Aircraft Speak Glossary

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ADIZ or Air Defense Identification Zone

In Sugar Alpha, there’s a lot of pilot-speak. When I originally drafted the book, I wanted non-skydivers and non-aviators to also enjoy the story. However, without destroying the plot in defining terms, I had created a glossary of terms. The glossary didn’t make it in the final cut. So this post is for my non-aviators to illustrate some of the terms used in the book.

ADIZ is the area around the U.S. ’ eastern, southern, and western borders where aircraft must identify themselves and their position to Air Traffic Control prior to entering.

Cockpit with the LORAN mounted in the middle

Cockpit with the LORAN mounted in the middle

LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) is a terrestrial radio navigation system which enables ships and aircraft to determine their position and speed from low frequency radio signals transmitted by fixed land based radio beacons, using a receiver unit. This is what was used prior to the GPS (Global Position System).

GNC Aviation Map [Global Navigational Chart] – an aeronautical chart used for high altitude, high speed, extended long range flights that include towns, primary roads/railroads, and spot elevations to help navigate

GNC Map
GNC Map

Official Airline Guide [OAG] – a comprehensive commercial airline guide comprising airport codes, aircraft seating, and flight schedules

A sample OAG
A sample OAG


VOR [VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range]
– a ground based radio navigation aid that helps pilots determine their location

Signals for VORs are received from these antennas

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Although I grew up in aviation and understood most of these terms, I was only just finishing my private Pilot’s License while I was finishing Sugar Alpha. It was such a fascinating perspective on my dad’s escapades becoming a pilot!