Monday, September 25, 2006


One of the things you learn very quickly in aviation is that acronyms are everywhere! What's an acronym? It's a "word" that is formed from the actual title of an object. For instance, FADEC (pronounced, "fay'-dek") stands for Full Authority Digital Engine Control. So, acronyms make a lot of sense. Having to say "Full Authority Digital Engine Control" every time you want to refer to the computer that controls the engine would be more of a mouthful than most would care to speak. FADEC is so much easier! Acronyms aren't always pronouncable (if that's a word!), so you may have to just say the letters. For instance, pb (not "peanut butter"...but rather "pushbutton") or PFD (Primary Flight Display). On the Airbus, there is an acronym for just about everything. In fact, there are several pages of acronyms and their definitions in the manual.

What typically happens with acronyms is they take on a meaning of their own. Many times you forget what they even stand for, but you know what they are. ECAMs are the two displays in the center of the cockpit that show all the systems and engine information. Do I care what ECAM stands for? Not really. OK...for those who can't stand it... it's Engine Condition and Monitoring.

Of course, it can get a little nuts: "When column two of the FMA on the PFD is showing V/S, then your VVI should be the same as what you set in the window of the FCU." But that is sure easier than saying, "When column two of the Flight Management Annunciator on the Primary Flight Display is showing Vertical Speed, then your Vertical Velocity Indicator should be the same as what you set in the window of the Flight Control Unit."

And of course, they aren't limited to just specific airplanes. Sometimes you get pilots using them as aviation slang when they make those announcements. Of course, they are assuming everyone knows what it is they are talking about. Yeah, right...

So...since this is aimed at people who have an interest in the world of flying airliners, I'll try to keep the jargon...and a minimum, or at least try to explain it when I use it. If not...leave a comment and ask what in the world I am talking about!

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