JORDANOFF'S Illustrated Aviation Dictionary (Harper & Brothers, 1942) fills a long-felt need in the field of aviation — among pilots, engineers, mechanics, students, aviation executives, etc. It combines uniquely verbal delineations of aviation terms, many of them highly technical, some commonly used in aeronautical terminology, with pictorial supplements for instant understanding, The definitions cover aerobatics, aerodynamics, aerostation, meteorology, navigation, radio, and stress analysis, with a special section covering aviation "slanguage" used by American and British flying forces.

  1. Pendant, sighting — A vertical wire on the center line and forward of the control car of an airship, used as a guide in steering and to assist in determining the direction of the wind.
  2. Tail drag — A movable or variable weight suspended from the after part of an airship moored to a mast, to aid in restraining the vertical and lateral motions of the stern of the airship.
  3. Band, trajectory — A band of webbing carried in a special curve over the surface of the envelope of an airship to distribute the stresses due to the suspension of the car.
  4. Rime — 1. Hoarfrost. 2. A rough or feathery coating of ice deposited on terrestrial objects by fog. (The second meaning is the one now used in technical literature.)
  5. Slat — A movable auxiliary airfoil, attached to the leading edge of a wing, which when closed falls within the original contour of the main wing and which when opened forms a slot.
  6. Glider launching, auto-pulley — A method of launching gliders by direct action of a launching cord actuated, through a pulley system, by a moving automobile.
  7. Priming system — A system for remote priming or direct injection of fuel by means of a hand- operated pump to the engine cylinders to facilitate starting, particularly in cold weather.
  8. Refraction (terrestrial) — Change in the apparent position of distant terrestrial objects due to the bending of the line of sight from a terrestrial body.
  9. Interceptor — A lateral-control device consisting of a small plate placed just back of a wing slot to spoil the effect of the slot at high angles of attack.
  10. Shear — The force acting to move one portion of a body past another portion; it is equal to the algebraic sum of loads on either side of a reference point or line.
  11. Loop with quarter roll recovery — An acrobatic aerial maneuver consisting of approximately three-quarters of a normal loop followed by a roll recovery at 90° to the original direction.
  12. Glory — A series of concentric colored rings seen around the shadow of the observer, or of his head only, cast upon a cloud or fog bank. It is due to the diffraction of reflected light.
  13. Pitch (or pitching) indicator — An instrument for indicating the existence and approximate magnitude of the angular velocity about the lateral axis of an aircraft.
  14. Double drift — A method for determining the direction and velocity of the wind by means of the drift angles observed on two headings at right angles to each other.
  15. Geodetic construction — A type of airplane construction, resembling basketweave, wherein the stresses are distributed substantially over the entire structure.
  16. Gremlins — Mythical little elves, sometimes benevolent, but often raising hell around an airplane in flight. They jam machine guns, flutter ailerons, but sometimes take a pilot safely to base.
  17. Ceiling, absolute — The maximum height above sea level at which a given airplane would be able to maintain horizontal flight under standard air conditions.
  18. Cascade — The name applies to the mass of spray or dense vapor thrown outward from around the base of a waterspout. Also known as "bush" or "bonfire."
  19. Lead-in — That portion of an antenna system which completes the electrical connection between elevated external portion and the instruments or disconnecting switches inside the structure.
  20. Economizer — An auxiliary device for the flow of fuel into a carburetor, permitting the pilot to obtain a richer mixture for power and speed greater than normal.
  21. Landing run — The distance required for the landing of an airplane in still air, as measured from the point where the wheels touch the ground to the point where the airplane comes to rest.
  22. Meridian, magnetic — The great circle the plane of which makes an angle with the plane of the true meridian, equal in direction and magnitude to the magnetic variation of a place.
This article was originally published in the March, 1943, issue of Air News magazine, vol 4, no 3, pp 42-43.
The PDF of this article is illustrated with diagrams by the author.
The original was printed on 10½ by 13½ paper. The pages have been reduced to print on letter-size paper.
Diagrams credited to Assen Jordanoff.