A to Z of Aviation Terminology - (M)

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The Mach number is a unitless ratio that represents the speed of an aircraft relative to the speed of sound in the air through which the aircraft is traveling. The Mach number is named after Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, who first studied supersonic speeds. The Mach number is defined as the ratio of the speed of an aircraft to the speed of sound in the air. In practical terms, the Mach number is used to determine the onset of compressibility effects on an aircraft, which can have significant impacts on its performance and stability. The Mach number is a crucial performance parameter in high-speed flight and is used by pilots and aircraft designers to optimize flight performance and ensure safe operation.
The Master Switch refers to the main electrical power switch that controls the supply of electrical power to the aircraft's systems and equipment. The Master Switch is typically located in the cockpit, and it is usually controlled by the pilot or co-pilot.

The Master Switch is a crucial component of an aircraft's electrical system, as it provides a means of turning off all electrical power to the aircraft in the event of an emergency. This can be important for a variety of reasons, including preventing electrical fires, shutting down systems that might interfere with an emergency evacuation, or simply as a way of resetting the aircraft's electrical system in the event of a malfunction.

In addition to its emergency function, the Master Switch is also used to control the supply of electrical power to the aircraft's systems during normal operation. For example, the Master Switch might be used to turn off electrical power to certain systems during takeoff and landing, or to shut down power to non-essential systems when the aircraft is parked on the ground.

Overall, the Master Switch is an important component of an aircraft's electrical system, and it plays a key role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft.
The Mayday call is an international distress call used in aviation to indicate a serious emergency that requires immediate assistance. The word "Mayday" is derived from the French expression "m'aider," which means "help me." The Mayday call is used by pilots and crew members when they are facing an immediate threat to their safety or the safety of their aircraft. This can include situations such as a sudden loss of engine power, an uncontrolled fire on board, or severe turbulence, among others. The Mayday call is broadcasted on the aircraft's radio frequency and is considered a priority call, requiring immediate attention from air traffic control and other aircraft in the vicinity. The Mayday call is reserved for only the most serious of emergencies, and its use is regulated by international aviation standards to ensure its efficacy in providing assistance to those in need.
A microburst is a dangerous and unpredictable weather phenomenon that can cause significant turbulence and other flight hazards for aircraft. A microburst is a column of rapidly descending air that can cause strong and sudden gusts of wind, along with heavy rain, hail, and other weather-related hazards.

Microbursts are most commonly associated with thunderstorms, and they occur when a thunderstorm collapses and the air in the storm rapidly descends towards the ground. The sudden and strong gusts of wind caused by a microburst can pose a significant hazard to aircraft, as they can cause turbulence, wind shear, and other flight disruptions.

In order to minimize the risk of a microburst-related accident, pilots and air traffic controllers monitor weather conditions carefully and use a variety of tools and techniques, such as weather radar and wind shear alert systems, to detect and avoid microbursts. Additionally, airlines and airports have contingency plans in place to manage the effects of microbursts and other severe weather events, and to minimize their impact on flight operations.

Overall, microbursts are a significant and unpredictable weather hazard in aviation, and they pose a risk to aircraft and flight operations. By monitoring weather conditions, using tools and techniques to detect and avoid microbursts, and having contingency plans in place, pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation professionals work to ensure the safe and efficient operation of aircraft.
A midsize jet is a type of aircraft typically used for private and business aviation. These jets are typically designed to carry between 6 to 10 passengers and have a range of around 2,000 to 4,000 nautical miles. Midsize jets offer a balance between comfort, performance, and cost, providing a level of luxury and convenience that is often not found on smaller aircraft, while still being more affordable than larger, long-range jets. Examples of midsize jets include the Hawker 800XP, the Citation XLS, and the Gulfstream G280.

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