A glossary of words commonly used in aviation.

Airway Distance
The actual (as opposed to straight line) distance flown by an aircraft between two points, after deviations required by air traffic control and navigation along prepublished routes. The difference between this and straight line distance will vary throughout the country.

Airport Reservation Office. Staffed by the FAA, this entity allocates landing and takeoff reservations for unscheduled aircraft in and out of the busiest airports in the United States (Newark, NJ; John F. Kennedy International, NYC; LaGuardia, NYC; O’Hare Airport, Chicago; Washington National, Washington D.C.).

Block Rates
A lower “contract rate” of scheduling significant amounts of charter time in advance on a prearranged agreement.

Block Speed
the average speed over a specific distance “block-to-block” or door-to-door with respect to the airport gate.

Cabin Class Twin
The heavier piston twins that have a separate passenger section.

FAA-issued license to carry passengers for hire.

Cruise Speed
The normal speed attained at altitude once the aircraft is no longer climbing and is en route.

Cruise Range
The distance an airplane may fly at cruise speed.

Duty Time
That portion of the day when a crew member is on duty in any capacity (not just in-flight). This can be a constraint on long day-trips as there are FAA-imposed limits on the amount time allowed on duty.

Fixed Base Operator. Represents a large majority of the air charter industry. By definition at a permanent location, this is a vendor of services, maintenance, fuel, flight instruction, and aircraft sales, in addition to charter.

Flight Time
That portion of the trip actually spent in the air. For billing purposes this definition is generally strict and only applies from moment of liftoff to moment of touchdown.

General Aviation
That portion of aviation other than the military or the regularly scheduled airlines. Commercial unscheduled operations, corporate flight operations and private aviation are the most conspicuous members of this group.

Instrument Flight Rules (flight in the clouds).

Jet Aircraft
Jets are powered by a kerosene-fueled turbine engine. They differ from turboprops in that their propulsion is derived not from a propeller but from the hot gases forced from the back of the engine.

Nautical miles per hour. The equivalent of 1.15 mph. Standard measurement of speed in aviation and marine operations. Abbreviated as kts.

Nautical Mile
The equivalent of 1.15 statute, or standard miles. The standard measurement of distance in marine and aviation operation. Abbreviated as nm.

The amount of cargo and passenger weight which an aircraft is capable of carrying with full fuel.

Ferrying aircraft for departure from other than originating airport. (Also for return.)

Propjet (or turboprop)
A propeller-driven airplane in which the engine is a jet turbine rather than piston driven.

The apron or open “tarmac” in front of an FBO or terminal facility. This space is busy, used for deplanement, parking of aircraft, etc. Some facilities will permit automobiles do drive to the aircraft on the ramp, a feature of real benefit to the traveler with heavy or bulky luggage.

The flying distance of an airplane, usually with a specific amount of reserve fuel.

Stage Length
Distance of itinerary nonstop leg.

Taxi Time
The portion of the trip spent rolling between the gate, terminal, or ramp and runway.

Turbine Engine
The turbine engine has no cylinders or pistons. Using kerosene as fuel, it operates by compressing air, igniting it, and using the hot exhaust gases to drive the turbine wheel. In turboprops, this power is used to turn the propeller. In jets, the gases are forced out the back of the engine to provide the propulsion. This engine type allows for much greater speeds, longer ranges, and higher altitudes.

Visual Flight Rules (flight out of clouds).

Waiting Time
The time that the chartered aircraft and crew must wait on the ground during any portion of the trip.