations that govern a particular
scenario. There may be ROE specific to an event, a
theatre, a battle, or a war. The ROE are intended to
deconflict friendly assets, prevent fratricide, minimize risk, and maximize efficiency.
Deviations from ROE can result in a pilot being rewarded,
grounded, or court-martialed, depending on the outcome.
|ROTC||"Reserve Officer Training
Corps." A college level training program put on by
each of the services. Depending on the program, an
ROTC cadet's college expenses may be partially or
completely paid for. If a cadet does accept such
aid, he generally has a four or five year commitment to
serve on active duty as an officer.
Base." Radio call indicating aircraft is
beginning journey home.
|S[Return to Index]|
"Surface to Air Missile."
An air defensive system that can be as benign as a
shoulder-launched heat-seeking missile or as aggressive
as a long-range radar-guided missile designed to bring
down enemy aircraft. Read about SAMs in the
article on OIF.
|Sandbag||To "ride along" in the
backseat of the two-seat version of a fighter, so called
because single-seat fighter pilots generally don't like
backseaters and sometimes view them as nothing more than
|Scud||A theatre ballistic
missile. The name was popularized for the
Soviet-made surface-to-surface missiles that are common in
former Communist-allied countries.
|SEAD||"Suppression of Enemy Air
Defenses." A fighter mission that intends to
suppress SAMs in order to support other fighter
missions. Read a short bit about SEAD
Resistance, and Escape." Training for pilots and
other specialties that teaches them how to survive in
harsh conditions, evade the enemy, resist the enemy if
captured, and escape from the enemy.
|Shack||Term used when
a fighter pilot drops a bomb and makes a direct hit on
a ground target; a bullseye.
|Shelf Check||Browsing at the
local military exchange. So called particularly during
deployments to austere locations, where people often go to
the BX/PX to see what's for sale not because they need
something, but because it's "something to do."
|Shoe Clerk||A pejorative term sometimes used by pilots to describe non-aviators. It is generally reserved for those who attempt to assert the importance of their non-flying expertise in order to assume an air of superiority over an Air Force aviator.|
|Shoe Flag||A play on
words, since "Flags" are generally large force flying
exercises; a derogatory
term for SOS. So called because of the apparent
importance of SOS to non-fliers and its
sometimes nuisance nature to the flying community.
|Short||A term that describes a
person who has little time remaining either until they
PCS, separate, or retire.
|Short Hairs||A (vulgar
sexual) reference to being in something's final or closing
stages. "To be in the..." is to essentially be
"at the last minute."
Board." A team of officers and specialists
assigned to investigate an aircraft incident. An SIB
looks only to determine cause to prevent future mishaps, it
does not look to assign blame. If the Air Force
believes a criminal or otherwise negligent act may be the
cause, it may stand up an AIB.
|Sideburn September||Fighter pilots will often
let their sideburns grow to the regulation limit during
the annual event. See
Fighter Pilot Traditions.
|Sidewinder||AIM-9. A heat
seeking missile carried by US, western, and some allied
Elimination." Withdrawing from a training program,
particularly pilot training. See the article on
pronunciation of "S.H.," which stands for "(Expletive) Hot."
An exclamation that something is good, particularly in
reference to a fighter pilot or flying skills.
|Situational Awareness||"SA." The ability
to know and understand what has happened, what is
happening, and what will happen, as well as where you
are in time and space. By the time loss of SA is
recognized, it has been gone for some time.
|SNAFU||"Situation Normal, All
Age Pilot." Disparaging term often used by "old"
fighter pilots to describe the personalities of the younger
"kinder, gentler" pilots. Often generically used to
describe any thin-skinned, hypersensitive, or easily
offended person. Political correctness is the epitome
of a "SNAP."
Officers School;" Professional Military Education (PME) that
all Air Force Captains are required to complete either by
correspondence or by attending the "Air University" at
Maxwell AFB. Attending SOS is often a "prized
opportunity" in the non-flying community. For aviators
it is often dreaded because it forces them to be out of the
cockpit for more than a month. See
|"So to Speak"||A fighter pilot
expression that follows any phrase that may, in some
way, be construed as a double entendre. See the
relevant section of the article on "Christian
Fighter Pilot Living."
Disorientation." A loss of correct
understanding as to which direction is up, down, left,
or right. Often occurs in clouds or at night, when
a horizon is not discernible. The condition, when
unrecognized, has resulted in the deaths of several
pilots. It is often corrected by simply referencing the
aircraft instruments, though it can be incapacitating. See a short description of
Spatial D in the
article on God's Will.
may be slight variations from unit to unit, in general, a
fighter pilot "steps" to his aircraft from the Operations
Desk. The "step time" is the time that the pilot and
any wingmen he may have with him depart the building for the
aircraft or flightline. The Navy uses the term "walk."
By setting a step time, everybody gets on the same schedule
from that point forward.
|T[Return to Index]|
"Tactical Air Navigation
system." A beacon by which
pilots can navigate. See the article on TDYs about
the "Two TACAN Rule."
Phonetic pronunciation of "T.U."
Literally, "tits up." Something that is "Tango
Uniform" is dead, inoperative, broken, or otherwise
"Third Country National."
A foreign national who is contracted to work on US
military bases in the combat theatre who is not
from the host nation. See the article on
Chaplains and their interactions with TCNs.
"Temporary Duty." In the
Air Force, a short, temporary deployment to another
location. See the article on
and the related FAQ.
A method that has been
determined to be successful, but is not required to be
done. See procedure.
used derogatory term for non-rated officers; a reference to
their jungle camouflage uniform. See
zipper-suited sun god.
indicating that a pilot has a complete loss of
Often occurs when a wingman is so confused that all he can
do is stay visual with his flight lead and hope he'll
eventually figure out what's going on. Utterly
confused, clueless. Sometimes generically used to
describe people who have no idea what's going on. If
someone is describing a difficult concept (or just poorly
explaining it), a pilot may say "I'm tumbleweed, can you
explain that again?"
|U[Return to Index]|
"Unmanned Aerial Vehicle," sometimes
"Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle" or "Unmanned
Aerial System (UAS)."
A remote controlled aircraft that is directed by a pilot
sitting at a console. Piloting a UAV is one of
several potential assignments a fighter pilot might
receive. See the
Assignment System portion of the article on
Training." The year-long Air Force initial flight
training course. Read about one pilot's UPT
"Unmanned Combat Aerial
Vehicle," sometimes "Uninhabited Combat Aerial
Vehicle." A UAV that is capable of carrying
United States Air Force Academy, located in Colorado
Springs, Colorado. Sometimes jokingly called the
"Colorado School for Boys" or "that little engineering
school in the Rockies."
|V[Return to Index]|
|W[Return to Index]|
To be eliminated or removed from training
The second or fourth pilot
in a formation whose primary responsibility is to
support his flight lead.
Generally inexperienced; qualified to employ the
aircraft, but not qualified to lead another pilot in a
formation. Generically, any pilot who supports
"Word of Mouth." A WOM
is generally an action or "rule" that is consistently
quoted but no one can find any regulation to support.
It often occurs when someone quotes something as "fact,"
no one confirms it, but everyone accepts it.
Eventually someone questions it--when they discover
there is no basis for it, they realize it's just a WOM.
"Weapons System Officer."
The Air Force equivalent of the Navy Radar Intercept
Officer (RIO). In the F-15E, the backseater who is
responsible for air to ground weapons employment.
(expletive), over?" A questioning expression of shock
or surprise, as in "What's the deal with this, over?"
|X[Return to Index]|
|Y[Return to Index]|
"You've Gotta Be Sh_tting
Me." A term of shock, disbelief, or resignation at
a realization of institutional stupidity that originated
with the invention of the Wild Weasel role, in which
aircraft would bait SAMs on-air in order to destroy
See the relevant article.
|Z[Return to Index]|
|Zipper-suited Sun god||A derogatory term for fighter pilots, referring to their zipper-front flight suits and arrogant personalities. See Tree.|