Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Visual Flight Rules. Visual Flight Rules are a set of regulations designed to be used in good weather situations. Flights under VFR are usually not controlled and pilots fly them at their own risk. If cases of bad weather pilots are required to fly using Instrument Flying Rules or IFR.
L, C, R. Runway numbers are determined by their heading. For example, if an airport has a runway 9, that runway is roughly at a heading of 90 degrees. If an airport has parallel runways, the runways would then be marked either 9L, 9C, or 9R. L for Left, C for Center and R for Right.
Foreign Object Debris. FOD stands for Foreign Object Debris. Airport workers are responsible for removing FOD from runways, taxiways and gate areas. FOD can be loose screws, nails, pieces of paper, branches or anything in the area that can be injested or blown around by an airplane's engine causing damage or injury.
Federal Flight Deck Officer. An FFDO is a Federal Flight Deck Officer. An FFDO is trained by the federal government to carry firearms on board a flight. This was implemented in 2003 after September 11, to help deter terrorists from entering the flight deck and attempting to take control of the plane.
Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards. ETOPS is known as Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards. Aircraft that display this rating are aircraft that have been approved to fly certain distances without requiring an alternate airport. For example, an ETOPS-120 rated plane can travel 120 minutes without requiring an alternate airport to be in its flight path. Trans-Oceanic aircraft must have this rating to be allowed to travel. The range is determined by engine design and aircraft range.
VHF Omnidirectional Range. A VOR, or VHF Omnidirectional Range, is a type of navigation system for aviators. A VOR transmits magnetic signal which help pilots to orientate themselves and aid in navigation.
Delta. Pilots, when communicating with air traffic controllers, or vise versa, will adhere to a phonetic alphabet system to make sure what is said is understood. For example, if a plane is registered as N123YZ a controller would refer to the plane as "November-1-2-3-Yankee-Zulu."
Instrument Landing System. An Instrument Landing System is an automated tool to help airplanes land during low visibility or high volume conditions. When an airport has ILS equipped runways (if the airplane is capable) the aircraft's autopilot will lock on to a pre-programmed glide slope for the runway.
International Air Transport Association. IATA is an international organization that helps regulate the airline industry around the world. They assign identifiers to airlines and airports to help simplify airline operations. They also help regulate inter-airline traffic rules and regulate a fair and balanced fare structure.