Plane & Pilot
Monday, June 23, 2008

Wingipedia, Part III

In our final installment, we conclude with “Alberto Santos-Dumont” through “Zulu time”

WingipediaWe’ve finally reached the end, my friends. In “Wingipedia, Part I” [March 2008], we covered “acrobatics through “induced drag.” And in “Part II” [May 2008], we took care of “Jenny” through “roll.” It has been fun, but our aviation version of Wikipedia has reached the end of its line. Wikipedia, which asserts that its name is “a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia,” is an online encyclopedia that’s written and edited by its visitors, i.e., people like you and me.
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This includes the radio frequencies that lie between approximately 8,000 and 12,500 MHz, which is considered the microwave range. It’s used for some satellite communication and for radar imaging systems.

A transceiver combines the abilities to both transmit and receive radio communication signals in the same unit. As opposed to a NAV/COM unit that bundles a navigation unit with a transceiver, a transceiver is a stand-alone, single-purpose unit.

The act of transmitting in aviation is the same as it is in any other segment of society: It entails the movement of information via radio waves that can be read by a receiver on the other end.

X marks the spot on the sectional indicating where you’re supposed to be but probably aren’t. The proper decoding of a misplaced X-mark generally leads to much sweating, accompanied by eyeballs constantly scanning the countryside while comparing landmarks with those on a badly wrinkled chart.

In the aviation alphabet, “yankee” is a fancy way of saying “Y,” but southern aviators don’t use it unless coerced, preferring “y’all” instead.

Yaw is the movement of the aircraft about the vertical axis, resulting in the nose moving sideways, the ball going off center and usually the outside wing coming up. Or it’s the positive response to a controller questioning whether your gear is down and locked.

Although everyone knows what a control yoke does, no one seems to know where the term came from. From controlling yaks, maybe? Although it controls an airplane as well as a joystick, it’s easier to understand the derivation of the word joystick.

Zero time
A zero-timed engine is one that’s “rebuilt” by the factory (or its designated representatives) to new tolerances throughout and is therefore allowed by the FAA to show zero time in the logbook. An “overhaul” isn’t required to be done to new tolerances, only to “service limits,” and can’t be considered zero time if it has been overhauled to new tolerances by someone not designated by the factory.

When applied to weather, zero-zero means almost certain calamity if you try to fly in it because zero ceiling is combined with zero visibility. You won’t even be able to taxi. When applied to ejection seats, zero-zero means almost certainly avoiding calamity because the seat will work with zero altitude and zero speed.

Although Zlin is both a city and a region in the Czech Republic, within aviation circles, this refers to excellent aircraft, aerobatic and otherwise, that have been produced by Moravian Aviation s.r.o. The most recent was the Z-242/143 touring/aerobatic aircraft.

Zulu time
Greenwich Mean Time, a.k.a. “Zulu time,” is the time standard used throughout the world to set clocks, plan/synchronize major events and determine time zones. Because most of us can never remember how many hours ahead it is, go to, which has a running clock showing the difference from your location.

Though Wingipedia ends with this third edition, the series lives on at our website. You can comment and make additions to our aviation encyclopedia at


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