Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.
AAC -- Army Air Corps
AAF - Army Air Force
AAFFTD - Army Air Force Flying Training Detachment
Ack-Ack -- Anti-aircraft fire. (Shell bursts near flying aircraft designed to shoot it down).
AFB - (Army) Air Force Base
AF/DAS- Air Force Deputy Chief of Air Staff
AFFD - Air Forces Ferrying Division (formerly Air Corps Ferry Command)
Ailerons - Hinged and movable portions of the wings of an aircraft controlled by the stick or wheel.
Air Speed- The rate at which the airplane travels through the air.
Alert Room- Room where pilots await flight orders (usually for combat missions).
Altitude - Height of an object (such as an airplane) or land mass above sea level.
Allies--The nations who united against the Axis powers in World War II.
Apron - Parking area for aircraft on an air field.
Army Check Ride- A flight test given to each trainee at the end of each phase of training by an Army pilot to check flying proficiency. Also given when a trainee had received 3 'pink slips 'from her civilian instructor.
Army Physical - A complete physical examination by medically trained Army personnel....a requirement for entering WASP training.
AT - Advanced trainer-- single or twin engine. The AT 6 is an advanced trainer--shown in the photo.
Altimeter - An instrument in the cockpit of an airplane used to measure the altitude (height) of the airplane above sea level.
ATC - Air Transport Command, also Air Traffic Control
ATC/FD - Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division.
Auxiliary Field- A small field used for practice flights located near the main field.
Avenger Field - Air base near Sweetwater, Texas used for primary, basic and advanced flight training of the WASP during WWII -- the first and only all female pilot training base in the history of America.
Aviator--A person who flies airplanes
B -Designation for bomber planes. For example, B-24, B-25, B-26 are all bombers
B-4 Bag -- Canvas luggage carried by pilots in WWII that converts to a hanger-type bag.
Bank - The degree to which the wing of the aircraft is lowered to the right or left to cause the aircraft to turn in that direction.
Barnstorming - Flying around the country, stopping at small airfields to present air shows or to give passengers rides.
Barracks - Buildings used for housing of military personnel on a military base.
Base Leg - Part of a flight's landing pattern; a short leg at right angles to, and downwind from, the landing strip. The base leg follows the downwind leg and precedes the final approach to landing.
Baymates - WASP trainees who shared the same room and latrine.
Bays-- Rooms within the barracks where WASP were housed at Avenger Field. Each bay housed six women trainees. Between 2 bays was a common bathroom (latrine).
Beam - A constant directional radio signal transmitted for the guidance of pilots.
BG - Brigadier General. One star.
Bi-plane - An early type of airplane with double wings, one above the other.
Biscuit Gun - A large flashlight type device used by an operator in the control tower to signal pilots flying in small training airplanes without 2-way radios. Signals indicated when it was clear to land or take off. A green light signaled OK, while a red light meant NOT OK. These 'guns' were also used on US Navy vessels to send Morse Code messages when the ships were under 'radio silence'.
Blackout - Unconscious state resulting from blood draining from the head to larger muscle groups in the lower body--caused by excessive G (gravity) forces experienced during some aerobatic maneuvers and excessive speeds.
Blackout (2) Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, there were fears of German bombing attacks, as well as the more realistic threat of German U-boats operating in the Atlantic. Along the coastlines, blackouts, and dim-outs went into effect along a fifteen-mile strip on the Eastern Seaboard. This required that the lights of all houses and neighborhoods along the shores be put out at specified times (curfews).
Bomb Bay - A compartment on the underside of the fuselage of an airplane used for storing bombs.
Bomber- An airplane made for dropping bombs in warfare. BOQ -Bachelor Officer Quarters
BT- Basic trainer aircraft flown in the instrument phase of military flight instruction during World War II.
Buzzing - Flying aircraft fast, close to the ground, or close to any solid object (control tower, house, cow). This is a dangerous and illegal practice
Buddy ride - 2 pilots, one practicing instrument flying under the hood with the other pilot or buddy serving as safety pilot--looking for other aircraft.
CAAF- Chaplain, Army Air Forces
CAA -Civil Aeronautics Authority (Federal)
C/AC- Chief, Army Air Corps
Caterpillar Club- Persons who have successfully bailed out of an airplane while in the air.
Calling in--Reporting to radio stations 'on route' as you fly near by. You check your position, traffic, and weather.
Calisthenics- Systematic physical exercises without apparatus (weights or machines). Required of WASP trainees as organized 'physical training.' - Systematic physical exercises without apparatus (weights or machines).
CAP- Civil Air Patrol. An organization formed in 1941 to help America during World War II. The CAP today is an all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force.
Cattle Truck/Wagon - An oversized closed-in bedded truck with benches down the sides of the truck bed. It was used, principally, to transport WASPs from the base to auxiliary fields. An oversized closed-in bedded truck with benches down the sides of the truck bed. It was used, principally, to transport WASPs from the base to auxiliary fields.
Ceiling- Vertical distance from the ground to cloud cover.
CFR- Contact flight rules requiring visual reference to landmarks with cloud ceiling and horizontal visibility within set limits.
CG - Commanding General.
Chandelle- - An abrupt climbing turn of an airplane in which the momentum of the plane is used to attain a higher rate of climb. In this maneuver, the plane starts with a dive, gains speed, climbs, and turns to end in level flight facing 180 degrees in the opposite direction. This is considered an 'advanced' maneuver.
Check list-- Pertinent data checked before getting your plane off the ground...or landing safely. see B-26 checklist)
Check point - Predetermined object on the ground along your flight route that's used to check the progress of your flight--if you can find it.
Chocks -Wooden blocks used to place under the front wheels of an airplane, after parking, to keep it in place.
CIGFTPR - Before taking off in an AT-6, pilots went through this check list:
Civilian--A person who is not a member of the Armed Forces.
Clear - A warning yelled out by the pilot to alert anyone who might be standing in the vicinity of the airplane's propellers that she is about to start the engine.
C.O.- Commanding Officer
Cockpit--The place inside the fuselage of a plane where the pilot sits.
Combat--To fight or struggle. A combat pilot is one who uses his/her plane tonight the enemy.-
Commercial License - A federally issued certificate allowing a pilot to carry passengers for hire, or to haul freight.
Cone of Silence--The intersection of four beams (the airspace directly above a beacon) where no signal is heard. Usually a beacon is located near an airport from which point a pilot can locate her position.
Contact- A warning from the pilot that the aircraft engine is being engaged.
Control tower - see tower.
CPT Program - Civilian Pilot Training Program--a federal program to assist individuals in learning to fly. During WWII, colleges and universities had CPT classes, some of which were allowed to admit ONE female for every 10 males.
Crew - Two or more people assigned to fly as a team in the same aircraft at the same time. Cross Controls -Rather than coordinating controls as informal flying, a pilot can use opposing control surfaces to achieve a particular effect, such as a skid or a slip, or to correct for a crosswind landing.
CS- Chief of Staff.
DC - - Deputy Chief.
DC/ASDC/AS - Deputy Chief/Air Staff. DC/AS -
Dead Stick Landing -- Landing made without engine or power.
Demerit -Given when the rules were broken. When accumulated, trainee would be disciplined -- sometimes restricted to the base.
Dog Tag - Metal identification tag worn around the neck by members of the military. Information included name, rank, serial number and blood type.
Downwind Leg --Part of the airport traffic pattern. This first leg of the flight path parallels the runway opposite to the direction of landing.
Dual - Two sets of controls in an aircraft that enable two people to do two different things at the same time.
D/WP - Director/Women Pilots
Drone - A "pilotless" aircraft controlled by radio signals. Drone - A pilotless aircraft controlled by radio signals.
Elevators - Hinged surfaces on the portion of the aircraft tail assembly extending left and right from the fuselage or body of the plane. These are activated by moving the control stick to change the flight path from horizontal to climb or descend.
E.O.-- Establishment Officer (for the WASP), the officer who does, among other things, the bed check and hands out demerits.
E-ride - Elimination ride. The last ride before washing out. Last chance. Exec. - Executive officer.
FAA -Federal Aviation Authority
FC - Ferry Command.
FD/AAF - - Ferrying Division/Army Air Forces.
Fence Hopping- Flying the plane so close to the ground that you must hop over any fences in your way--a dangerous and unauthorized maneuver.
Ferrying - Flying an airplane from it's point of origin and delivering it to its destination.
Ferry Pilot - A person who flies an airplane from it's point of origin to a point of destination and leaves it there. For example: WASP flew planes from factories, where they were assembled, to points of embarkation, where they were put on ships for overseas combat areas or flown overseas by male pilots. They also ferried planes to US air bases, where they were used for training.
FG - Ferrying group. A group of ferry personnel assigned to the same base.Final Approach--Last (third) leg of the flight pattern, where the pilot descends from pattern altitude to the runway, normally into the wind.
Flaps - Control surface at the edge of the wings, operated by a separate handle or other manually activated device, such as an electric switch, which, when lowered, causes increased lift (and drag), allowing the aircraft to fly more slowly. Flaps are used most commonly to slow down the plane for landing.
Flight Line- Designated area where the planes are dispatched.
Fly-by - Pilot makes a low slow pass by the control tower so that personnel in the tower can make a visual check of any damage to the airplane or to see if the landing gear is fully extended in preparation for a landing (if there is a question about it).
Ford Trimotor- A unique old-time aircraft with three propeller-driven engines.
Formation flying -- When 2 or more aircraft fly in close proximity to each other in a planned pattern of flight.
Fuselage- The body of an airplane.
FTC - Flying Training Command.
GEAR - Wheels and struts of an aircraft on which the aircraft lands. (On small airplanes, theseare always in a fixed position. On larger planes, these are retractable after take off and then lowered again for landing.)
Goggles - Oversized, wrap-around glasses, commonly used when flying open-cockpit aircraft to protect the pilot's eyes. (Photo is of goggles and helmet).
Grasshopper Pilots - Pilots of small aircraft during World War II who landed and took off from grass fields--hence,grasshoppers. (Aircraft smaller than training planes, eg: L1, L5) Grasshoppers. (Aircraft smaller than training planes, eg:L1, L5)
Gosports -Communication system with a 'cone ' for the instructor to talk into and a headset for the trainee to listen.
Green flag -One of 3 flags which would signal trainees, from a flag pole near the flight line, about flying conditions. Green flag meant flying open to all.
Grounded -- No flying...all planes have to stay 'on the ground'.
Ground Loops- A high-speed skidding turn of an aircraft on the ground after landing, usually caused by loss of control in windy conditions.
Ground School- For WASP trainees, over 300 hours of required academic college course work in different relevant subjects, including mathematics, physics, maps and charts, navigation, principles of flight, engines and propellers, weather, code, instrument flying and communications. In addition, trainees completed 137 hours in military training, 24 in advanced aero equipment, and 103 in PE and first aid.
GUMP - Pilot check list for the AT 6 just before landing:
Helmet - A fitted cap-like covering for the head (with a built in chin strap) used by pilots to protect their heads when flying in open cockpit aircraft . For cold weather, usually made of leather, some with fleece lining. For warmer weather, made of cloth.
"Hit The Silk" - Pull the ripcord of your parachute and cross your fingers! Oh, first you jump out of the plane!
Horizontal Stabilizer - A fixed part of the tail section which helps stabilize the vertical axis, or pitch, of the plane. Horizontal Stabilizer -
H.P. - A 'hot pilot'...not necessarily a good pilot...just one who likes to go too fast, too high or too far!
HQ- Headquarters HF- High frequency (radio transmission)
I.D. - Identification card. IFR- Instrument Flight Rules - applies to flying without visual reference to the ground (you can't see, so you must fly by using your instruments).
ILS- Instrument landing system Instrument Conditions - When there is no visible horizon, or when the ceiling is lower than allowable for visual flying.
Instrument Rating- A federal rating allowing a pilot to fly legally in instrument weather conditions.
Joy Stick- A metal or wood rod connected to the aileron controls of the airplane, used by the pilot to control the flight path of the aircraft. (Replaced by the wheel in larger airplanes)
Latrine- Military name for a bathroom, usually without a bathtub. Could contain more than one shower and commode.
Lazy Eight- Maneuver requiring skillful coordination in which the airplane's nose patterns a figure eight sideways to the horizon.
Light Line - The line of lights on highways that is easily seen by pilots flying at night.
Link Trainer- A training device (now known as a "simulator") with actual aircraft instruments and controls that allow a pilot to practice instrument flying without leaving the ground.
Log Book- Record of pilot's flight time.
Meat Wagon - Ambulance.
Mess Hall - A designated building/room on a military base where meals are available to the personnel (like a military cafeteria).
Meteorology - A study of the weather and one of the requirements in ground school for WASP trainees.
Mixture Control - A control in the cockpit that allows the pilot to adjust the mixture of fuel and air to the engine.
Morse Code- A method of communications by using a signal sending machine to tap out coded messages over the air waves. Signals were sentry tapping the 'key' (sounder) down onto the contact, creating an electronic sound...a quick tap creates "dits" or short key closures and a longer tap creates "dash" or longer key closures. Patterns of dits and dash made up a Morse Code alphabet, from which messages would be spelled out.Mothballed- A term used for old airplanes being put away for possible later use or sale.
Navigation --The science of figuring out the course or direction an airplane should take to get from place to place. (Like map reading in the air). This is done by using the speed of the airplane and the speed and direction of the wind to determine what the compass heading of the aircraft must be.
NCAAB - New Castle Army Air Base NCAAB- New Castle Army Air Base
Ninety-Nines- A very early organization of women pilots founded November 2, 1929 by Amelia Earhart and ninety-eight other women pilots at Curtis Field, Valley Stream, Long Island. This prestigious organization is still in operation today, and many WASP belong to it.
O.D.- Officer of the Day On the beam -Flying in the center of a radio beam.Over the top - Above the clouds.
P - Designation for pursuit or fighter planes, such as P-51
Pattern - The three-sided pattern usually flown as an approach to landing at an airport: downwind leg; base leg; and final approach.
PCS- Permanent change of station. When you are permanently transferred from one base to another base, as opposed to TDY.
Per Diem - A designated amount of money paid per day when a person is on official duty away from their home base. This amount for the WASP was less than that of the male pilots.
PIF- Pilots' Information File - the pilot's Bible.
Pink Slip - A warning issued by the instructor to the trainee that she did not pass her flight lesson. Three pink slips in one phase of training required the student to have an Army Check ride. If she failed that, she would automatically wash out.
Pitch - Up-and-down motion of the nose of the airplane over its lateral axis.
Pop-ups - Small sticks on the leading edge of the wings in some pursuit aircraft that showed the pilot the flap position.
Private License - A federal license given a pilot who has demonstrated sufficient skill to be allowed to carry passengers, but not for hire.
Prop Control - A control used in aircraft with variable-pitch propellers that regulates the pitch of the propeller blade.
Prop Wash - A wind caused by the spinning propeller of a plane, sometimes strong enough to be hazardous to aircraft taxiing or landing behind.
PX- Post exchange--a store on an Army or Air Force base with a little bit of everything to purchase.
R & R- Rest and Recreation leave.Radio Range-Radio aid to navigation--a system of signals and beams which give the definite location of the plane.Ragwing - An airplane with wings covered with fabric instead of metal.
Rationing -- Rationing began in the US in 1942 in order to preserve resources, such as gas, food and rubber. Americans were given ration tickets to control the amount of gasoline, meat, sugar, butter and even shoes.
Ready room- Lounge where pilots wait until they are cleared to fly
Red Flag- All flying is suspended. When the red flag was flown, WASP trainees would know that all flying during the time the flag was flying was suspended.
Redout- A state of semi-consciousness to unconsciousness caused by excessive negative "G" (gravity) forces, experienced in some aerobatic maneuvers, sending too much blood to the head.
Revile- Morning wake-up call. WASP trainee 'bugler' would blow a bugle to signal, 'time to get up'.
Rip Cord - A metal ringed handle located on a parachute. When pulled, the parachute will open.
Rolls - An aerobatic maneuver where the airplane rolls over and over around its longitudinal axis.RON- Remain overnight.
Round Robin- A flight that takes an aircraft to several different landing fields, but ends up at the same place it originated.
Rudder- Movable hinged portion of the tail, connected by cables to the foot pedals moved by the pilots' feet. This alters the flight path of the aircraft to the left or right.
SAT -School of Applied Tactics, Orlando, Florida. Military officer training attended by some WASP.
Short Snorter -A roll of paper money, scotch taped end to end and rolled up. Pilots collected the bills from countries where they were stationed, had them autographed and saved them as their 'short snorter'.
Slow Roll - A maneuver in which the aircraft is rolled about its longitudinal axis 360 degrees and returning to level flight in a relatively slow and coordinated manner.
Sleeve (or target sleeve) - A tubular cloth target towed by an airplane for use in air-to-air and ground anti-aircraft gunnery practice. This sleeve was stored inside the plane until it was slowly released by a cable and towed (pulled) behind the plane. Gunners in other aircraft, or on the ground, would shoot color-coded 'live' ammunition at this cloth sleeve. Once on the ground, the sleeve would be checked for how many hits of which color...to measure the accuracy of the gunners.
Snap Roll - An abrupt rolling maneuver which is accomplished by pulling back the stick and rapidly applying full rudder in the direction of the desired roll. The result is a rapid horizontal spin called a snap roll. Faster, much faster than a slow roll. So fast, it 'snaps'.
SNAFU- Situation normal, all fouled up.
Solo -Only one person flying the plane...a 'solo flight'
Spin- A maneuver where the aircraft descends vertically, spinning around the vertical axis of descent. If intentional, achieved by stalling the aircraft with stick full back and applying full rudder in the direction of the spin.
Speed of Sound--About 1,116 feet per second.
Spotter - A person who can identify aircraft flying overhead by the sound of the engine or shape of the plane.
Stacking- Control tower directs planes to fly at different altitudes in the same general area.
Stall - A condition of flight where the angle of attack exceeds the wings' capability to provide lift, thereby causing the nose to drop and the plane to lose flying speed--a function of nose attitude and airspeed, which is also used in landing the plane.
Stick- A control device usually found in single-engine aircraft, which operates the ailerons and the elevators. (also see joy stick).
St. Elmo's Fire - A flaming phenomenon sometimes seen in stormy weather at prominent points on an airplane, a ship, or on land, that is in the nature of a brush discharge of electricity.
Student Pilot License - A federal license allowing a pilot to fly alone, but not to carry passengers.
Taylorcraft - Another brand of old-time, high-winged, fabric aircraft similar to the Piper Cub and the Aeronca, built by the Taylorcraft Company in Alliance, Ohio.
Taxi- Movement of the aircraft from its parked position to another location--example: position for take-off. This movement consists of zig-zag maneuvers to observe the area directly in front of the aircraft.
TDY - Temporary duty assignment at a base other than home base.
Throttle - A handle used to control the amount of gasoline being supplied to the engine.
Tower - A tall building (usually) where the 'aircraft controllers' speak into radios and direct the 'traffic' of airplane traffic.
Tracking- A maneuver in which a plane flies past ground based gunners to help them learn how to adjust their gun position, for the plane's speed and direction, to be on target.
Training base- Air base created to 'train' pilots to fly. Army Air Corps cadets were usually trained at 3 different bases: one for primary, one for basic, and one for advanced. WASP were the only pilots who took all their training at the same base. See Avenger Field.
Transition-Instructing a pilot to fly an aircraft in which she lacks experience. Any time WASP trainees changed to a different aircraft, they were considered 'in transition' until they mastered flying the new aircraft.
Tricycle Landing Gear - 1 wheel under the nose (nose wheel) and 2 wheels under the wings --all three used in landing the plane. TT - Target towing
Turbans- WASP trainees wore these to keep their hair 'up'. Also called 'Urban's Turbans' after an Avenger Field Base Commander.
Turret- A gunners' fixed or moveable enclosure in an airplane.
TWX- Telegram...faster than the US mail, slower than a telephone call, but this means of communication was used during WWII. Telegrams were usually sent for special reasons; good news or bad news. Messages were sent over the phone lines by Morse Code and decoded once they arrived at their location. The message was then typed onto a yellow sheet and delivered by messengers to the recipient's location.
UHF - Ultra high frequency.
Under The Hood - Simulated instrument conditions. The pilot flies the plane with a hood over her cockpit, with another pilot occupying the other cockpit as an observer.
Vertical Stabilizer The vertical section of the tail of an airplane to which the rudder is attached.
VFR-Visual Flight Rules
VHF-Very High Frequency
VOR- Very high frequency omni directional radio range
WAAC- Women's Auxiliary Army Corps
WAC -- Women's Army Corps
WAFS-- Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Service
Washed out-No longer part of the flying program. For the WASP, this meant they had to leave training and pay their way back home. Of the 1,830 trainees who were accepted into the training program, only 1,074 graduated. Not all washed out. Some resigned for personal or medical reasons, and 11 were killed during training.
WASP - Women Airforce Service Pilots.
WAVES - Women's Appointed Volunteer Emergency Service and women who served in the Navy.
WFTD- Women's Flying Training Detachment.
WFTP- Women's Flying Training Program.
Wind Sock - A cloth 'flag' near the runway that pilots use to check the direction of the wind.
Wind Tee A large movable structure on the ground that indicates wind direction. Also called a tetrahedron, and often shaped in the form of an airplane.
Wishing Well - At Avenger Field, a large shallow round stone 'well' where pilots were tossed after their first solo flight, and where they threw coins while making a wish. It's still there!
XC- Cross country flight
Yaw- An airplane's motion from side to side around its vertical axis. Yellow Flag -Flown at Avenger to indicate dual flying only--you can only fly with an instructor.
Zoot suit- Really oversized flight suits worn by WASP... designed for the male pilots. The only sizes, according to one very reliable WASP, were big, really big and way too big.
318th AAFFTD -- Designation for Army Air Force Flying Training Detachment at Avenger Field
43-1 through 44-10, Class numbers of WASP trainees. The first number is the year, the second number designates the order during the year that the class graduated.