Say again? You’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of jargon used in aviation. Here’s a guide to some of the most common acronyms and terms you’ll come across during pilot training.
Agencies and Authorities
ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organisation
EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency
CASA – Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Australia)
CAA – Civil Aviation Authority (UK)
FAA – Federal Aviation Authority (USA)
Part-FCL are the EASA Flight Crew Licences.
The licences are:
LAPL(A) – Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (for restricted leisure flying in smaller single engine piston aircraft only)
PPL – Private Pilot License
CPL – Commercial Pilot Licence
IR – Instrument Rating
MEP – Multi-Engine Piston Rating
MEIR – Multi-Engine Instrument Rating
MPL – Multi Crew Pilot Licence
fATPL – ‘Frozen‘ Airline Transport Pilot Licence (a colloquial term for a CPL+MEP/IR + APS MCC)
ATPL – Airline Transport Pilot Licence
APS MCC – Airline Pilot Standard Multi Crew Cooperation Course
Licences are further classified by aircraft type, the main two being aeroplanes (A) and helicopters (H).
Other Training Courses
Rating – An additional qualification associated with a licence. E.g. The CPL gives the pilot the privileges of of being able to fly for money. The addition of an MEP allows the pilot to do it in a twin engine aircraft.
SEP – Single Engine Piston Rating
MEP – Multi Engine Piston Rating
IMC – Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating (allows a PPL holder to fly in IMC within the UK within certain minimums)
CRM – Crew Resource Management
Type Rating – the qualification undertaken by a fATPL holder in order to fly a particular aircraft type (eg. B737)
LST – Licence Skills Test (flight test at the end of your type rating)
Line Training – (Flying under supervision as the final part of type training)
Base training (take off and landings in the aircraft required for the issue of a type rating)
Line Check – (check flight conducted at the end of line training)
LPC – Licence Proficiency Check (annual check for the revalidation of your type rating)
OPC – Operator Proficiency Check (a 6 monthly check by the airline. In practice, very similar to an LPC)
UPRT – Upset Prevention and Recovery Training
ATO – Approved Training Organisation (formerly known as FTO)
CTKI – Chief Theoretical Knowledge Instructor
CFI – Chief Flying Instructor
TKI – Theoretical Knowledge Instructor
FI – Flight Instructor
Integrated pilot training – zero hours to fATPL with one ATO
Modular pilot training – Individual licences completed to fATPL, step by step at one or more ATOs.
Ab Initio – ‘from the beginning.’ (Usually refers to pilot training which takes a student from zero to qualified, or a person with no previous experience.)
MPL – Multi-pilot licence. (A professional pilot qualification designed for a specific airline and a specific aircraft type)
The regulating authority (ie. EASA in the UK, CASA in Australia) must approve all pilot training organisations (ATOs) and a student must be formally registered with one in order to train as a commercial pilot.
AME – Aeromedical Examiner
Class 1 Medical – Full medical (required for CPL, MPL and ATPL)
Class 2 Medical – Medical (required for PPL)
Medicals must be conducted by an approved AME; doctors with specialist aviation medicine training. They are certificated by the CAA to carry out aircrew medical examinations and to give aviation medicine advice, as necessary.
Terms you will hear during training
ATC – air traffic control
CRP 5 – a manual flight computer
IFR – Instrument Flight Rules
IMC – Instrument Meteorological Conditions
VFR – Visual Flight Rules
FTD – Flight Training Device
Ground School – theoretical knowledge training, also known as ATPL theory
FMC – Flight Management Computer
SOP – Standard Operating Procedures
IELTS – International English Language Training Standard
ICAO Level 4 – Minimum ICAO Standard for English Language proficiency for ATPL.