What Effects The Cost Of Flying?

What Effects the Cost of Flying?

An inside view of the costs and obstacles airlines have operating aircraft around the world every day

What effects the cost of flying?

Most airlines now assess their cost base by using CASK – Cost per available seat kilometre. As most airlines calculate their costs this way it is easy to see how an airline compares with cost control to their competitors, provided that information is available.

Over the last fifteen years significant emphasis has been placed on airline cost control as low-cost carrier have emerged as some of the world’s largest airlines.

Even the large flag / legacy carriers such as Lufthansa and KLM have been trying to reduce their costs in recent years to boost profitability and a return to their shareholders which therefore attracts further investors. This supports the airline  to raise further capital and invest in new aircraft to compete with the cash rich Middle Eastern carriers.


One of the largest costs for an airline is its staff. The largest employee groups include pilots and Cabin Crew. Other departments include HR, IT, call centre, marketing, legal, commercial, management, operations, cargo, handling, admin and engineering just to name a few.

Over the last 15 years, it has become common practice to sub-contract out a significant amount of work to reduce staffing costs. As a result, the airline might be more flexible and adaptable although quality might be compromised. Many airlines now employ third party companies to staff their front of house including check in and boarding gate staff and their ramp operations including baggage handlers and pushback crews.


In terms of actual operating costs the biggest variable is the fuel price. This is directly related to the price of crude oil. To attempt to smooth out fluctuations in the price of fuel most large airlines fuel hedge. This involves buying fuel in advance and is a little bit like playing the stock market in that the price could go up or down after you’ve agreed the initial purchase price. Airlines will have specific staff to do this or will sub-contract the work to an organisation that specialises in fuel hedging.

While the fuel price is low airlines are much more likely to hold onto older, less efficient aircraft as they will be cheap to operate. The airline would either own these older aircraft or the leasing costs would be low due to lack of demand for the aircraft as it is more mature. The most efficient long haul aircraft will be the B787 and the A350, these aircraft are made of lighter materials and have huge bypass efficient turbofan engines and therefore burn less fuel than comparable aircraft.

The global economy can have a significant impact on costs, whilst global recessions and fears of terrorism can reduce revenue as passengers may fly less we are only discussing costs in this article.

Most airlines buy their fuel in US dollars, so they are also dependent on exchange rates. For example the recent Brexit vote in the U.K. Saw a sharp fall in the U.K. Pound against the US dollar. Overnight this increased the cost of fuel for U.K. airlines and is something they have no control over.


After fuel, the next biggest cost, which an airline has little control over, is operational disruption. This can be due to bad weather, industrial action or technical failures. If an airline cancels or significantly delays a service then the airline must still look after the welfare of their customers including providing hotel accommodation where required.

Sometimes an airline may divert to a different airport for a number of reasons including technical, weather or medical. If the crew do not have enough available flying hours remaining then the passengers and crew will need to stay over.

These costs are massive as not only will you have the hotel costs and on a long haul service you could have over 350 passengers and crew, the bookings will be at short notice and could be up to £100 per person. Meals and drinks would also need to be provided. There would be handling fees incurred at the diversion airport to provide steps, baggage on load and offload, fuel, boarding and check-in, cleaning and catering.

However, on top of all these costs you have the knock on effect, the return flight would be delayed meaning those passengers would more than likely require hotel accommodation, food and drink. On top of all of this EU regulations now stipulate compensation must be paid to passengers if flights are cancelled or heavily delayed.


Airlines also have to pay landing and parking fees. These not only cover the cost of airports providing runways and ATC but also cover the costs of airport services such as immigration and customs facilities. Airlines have little control over these fees as the only control they have is threatening to pull out of the airport if the airport tries to increase charges.


Pilots can save airlines a lot of money. They can save fuel by not loading extra fuel when it is not required and flying the aircraft as efficiently as possible which takes planning, airmanship and skill. They can also taxi in and out with reduced engines operating.

Pilots can also save their airline a lot of money by making sound commercial decisions. Naturally a Captain’s role is to make every decision based on the safest course of action, however there may be different options that are just as safe but can have varying impacts on the airline in terms of cost. For example, it could be a decision to divert to two different airports, one may have much higher operating costs or more expensive fuel and hotels. Yet it may be just as safe to divert to another airport that has lower costs and more infrastructure.

Aircraft & Engineering

The purchase and upkeep costs of multi-million pound aircraft are very significant. Many airlines lease their aircraft rather than own them.

In summary unlike most businesses airlines cannot control many of their costs so the costs they do have control over they will try to be extremely proactive in controlling!

Why do Planes Crash?

Why Do Planes Crash?

What phase of flight is the most dangerous?

Why Do Planes Crash?

Aircraft never crash because of one single issue. It’s almost always a combination of factors that lead to an accident. Whilst flying is extremely safe, the typical reasons as to why planes crash include pilot error, technical failures, bad weather, terrorism, and pilot fatigue.

There is never one single cause attributed to pilot an aircraft crash. For example, if the aircraft suffers a serious technical problem (but one that shouldn’t result in the loss of an aircraft) and its subsequently mishandled by the pilots resulting in a crash, does that count as pilot error or mechanical breakdown? The mechanical breakdown on it’s own shouldn’t have meant the plane crashed, but could have been handled correctly by the pilots. Therefore, both are causal factors.

As a result, the statistics made available for the causes of aircraft crashes are not always clear. It is however widely accepted that the following statistics are a reasonable representation of the primary reason for plane crashes:

  • 55% Pilot Error
  • 17% Aircraft Mechanical Error
  • 13% Weather
  • 8% Sabotage
  • 7% Other (ATC, Ground Handling, Unknown)

Examples of Pilot Error include “Loss of Control in Flight” and “CFIT” (Controlled Flight Into Terrain).

Swiss Cheese Model

Aircraft accidents never occur due to one specific reason, there are always a multitude of factors which combine and result in an aircraft incident or accident.

An example might be pilot fatigue, coupled with bad weather and a technical problem. If any one of these single factors were not present, the crash wouldn’t have happened. In the industry, this is called the “Swiss Cheese Model” based on academic theory by James Reason.

If you imagine lots of different slices of Swiss Cheese, from different blocks of cheese, all lined up next to each other, the chances are that you won’t be able to see all the way through one of the holes to the end, as the holes will all be in different places.

Each slice of cheese represents an individual factor such as fatigue, poor weather or poor standard of training. On the rare occasion that all the holes line up together, an accident can occur.


What is the most dangerous phase of flight?

Statistically, the most dangerous phase of flight, or the part of a flight where an accident is most likely to occur is landing. Boeing released the following statistics for the worldwide Commercial Jet Fleet between 2005 – 2014.

Percentages of fatal accidents based on phase of flight:

13% Take-off
8% Climb
27% Cruise
17% Decent Initial Approach
38% Final Approach / Landing

If you found this page interesting, check out our article on what could cause a total engine failure on a passenger jet.

Opening Window Blinds for Take-off & Landing

Why are Passengers Asked to Raise the Aircraft Window Blinds for Take-off and Landing?

Why do Passengers Have to Raise the Window Blinds for Take-off and Landing?

The aircraft’s window blinds must be raised for take-off and landing to allow both the Cabin Crew and passengers to assess where any danger might be (like a fire) if an aircraft evacuation is required. This might occur in an emergency during take-off or landing, which is statistically the most dangerous phase of flight. It allows the Cabin Crew to identify which emergency exits are suitable to evacuate from should this be required.

By having the window blinds open, it also raises the passengers situational awareness. For example, if you as a passenger have seen there is a fire on the right side of the aircraft, you will seek to evacuate the aircraft to the left-hand side where possible.

Aircraft Evacuation

This is particularly important if the Cabin Crew have become incapacitated, and you are trying to evacuate the aircraft without assistance. It helps increase your overall “situational awareness” and thus enhances your chances of survival should the worst happen. Always make sure you have your shoes on for take-off and landing – being barefooted could seriously hamper your ability to evacuate the aircraft quickly. You should however, always remove high heel shoes before going down an evacuation slide, so you don’t accidentally tear and deflate it.

Aviation Abbreviations

Aviation Acronyms and Abbreviations

Specifically written with Pilots in mind…

The world of aviation abbreviations and acronyms is huge. More and more acronyms keep arriving and it will take an entire career to have heard and used them all! If you’ve got one in mind that you can’t find, give us at FlightDeckFriend.com an email and we’ll get it added.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


AA – Acceleration Altitude

A/A – Air to Air

AA – Anti Aircraft

AA – American Airlines

AAIB – Air Accident Investigation Branch

AAL – Above Aerodrome Level

ALPHA – Angle of Attack

AB – Auto Brake

ABP – Able Bodied Passengers

AC – Alternating Current

A/C – Aircraft

ACARS – Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System

ACN – Aircraft Classification Number

ACP – Auto Control Panel

AD – Airworthiness Directive

ADC – Air Data Computer

ADF – Automatic Direction Finder

ADI – Attitude Director Indicator

ADU – Air Data Unit

AFE – Above Field Elevation

AGL – Above Ground Level

AH – Artificial Horizon

AI – Altitude Indication

AIP – Aeronautical Information Publication

ALS – Approach Lighting System

ALT – Altitude

AMSL – Above Mean Sea Level

ANC – Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

AoA – Angle of Attack

AOC – Air Operators Certificate

AOG – Aircraft on Ground (due to a technical defect)

AOM – Airport Operating Minima

AP – Auto Pilot

AP – Aeroplane

APFDS – Auto Pilot Flight Director System

APP – Approach

APS – Airline Pilot Standard (MCC Course)

APT – Airport

APU – Auxiliary Power Unit

ANC – Aviate Navigate Communicate

ANP – Actual Navigation Performance

AR – Aspect Ratio

AR – Authorisation Required (RNAV Approaches)

ARP – Aerodrome Reference Point

ASDA – Accelerate Stop Distance Available

ASI – Airspeed Indicator

ASL – Above Sea Level

ASR – Airport Surveillance Radar

ASR – Air Safety Report

AT – Auto Throttle

ATA – Air Transport Association

ATC – Air Traffic Control

ATC – Air Training Corps

ATIS – Automatic Terminal Information Service

ATM – Air Traffic Management

ATP – Airline Transport Pilot

ATS – Air Traffic Service

ATPL – Air Transport Pilots Licence

ATZ – Air Traffic Zone


BA – Braking Action

BA – British Airways

BAA – British Airport Authority

BAA – Baltic Aviation Academy

BACF – British Airways Cityflyer

BALPA – British Airline Pilots Association

BARO – Barometric

BCS – Back Course (ILS)

BPR – By-Pass Ratio

BRK – Brookfield

BST – British Summer Time

BT – Backtrack

BTB – Back to Back


CA – Critical Area (ILS)

CAA – Civil Aviation Authority

CAE – A flight training organisation (OAA)

CAS – Calibrated Air Speed

CAT – Category (ILS)

CAT – Clear Air Turbulence

CAVOK – Ceiling and Visibility OK

CB – Circuit Breaker

CB – Cumulonimbus

CBT – Computer Based Training

CC – Cabin Crew

CC – Crew Control

CC – Company Council (BALPA Related)

CDA – Continuous Descent Approach

CDFA – Continuous Descent Final Approach

CDI – Course Deviation Indicator

CDU – Control Display Unit

CFI – Chief Flying Instructor

CFIT – Controlled Flight into Terrain

CGI – Chief Ground Instructor

CL – Center Line

CLB – Climb

CMD – Command

CMV – Converted Meteorological Visibility

COBT – Calculated Off Block Time

CoG – Centre of Gravity

CON – Contingency Fuel

CON – Max Continuos Thrust

CP – Chief Pilot / Cadet Program / Cadet Pilot

CP – Critical Point

CPDLC – Controller Pilot Data Link Communications

CPL – Commercial Pilots Licence

CPT – Captain

CRM – Crew Resource Management

CRMI – Crew Resource Management Instructor

CRZ – Cruise

CSM – Cabin Service Manager

CSS – Cabin Service Supervisor

CTC – British Integrated Flight Training Organisation

CTC – Chief Training Captain

CTOT – Calculated Take Off Time

CTR – Control Zone

CTZ – Control Zone

CVR – Cockpit Voice Recorder

CWS – Control Wheel Steering

CX – Checks


DA – Decision Altitude

DALR – Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate

DC – Direct Current

DDG – Dispatch Deviation Guide

DEC – Direct Entry Captain

DER – Departure End (of the) Runway

DG – Dangerous Goods

DH – Decision Height

DI – Direction Indicator

DIV – Diversion

DLC – Data Link Clearance

DLR – Aptitude Testing Used by Lufthansa

DME – Distance Measuring Equipment

DNF – Did Not Fly

DODAR – Diagnose/Options/Decide/Assign/Review

DOC – Designated Operating Coverage

DOW – Dry Operating Weight


EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency

EAT – Estimated Approach Time

ECL – Electronic Checklist

EET – Estimated Elapsed Time

EFB – Electronic Flight Bag

EFIS – Electronic Flight Information System

EGT – Exhaust Gas Temperature

EGPWS – Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System

EHSI – Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator

ELT – Emergency Locator Transmitter

ELW – Estimated Landing Weight

EMB – Embraer

EMR – Emergency

EPR – Engine Pressure Ratio

ET – Elapsed Time

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival

ETOPS – Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards

ETOW – Estimated Take Off Weight

ETP – Emergency Turn Procedure

EZFW – Estimated Zero Fuel Weight

EZY – easyJet (ICAO Code)


FA – Flight Attendant

FATPL – Frozen Air Transport Pilots Licence

FAA – Federal Aviation Administration

FADEC – Full Authority Digital Engine Control

FAF – Final Approach Fix

FAP – Final Approach Point

FAR – Fedral Aviation Regulation

FAT – Final Approach Track

FBS – Fixed Based Simulator

FBT – Fixed Based Trainer

FBW – Fly By Wire

FCL – Flight Crew Licensing

FCOM – Flight Crew Operations Manual

FCTM – Flight Crew Training Manual

FD – Flight Director

FDR – Flight Data Recorder

FE – Flight Engineer

FF – Fuel Flow

FFS – Full Flight Simulator

FI – Flight Instructor

FIR – Flight Information Region

FIS – Flight Information Service

FLCH – Flight Level Change

FMA – Flight Mode Announciation

FMC – Flight Management Computer

FMS – Flight Management System

FNPT – Flight & Navigation Procedures Trainer

FO – First Officer

FOM – Fuel of Merit

FOD – Foreign Object Damage

FPA – Flight Path Angle

FPL – Filed Flight Plan

FPM – Feet Per Minute

FPP – Future Flyer Programme

FPT – Flat Panel Trainer

FPV – Flight Path Vector

FREQ – Frequency

FT – Flight Training

FTE – Flight Training Europe, Jerez

FTL – Flight Time Limitations

FTO – Flight Training Organisation


G – G-force

GA – General Aviation

G/A – Go Around

GAPAN – The Guild of Air Pilots & Air Navigators

GC – Great Circle

GE – General Electric

GENDEC – General Decleration

GH – General Handling

GI – Ground Instructor

GLONASS – Global Orbiting Navigation System

GND – Ground

GNSS – Global Navigation Satellite System

GP – Glide Path

GP – Guidance Panel

GPA – Glide Path Angle

GPS – Global Positioning System

GPWS – Ground Proximity Warning System

GS – Ground School

GS – Ground Speed

GS – Glide Slope


HDG – Heading

HDG SEL – Heading Select

HEA – High Energy Approach

HF – Human Factors

HF – High Frequency

HIALS – High Intensity Approach Lighting System

HIL – Hold Item List

HoT – Head of Training

HOT – Hold Over Time (Anti-icing)

HPA – Hectopascal

HP – Horse Power

HP – High Pressure

HPT – High Pressure Turbine

HSI – Horizontal Situation Indicator

HST – Hypersonic Transport

HUD – Head Up Display

HWC – Head Wing Component

HYD – Hydraulics


IAA – Irish Aviation Authority

IAC – Instrument Approach Chart

IAP – Instrument Approach Procedure

IAF – Initial Approach Fix

IALPA – Irish Airline Pilots Association

IAP – Instrument Approach Procedure

IAS – Indicated Air Speed

IATA – International Air Transport Association

IC – In Command

ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organisation

IDG – Integrated Drive Generator

IFR – Instrument Flight Rules

ILS – Instrument Landing System

IMC – Instrument Meteorological Conditions

INOP – Inoperative

INS – Inertial Navigation System

IR – Instrument Rating

IRS – Inertial Reference System

IRST – Instrument Rating Skills Test

IRU – Inertial Reference Unit

ISA – International Standard Atmosphere

ITCZ – Intertropical Convergence Zone


JAA – Joint Aviation Authorities

JAR – Joint Aviation Requirements

JFO – Junior First Officer

JOC – Jet Orientation Course

JS – Jump Seat


kHz – Kilohertz

KIAS – Knots Indicated Airspeed

KM – Kilometres

KPH – Kilometres per hour

KTS – Knots


LCC – Low Cost Carrier/s

LCK – Line Check

LCTR – Locator

LD – Landing Distance

LDA – Landing Distance Available

LDA – Low Drag Approach

LDR – Landing Distance Required

LG – Landing Gear

LHO – Live Human Organs

LHR – London Heathrow

LLZ – Localiser

LOC – Localiser

LOE – Line Orientated Exercise

LOFT – Line Oriented Flight Training

LORAN – Long Range Navigation

LNAV – Lateral Navigation

LP – Low Pressure

LPC – Line Proficiency Check

LRU – Line Replaceable Unit

LSK – Line Select Key

LSS – Local Speed of Sound

LST – Line Skills Test

LT – Line Training

LT – Local Time

LT – Leadership Team

LTC – Line Training Captain

LTP – Landing Threshold Point

LVL – Level

LVO – Low Visibility Operations

LVP – Low Visibility Procedures

LW – Landing Weight


MAA – Military Aviation Authority

MAA – Missed Approach Altitude

MAC – Mean Aerodyanamic Chord

MACG – Missed Approach Climb Gradient

MAP – Missed Approach Point

MATZ – Military Air Traffic Zone

MCC – Multi Crew Cooperation Course

MCP – Mode Control Panel

MCRIT – Critical Mach Number

MCT – Maximum Continuous Thrust

MDA – Minimum Decent Altitude

MDH – Minimum Decent Height

ME – Multi Engine

MEA – Minimum Enroute Altitude

MEL – Minimum Equipment List

MMEL – Master Minimum Equipment List

MEP – Multi Engine Piston

MET – Meteorological

METAR – Meteorological Aerodrome Report

MFRA – Minimum Flap Retraction Altitude

MLM – Maximum Landing Mass

MLS – Microwave Landing System

MLW – Maximum Landing Weight

MM – Middle Marker

MMO – Maximum Mach Number

MOA – Memorandum of Agreement

MOC – Minimum Obstacle Clearance

MOR – Mandatory Occurance Report

MORA – Minimum En-route Altitude

MPA – Multi Pilot Aircraft

MPL – Multi-Crew Pilots Licence

MPS – Meters Per Second

MRO – Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul

MRW – Maximum Ramp Weight

MSA – Minimum Sector/Safe Altitude

MSL – Mean Sea Level

MTOW – Maximum Take Off Weight

MZFW – Maximum Zero Fuel Weight


N1 – Low Pressure Compressor Speed

N2 – High Pressure Compressor Speed

NADP – Noise Abatement Departure Procedure (1 or 2)

NAT – North Atlantic

NAT-OTS – North Atlantic Organised Track System

NATS – North Atlantic Track System

NATS – National Air Traffic Service

NAV – Navigation

ND – Navigation Display

NDB – Non Directional Beacon

NG – Next Generation

Nigel – A British Airways Pilot (Slang)

NM – Nautical Mile

No1 – Number One (Senior Cabin Crew Member)

NOTAM – Notice to Airmen

NOTECH – Non Technical Skills

NPA – Non-Precision Approach

NPPL – National Private Pilots Licence

NSC – No Significant Cloud

NTS – Non Technical Skills

NTSB – National Transportation Safety Board

NWS – Nose Wheel Steering


OAA – Oxford Aviation Academy (UK Integrated School)

OAT – Outside Air Temperature

OB – Off/On Blocks

OBS – Omni Bearing Selector

OC – Operations Control

OCA – Obstacle Clearance Altitude

OCA – Oceanic Control Area

OCC – Operators Conversion Course

OCH – Obstacle Clearance Height

OEA – One Engine Approach

OEI – One Engine Inoperative

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

OFP – Operational Flight Plan

OM – Operations Manual

OM – Outer Marker

OPC – Operator Proficiency Check

OTP – On Time Performance

OTS – Organised Track System

OTS – Out of Service

QTY – Quantity

OW – Operational Weight

OXY – Oxygen

O2 – Oxygen


P1 – Pilot in Command

P2 – Pilot Second in Command

PA – Public/Passenger Announcement

Packs – Air Conditioning Units

PANS-OPS – Procedures for Air Navigation Services

PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator

PAR – Precision Approach Radar

PAX – Passenger/s

PBN – Performance Based Navigation

PCN – Pavement Classification Number

PDC – Pre-departure Clearance

PET – Point Of Equal Time

PF – Pilot Flying

PFD – Primary Flight Display

PFL – Practice Forced Landing

PIC – Pilot in Command

PICUS – Pilot in Command Under Supervision

PIO – Pilot Induced Oscillations

PIREP – Pilot Report

PoB – Passengers on Board

PoF – Principles of Flight

POH – Pilot’s Operating Handbook

PM – Pilot Monitoring

PNF – Pilot Not Flying

PNR – Point of No Return

PPL – Private Pilots Licence

PPR – Prior Permission Required

PRNAV – Precision Area Navigation

PSI – Pressure per square inch

PSR – Point of Safe Return

PSR – Purser (No 1 Cabin Crew)

PT – Progress Test

PTT – Push to Talk

PUT – Pilot Under Training


QDM – Magnetic heading to a station

QDR – Magnetic Bearing from a station

QFE – Field Elevation (Pressure Setting)

QNH – Regional Pressure Setting

QRA – Quick Reaction Alert

QRH – Quick Reference Handbook


RA – Radio Altimeter

RA – Radio Altitude

RA – Resolution Advisory

RAD ALT – Radio Altimeter

RADAR – Radio Detection and Ranging

RAF – Royal Air Force

RAS – Rectified Airspeed

RAT – Ram Air Turbine

REL – Runway Edge Lights

RESA – Runway End Safety Area

RET – Rapid Exit Taxiway

RFFS – Resuce & Fire Fighting Services

RMI – Radio Magnetic Indicator

RN – Royal Navy

RNAV – Area Navigation

RNP – Required Navigation Performance

RPL – Repetitive Flight Plan

RPM – Revolutions Per Minute

RT – Radio Telephony

RTB – Return to Base

RTFQ – Read The F**k**g Question

RTO – Rejected Take Off

RTS – Return to Stand

RTS – Return to Service

RVR – Runway Visual Range

RVSM – Reduced Vertical Separation Minima

RW – Runway

RWY – Runway


SADLR – Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate

SAR – Search and Rescue

SAT – Saturated Air Temperature

SATCOM – Satellite Communication

SCCM – Senior Cabin Crew Member

SE – Single Engine

SELCAL – Selective Calling

SEP – Single Engine Piston

SEP – Safety and Emergency Procedures

SFI – Synthetic Flight Instructor

SFO – Senior First Officer

SHF – Super High Frequency

SIC – Second In Command

SID – Standard Instrument Departure

SIGMET – Significant meteorological advisory

SLF – Self Loading Freight (Passengers)

SLOP – Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures

SLP – Speed Limit Point

SM – Statute Mile

SMR – Surface Movement Radar

S/O – Second Officer

SOP’s – Standard Operating Procedures

SOS – Save our Souls (Distress call)

SPIC – Student Pilot In Command

SR – Sunrise

SRA – Surveillance Radar Approach

SS – Sunset

SSR – Secondary Surveillance Radar

SST – Supersonic Transport

STA – Scheduled Time of Arrival

STAR – Standard Terminal Arrival Route

STD – Scheduled Time of Departure

STD – Standard (Pressure Setting 1013mb)


TA – Transition Altitude

TA – Traffic Advisory

TAA – Terminal Arrival Area

TAA – Terminal Arrival Altitude

TACAN – Tactical Air Navigation

TAF – Terminal Area Forecast

TAF – Aerodrome Forecast

TAFB – Time Away From Base

TAS – True Airspeed

TAT – Total Air Temperature

TCA – Terminal Control Area

TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System

TCH – Threshold Crossing Height

TDZ – Touch Down Zone

TECH – Technical

TEM – Threat and Error Management

TERPS – Terminal Procedures

TFC – Traffic

THOB – Total Heads On Board

THLD – Threshold

THLD – Thrust Hold

THR – Threshold

TKI – Theoretical Knowledge Instructor

TL – Transition Level

TLA – Thrust Lever Angle

TMA – Terminal Manoeuvring Area

TMI – Track Message Identification

T/O – Take Off

TO/GA – Take Off Go Around

TOC – Take Off Configuration

TOC – Top Of Climb

TOD – Top Of Descent

TODA – Take Off Distance Available

TORA – Take Off Run Available

TOW – Take Off Weight

TP – Turbo Prop

TR – Type Rating

TRE – Type Rating Examiner

TRI – Type Rating Instructor

TRTO – Type Rating Training Organisation

TRU – Transformer Rectifier Unit

TS – Thunderstorm

TT – Total Time

TTL – Total

TWC – Tail Wind Component

TWR – Tower

TWY – Taxiway


UA – Unusual Attitude

UAS – University Air Squadron

UAV – Unmanned Air Vehicles

UFO – Unidentified Flying Object

UHF – Ultra High Frequency

UIR – Upper Flight Information Region

U/S – Unserviceable

USAF – United States Air Force

UTC – Universal Co-ordinated Time (Zulu)


VA – Virgin Atlantic

VAAC – Volcanic Ash Advisory Center

VAC – Volcanic Approach Chart

VASI – Vertical Approach Slope Indicator

VFE – Maximum Flap Extension Speed

VFR – Visual Flight Rules

VHF – Very High Frequency

VIP – Very Important Person

VIMD – Maximum Drag Speed

VLE – Maximum Landing Gear Extended Speed

VMC – Visual Meteorological Conditions

VMCA – Minimum Control Speed Airborne

VMCG – Minimum Control Speed Ground

VMO – Maximum Indicated Airspeed

VNAV – Vertical Navigation

VNE – Never Exceed Speed

VNO – Normal Operating Speed

VOLMET – Meterlogical Information In Flight

VOR – VHF Omni Directional Radio Range

VR – Rotate

VRB – Variable

VS – Vertical Speed

VSI – Vertical Speed Indicator

VTOL – Vertical Take Off and Landing

VIP – Very Important Person

VV – Vertical Visability

VVIP – Very Very Important Person

VX – Best Angle of Climb Speed

VY – Best Rate of Climb Speed


WILCO – Will Comply

WIP – Work In Progress

WOCL – Window of Circadian Low

WPT – Way Point


WX – Weather

XPDR – Transponder

XWC – Cross Wind Component


Z – Zulu Time (Same as UTC and GMT)

ZFT – Zero Flight Time

ZFW – Zero Fuel Weight

What is CRM?

What is Crew Resource Management (CRM)?

The definition of CRM and the non-technical skills that encompass it

What is Crew Resource Management?

Crew Resource Management (CRM) is defined as:

“A management system which makes optimum use of all available resources (equipment, procedures and people) to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations” – Definition by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.

CRM is used by flight crew (and others in a safety critical role within aviation) to enhance the safety of every flight. It promotes the use of non-technical skills, like teamwork and decision-making to ensure sound situational awareness and problem-solving and promotes threat and error management.

CRM encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including, communication, situational awareness, problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork. CRM is concerned with the cognitive and interpersonal skills to manage the flight within an organised system. Cognitive skills are defined as the mental process used for gaining and maintaining situational awareness for solving problems and for making / taking decision.

When is CRM used?

CRM is used from the moment the crew enter the crew room all the way through to check out at the end of the day and constantly in between. From the pre-flight decisions in the crew room, through to taxiing to stand after landing, how the crew interact with others and perceive their environment is critical to flight safety. Promoting this self awareness and realising that humans are susceptible to error are critical elements to CRM.

What is Situational Awareness?

The UK CAA define Situational Awareness as:

One’s ability to accurately perceive what is in the flight deck and outside the aircraft, comprehend the meaning of these elements and be able to project their possible status in the near future.

This requires continuos refinement of perception, the need to understand the meaning of your perception and understanding that it is quite possible for crew to have an incorrect perception of reality.

In essence, Situational Awareness is correctly understanding the current state/configuration of the aircraft, the environment in which it is in and project these factors into the future. It is said that Situational Awareness takes a long time to build up but only a few seconds to lose.

It is quite possible that the crew believe they have an accurate perception of the current circumstances, but in fact have a inaccurate perception. For example, believing they are lined up with the runway to land when in fact they are lined up with the parallel taxi-way. It is therefore necessary to regularly question whether your perception of current circumstances are accurate.

What are Non-Technical Skills (NOTECHS)?

Non-Technical skills refer to skills that are not concerned with the physical operation of the aircraft, rather the management of it. Generally speaking, Notechs are split into four subsections:

  • Decision Making
  • Leadership & Management
  • Crew Cooperation
  • Situational Awareness

If you are considering flight training, check out our Becoming a Pilot section.