Read ADDENDUM of Opportunities in Aviation , free online book, by Arthur Sweetser Gordon Lamont, on


What is to become of all the new words, some of them with new meanings, the old words with new meanings, and the new words with old meanings, coined by the aviators of the American and British flying services in the war? Are they to die an early death from lack of nourishment and lack of use, or will they go forward, full-throated into the dictionary, where they may belong? Here are just a few of them, making a blushing debut, so that it may be seen at once just how bad they are:

AEROBATICS - A newly coined word to describe aerial “stunting,”
which includes all forms of the sport of looping, spinning, and
rolling. The term originated in the training schedule for
pilots, and all pilots must take a course in aerobatics before
being fully qualified.

AEROFOIL - Any plane surface of an airplane designed to obtain
reaction on its surfaces from the air through which it moves.
This includes all wing surface and most of the tail-plane

AILERON - This is a movable plane, attached to the outer
extremities of an airplane wing. The wing may be either raised
or lowered by moving the ailerons. Raising the right wing, by
depressing the right aileron, correspondingly lowers the left
wing by raising the left aileron. They exercise lateral control
of a machine.

BLIMP - A non-rigid dirigible balloon. The dirigible holds its
shape due to the fact that its gas is pumped into the envelop to
a pressure greater than the atmosphere. It can move through the
air at forty miles an hour, but high speed will cause it to
buckle in the nose.

BUMP - A rising or falling column of air which may be met while
flying. A machine will be bumped up or bumped down on a bumpy
day. A hot day over flat country, at noon, will generally be
exceedingly bumpy.

CRASH - Any airplane accident. It may be a complete wreck or the
plane may only be slightly injured by a careless landing.
Crashes are often classified by the extent of damage. A class A
crash, for instance, is a complete washout. A class D crash is
an undercarriage and propeller broken.

DOPE - A varnish-like liquid applied to the linen or cotton wing
fabrics. It is made chiefly of acetone, and shrinks the fabric
around the wooden wing structure until it becomes as tight as a
drum. The highly polished surface lessens friction of the plane
through the air.

DRIFT - Head resistance encountered by the machine moving through
the air. This must be overcome by the power of the engine. The
term is also used in aerial navigation in its ordinary sense,
and a machine flying a long stretch over water may drift off the
course, due to winds of which the pilot has no knowledge.

DUD - A condition of being without life or energy. An engine may be
dud; a day may be dud for flying. A shell which will not explode
is a dud. A pilot may be a dud, without skill. It is almost a
synonym for washout.

FLATTEN Out - To come out of a gliding angle into a horizontal
glide a few feet from the ground before making a landing. The
machine loses flying speed on a flat glide, and settles to the

FLYING SPEED - Speed of a plane fast enough to create lift with its
wing surfaces. This varies with the type of plane from
forty-five miles an hour as a minimum to the faster scout
machines which require seventy miles an hour to carry them
through the air. When a machine loses flying speed, due to
stalling, it is in a dangerous situation, and flying speed must
be recovered by gliding, or the machine will fall into a spin
and crash out of control.

FORCED LANDING - Any landing for reasons beyond the control of a
pilot is known as a forced landing. Engine failure is chiefly
responsible. Once the machine loses its power it must go into a
glide to maintain its stability, and at the end of the glide it
must land on water, trees, fields, or roofs of houses in towns.

FUSELAGE - This word, meaning the body of a machine, came over from
the French. The cockpits, controls, and gasolene-tanks are
usually carried in the fuselage.

HOP - Any flight in an airplane or seaplane is a hop. A hop may
last five minutes or fifteen hours.

JOY-STICK - The control-stick of an airplane was invented by a man
named Joyce, and for a while it was spoken of as the
Joyce-stick, later being shortened to the present form. It
operates the ailerons and elevators.

LANDFALL - A sight of land by a seaplane or dirigible which has
been flying over an ocean course. An aviator who has been
regulating his flight by instruments will check up his
navigation on the first landfall.

PANCAKE - An extremely slow landing is known as a pancake landing.
The machine almost comes to a stop about ten feet off the
ground, and with the loss of her speed drops flat. There is
little forward motion, and this kind of landing is used in
coming down in plowed fields or standing grain. Jules Vedrines
made his landing on the roof of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris
by “pancaking.”

SIDE-SLIP - The side movement of a plane as it goes forward. On an
improperly made turn a machine may side-slip out that is, in
the direction of its previous motion, like skidding. It may
side-slip in, toward the center of the turn, due to the fact
that it is turned too steeply for the degree of the turn.
Side-slipping on a straight glide is a convenient method of
losing height before a landing.

STALL - A machine which has lost its flying speed has stalled. This
does not mean that its engine has stopped, but in the flying
sense of the word means that friction of the wing surfaces has
overcome the power of the engine to drive the machine through
the air. The only way out of a stall is to regain speed by
nosing down. A machine which has lost its engine power will not
stall if put into a glide, and it may be brought to a safe
landing with care.

STRUT - The upright braces between the upper and lower wings of a
machine are called struts. They take the compression of the
truss frame of the biplane or triplane. Each wing is divided
into truss sections with struts.

S-TURN - A gliding turn, made without the use of engine power. A
machine forced to seek a landing will do a number of S-turns to
maneuver itself into a good field.

TAIL SPIN - This is the most dreaded of all airplane accidents, and
the most likely to be fatal. A machine out of control, due often
to stalling and falling through the air, spins slowly as it
drops nose first toward the ground. This is caused by the
locking of the rudder and elevator into a spin-pocket on the
tail, which is off center, and which receives the rush of air.
The air passing through it gives it a twisting motion, and the
machine makes about one complete turn in two or three hundred
feet of fall, depending upon how tight the spin maybe. The
British speak of the spin as the spinning nose dive.

TAKE-OFF - This is the start of the machine in its flight. After a
short run over the ground the speed of the machine will create
enough lift so that the plane leaves the ground.

TAXI - To move an airplane or seaplane on land or water under its
own power when picking out a starting-place, or coming in after
a landing. This is not to be confused with the run for a start
when the plane is getting up speed to fly, using all her power.
The NC-4 “taxied” a hundred miles to Chatham after a forced
landing, and the NC-3 came in two hundred and five miles to
Ponta Delgada after she landed at sea.

VERTICAL BANK - In this position the machine is making a turn with
one wing pointing directly to the ground, and its lateral axis
has become vertical. The machine turns very quickly in a short
space of air, and the maneuver is sometimes spoken of as a
splitting vertical bank. In a vertical bank the elevators of a
machine act as the rudder and the rudder as an elevator. The
controls are reversed.

WASHOUT - Means anything which was but is not now anything
useless, anything that has lost its usefulness, anything that
never was useful. Flying may be washed out; that is, stopped; a
day may be a washout, a vacation; a machine may be a washout,
wrecked beyond repair; a pilot may be a washout, useless as a
pilot. It has a variety of meanings, and each one is obvious in
its connection. The term became familiar to American fliers with
the Royal Air Force.

ZOOM - To gain supernormal flying speed and then pull the machine
up into the air at high speed. The rush of wind will zo-o-om in
the ears of the pilot. It is a sport in the country to zoom on
farmers, on houses and barns, nosing directly for the object on
the ground and pulling up just in time to clear it with the