When you become a pilot you’re not only learning how to fly, but you’re learning a new language. You’ll pick up on “aviation speak” as your progress through your studies, however, if you want to get a head start and have a reference guide Aviation Supplies and Academics produced its own Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms. Here are some of the most common acronyms you’ll learn during your training.

AGL – Above Ground Level

Anytime you see an altitude with AGL following it, you know it has been measured from the ground. It could be at the top of a mountain or the bottom of a valley. When trying to measure the gap between the ground and the first layer of clouds in the sky, it’s useful information when you are trying to determine if conditions are flyable by reference to the ground.

BARO – Barometric

When you see BARO in weather reports it’s a reference to pneumatic air pressure which measures the height of the atmosphere. Aircraft altimeters are barometric-pressure-measuring devices. In the US, we correct our altimeters for nonstandard barometric pressure when flying below 18,000 feet above mean sea level. 

CAT – Clear Air Turbulence

This is the kind of turbulence that causes many of the serious passenger and crew injuries we see in the sky.  Where tow air masses meet in a cloudless sky, there is often unseen turbulence. They can be vertical or horizontal air flows. Mountains can also cause waves of high-speed air downwind, and even swirling rotors of air can develop and toss an aircraft around.  


Are you suffering from any illness or symptoms of an illness which might affect you in flight? I’M SAFE is a checklist to go over before flying to determine if you’re in good physical condition to fly.

I = Illness. Are you suffering from any illness or symptoms of an illness?

M = Medication. Are you currently on any medication?

S = Stress. Are there any psychological or emotional factors that might affect your performance?

A = Alcohol. Do you have any alcohol in your system from the last 8 to 24 hours?

F = Fatigue. Did you get sufficient sleep and are rested enough to fly safely?

E = Eating. Are you sufficiently nourished?


This one sounds a little strange. It’s in reference to operational VFR equipment needed to fly. Have you checked everything on this list before flying?

G = Gas gauge

O = Oil Temperature

O = Oil pressure

S = Seat belts


A = Altimeter

C = Compass

A = Airspeed Indicator

T = Tachometer

Ready to Take to the Skies and Become a Pilot?

Whether you’re getting your sport pilot certificate or are starting a career in aviation, choosing a qualified flight school makes all the difference in time and money spent. Come visit our Florida campus or Tennessee campus. You can request a tour and see all that CTI has to offer our students.

Leave a Comment