Special Sub-Topic: U.S. Airport Acronyms II
|What is an SST?|
supersonic transport. The Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde was not the only SST to go into commercial service. Aeroflot operated some Tupolev TU-144's for a total of 102 flights before withdrawing them from service in 1978 due to engine problems and high operating costs. Boeing Aircraft of the US proposed their own SST, the model 2707, but it never went into production.
|Where would you go to find the FIS?|
Federal Inspection Station. The FIS is an area where international arriving passengers are cleared through Customs, Immigration and Agriculture. By its nature the FIS must be physically separated from the domestic part of a terminal by walls. Passengers arriving on international flights are not allowed into the public portion of the terminal until they and their luggage have been cleared.
|If you were told to bring a GPU to the aircraft what would you bring?|
ground power unit. The ground power unit provides battery power to an aircraft while it is on the ground with the engines and the auxiliary power unit off. (The auxiliary power unit, or APU, is a small engine onboard larger aircraft which can be operated to supply power for short layovers or if a GPU is not available.) With the GPU supplying power the radios, galley equipment, lighting and other electrical equipment can be left on while the aircraft is readied for another departure. The GPU can also supply power to start the engines. Some aircraft, like the Swearingen Metro, have the GPU plug in to the side of the engine nacelle. It is a lot of fun to pull the plug on a Metro after the engine has been started.
|What is an ILS?|
instrument landing system. The instrument landing system consists of: 1. localizer--this is a transmitter that sends a radio signal which can be picked up in an aircraft specially equipped for instrument flight rules (IFR) flight. The localizer provides lateral guidance--left and right of the runway. 2. glide slope transmitter--the glide slope signal provides elevation guidance--above or below the glide path to the runway. 3. up to 3 markers (outer, middle, inner) that signal the aircraft when it has passed over the marker on approach so the pilot knows how far he or she is from the runway. 4. approach lights which lead to the runway once the pilot has gained visual contact with the ground. The ILS aids a pilot who has an IFR rating and is in an IFR-equipped aircraft in landing in low clouds and/or visibility.
|The WHMP is part of the airport's Airport Certification Manual. What does WHMP stand for?|
wildlife hazard management plan. The Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Plan details how the airport operator will deal with wildlife on the airfield. The plan includes any type of wildlife that may be present on the field, including small birds, raptors, waterfowl, rodents, foxes, coyotes, deer, buffalo and any other bird or animal that could present a hazard to aircraft. Typical measures include poisoning, harassment and lethal methods as well as preventative measures such as denying a food or nesting source and maintaining the integrity of the perimeter fencing.
|You are in the terminal and you see a FIDS. What are you looking at?|
flight information display system. Arrival and departure information is maintained in the FIDS system. FIDS consists of a server, workstations and display screens. Any information about the day's flights, such as gate assignments, scheduled and estimated arrival and departure times, boarding status, etc., can be input by the airline and communicated to their passengers as well as the "meeters and greeters."
|Have you ever seen an RJ on or near an airport? If so (or even if not) what is an RJ?|
regional jet. Regional jets are boons to small airports and banes to large airports. Regional jets generally carry 40-90 passengers. Small airports can see an increase in frequency of service by an airline operating regional jets in place of mainline jets such as Boeings and Airbuses which seat 130+. The regional jet, being smaller and generally operated by a commuter line with lower personnel costs, is more economical to operate. Thus, the airline can offer more flights. It may even mean that airports that cannot support mainline service can keep their flights. However, a regional jet takes up the same amount of airspace as a mainline jet so larger airports, especially hubs, can get congested with the additional flights.
|We are looking at the Airport Layout Plan and you ask me what the abbreviation DTWL means. I say, "What do you think it means?" And you answer:|
dual tandem wheel loading. Pavement strengths are listed on the ALP, or Airport Layout Plan, for different configurations. SWL means single wheel loading, or the weight limit for an aircraft with a single wheel on each strut. DWL means dual wheel loading for an aircraft with two wheels on each strut. DTWL means dual tandem wheel loading for an aircraft with four wheels (two sets of two) on each strut. Most of the larger aircraft, like the 747 and Airbus 300, have dual tandem wheels.
|Airports that do not have 24-hour air traffic control usually have something called PCL. What is PCL?|
pilot controlled lighting. Pilot controlled lighting is set to the same frequency pilots would use to communicate with the control tower. By tuning the radio to the common traffic frequency and clicking the mike button 5 or 7 times, the airfield lights will come on. The lights then stay on a predetermined amount of time, usually fifteen minutes. If you misjudge your landing time you have to click the mike again to turn the lights on again. It can be very annoying to have all the airfield lights go out just before you touch down.
|ASOS is something a pilot has to call for. What is ASOS?|
automated surface observation system. The Automated Surface Observation System is, as the name implies, totally automated. The system takes current weather readings at the airport where it is installed. It then records those readings on a tape. Pilots can call the phone number for the ASOS to hear a recording of the current weather.
|Most airports have a business on the field that handles such things as flight instruction, charters, aircraft rental, hangaring, aircraft maintenance, fueling and servicing. What would this type of business be called?|
FBO. FBO stands for fixed base operator. There are over 5200 FBOs in the US.
|When an airport studies their O&D data, what are they studying?|
origination and destination passengers. O&D studies can tell an airport, and the air carriers that serve it, where passengers are going. This can help the air carriers determine where they should be flying and how often. It can also indicate to the airport what markets they should try attract service for. For example, if an airport has a high percentage of travellers going to leisure destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix and Hawaii, the airport should try to attract a low-fare carrier that, hopefully, can offer nonstop service to some of those places.
|So tell me, what do you think a PFC is?|
both porous friction course and passenger facility charge. A porous friction course is a special pavement mix used on some runways. The makeup allows water to runoff out to the edges of the pavement. This prevents hydroplaning where the wheels of an aircraft can "skim" along the top of a layer of water resulting in reduced braking and possible loss of control.
The passenger facility charge is a charge of up to $4.50 per enplaning or transferring passenger. The airline collects the charge and remits it to the airport. The airport must use that money for capital improvements. Generally, money for airport improvements come from the Federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) which is funded by aviation taxes and fees. The passenger facility charge is in addition to the AIP. Not all airports charge a PFC. It is up to the airport's discretion.
|Everything in aviation is covered by a FAR and everyone involved in aviation is familiar, or should be familiar, with at least one FAR. What does FAR stand for?|
Federal Aviation Regulation. The Federal Aviation Regulations cover everything you would expect--flight rules, pilot and mechanic licensing, pilot training, safety, airport certification, noise, and commercial aircraft operations. They cover more obscure things, too. FAR Part 101 covers "Moored Balloons, Kites, Unmanned Rockets and Unmanned Free Balloons." FAR Part 34 is about "Fuel Venting and Exhaust Emissions Requirements for Turbine Engine Powered Airplanes." And Part 417 is titled "Launch Safety." (There is no truth to the rumor that a Part 418 is being drafted with the working title "Lunch Safety.")
|What does UNICOM stand for?|
uniform communications (frequency). The UNICOM frequency is a common frequency used by small airports that do not have an air traffic control tower. These airports are also called "uncontrolled airports" which is a misnomer. Pilots using these airports provide the control by announcing their intentions over the UNICOM. Believe me, pilots do not enjoy bashing into each other in the air. A pilot strives to have an equal number of landings as takeoffs. The UNICOM frequencies are 122.8 MHz and 122.9 MHz and several airports in the same general area could be using the same frequency for UNICOM.
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