A to Z of Aviation Terminology - (T)

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A tailwind refers to a wind that is blowing in the same direction as an aircraft's movement. A tailwind will increase the ground speed of the aircraft and reduce the time it takes to reach its destination. However, a strong tailwind can also have a negative effect on takeoff and landing performance, as it can increase the distance required for takeoff and decrease the distance available for landing. In flight planning, tailwinds are considered when determining the flight time, fuel consumption, and payload capacity of an aircraft. Pilots also consider the effect of tailwinds on the aircraft's performance during takeoff, cruise, and landing phases of flight. In general, a tailwind is advantageous for an aircraft in flight, as it can improve fuel efficiency and reduce flight time, but it is important to ensure that the tailwind does not exceed the limits for safe takeoff and landing performance.
Tarmac is a term that is commonly used to refer to the paved surface of an airport's runway, taxiway, or apron. Tarmac is made of asphalt concrete, which is a mixture of asphalt binder, aggregate (such as crushed rock or gravel), and filler. The term "tarmac" is derived from the British company Tarmac Limited, which was one of the first companies to produce and lay this type of surface material. Tarmac is favored for use in airport surfaces due to its durability and its ability to withstand heavy loads and extreme weather conditions. In addition to runways, taxiways, and aprons, tarmac is also commonly used for roadways, parking lots, and other large paved areas. The term "tarmac" is often used interchangeably with "asphalt concrete" or "blacktop".
Taxi time in aviation refers to the time an aircraft spends moving on the ground, from the moment it arrives at the gate until it takes off and becomes airborne. This includes the time taken to taxi from the gate to the runway, to wait for takeoff clearance, and to reach the takeoff position on the runway. Taxi time can vary depending on various factors such as air traffic control conditions, weather, and airport congestion. It is an important factor to consider when planning flight schedules as it affects the total flight time, fuel consumption, and operational costs.
A temperature inversion in aviation is a phenomenon in which the temperature increases with altitude, rather than decreases, which is the normal state of the atmosphere. This can cause stable layers of air to form, trapping pollutants and reducing vertical mixing of the air. In aviation, temperature inversions can have a significant impact on visibility, as they can trap smoke, fog, and other forms of precipitation at lower altitudes, reducing visibility for pilots and causing hazardous flying conditions. Additionally, temperature inversions can cause turbulence, as air currents moving over the inversion layer can create unstable air pockets. Pilots must be aware of temperature inversions and the potential impact they can have on flight operations. In flight planning, they consider the presence of temperature inversions when selecting flight routes, altitudes, and approaches, to ensure the safety and efficiency of the flight.
Third-party verification refers to the process of having an independent and impartial organization validate or certify the accuracy and reliability of information or data related to an aircraft. This information can include things such as maintenance records, weight and balance calculations, and flight time logs. The purpose of third-party verification is to provide assurance to regulatory authorities and other stakeholders that the data being used to operate an aircraft is correct and meets established standards and regulations. Third-party verifiers can be accredited organizations, government agencies, or specialized consultants who are trained and experienced in the verification of aviation data. The use of third-party verification helps to increase safety and confidence in the aviation industry by ensuring that important information is accurate and reliable.
Throttle refers to the lever or knob in the cockpit that controls the amount of fuel being delivered to the engine(s) of an aircraft. Moving the throttle forward increases the power output of the engine(s), while pulling it back decreases the power. The throttle is used to adjust the speed of the aircraft during takeoff, cruising, descent and landing.
Torque refers to the twisting force that an aircraft engine produces, which generates power that propels the aircraft. It is measured in units such as foot-pounds or Newton-meters. Engine torque affects an aircraft's ability to maintain altitude, climb, and maneuver. Too much torque can cause structural damage to an aircraft, while too little can result in decreased performance. To maintain safe and efficient operation, pilots monitor engine torque levels and make adjustments to the throttle as necessary.
A touch-and-go landing is a type of flight maneuver in which an aircraft lands on a runway and immediately takes off again without coming to a full stop. This type of landing is often used for training purposes to help pilots improve their landing and takeoff skills, or for operational reasons to save time and keep the aircraft in the air for longer periods. During a touch-and-go, the pilot touches the wheels of the aircraft down onto the runway, applies the brakes briefly to slow down, and then advances the throttle to take off again. Touch-and-go landings are typically performed at low speeds and are considered low-risk if executed properly.
A transmissometer is a type of instrument used in meteorology and aviation to measure the transmission of light through the atmosphere. It is typically used to measure the visibility of the atmosphere, which is an important factor for air traffic control and aviation safety. The transmissometer works by shining a light source into the atmosphere and measuring the amount of light that is transmitted through it. This information is then used to calculate the visibility, which is expressed in units such as meters or statute miles. Transmissometers are commonly used at airports to provide real-time visibility information for air traffic control and are also used for research purposes to study the atmospheric conditions.
A transponder is a device installed on an aircraft that transmits a unique identifier code and other flight information to ground-based air traffic control (ATC) systems. The transponder provides ATC with information about the aircraft's altitude, identification, and other flight parameters, allowing air traffic controllers to accurately track and monitor the aircraft's position and flight path. The transponder operates by receiving a radar signal from ATC and transmitting a coded response. This response is used by ATC to distinguish the aircraft from other aircraft and ground-based targets. Transponders are an important component of the air traffic control system and are used to increase the safety and efficiency of air travel by allowing air traffic controllers to monitor and manage the flow of aircraft in busy airspace.
A trim tab is a small control surface on the trailing edge of an aircraft's primary control surfaces, such as the elevators or rudder, that is used to adjust the balance of the aircraft in flight. Trim tabs are adjustable in the cockpit and are used to alleviate the need for the pilot to continuously hold the control column or rudder pedals in a particular position. By making small adjustments to the trim tabs, the pilot can effectively "trim" the aircraft to fly hands-free in a specific attitude, reducing the workload and allowing for smoother, more efficient flight. The trim tabs can be adjusted in small increments to fine-tune the aircraft's balance, and once set, the tabs remain in that position until they are adjusted again. The use of trim tabs is a common feature in many aircraft and is an important tool for maintaining stable flight and reducing pilot workload.
True airspeed (TAS) is the speed of an aircraft relative to the airmass it is flying through, taking into account the effects of air density, which can vary with altitude and temperature. It is different from indicated airspeed (IAS), which is the speed indicated on the aircraft's airspeed indicator and does not take into account air density. TAS is important for flight planning, navigation, and performance calculations, as it provides a more accurate representation of the aircraft's speed and performance. To determine TAS, the indicated airspeed must be corrected for air density using a mathematical formula, taking into account atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.
A turbojet aircraft is a type of aircraft powered by a turbojet engine, which is a type of jet engine that uses a turbine to compress air and mix it with fuel, creating a high-speed jet of exhaust gases to produce thrust. Turbojet engines were the first type of jet engine to be developed and are the simplest type of jet engine. They were widely used in early jet-powered aircraft and are still in use today in some military and regional airline applications. Turbojet aircraft are typically faster and more efficient than piston-powered aircraft, but are also more complex and require more fuel. Some of the advantages of turbojet aircraft include high cruise speeds, efficient altitude performance, and the ability to fly at high altitudes. However, they also have some limitations, such as relatively high noise levels and high fuel consumption, which has limited their use in some applications.
A turboprop aircraft is a type of aircraft powered by a turboprop engine, which is a type of propulsion system that combines elements of both a turbojet and a propeller-driven engine. In a turboprop engine, a turbine drives a propeller, which provides the majority of the thrust. This type of engine provides the benefits of both a turbojet and a propeller engine, offering high speeds and efficient operation at low to medium altitudes. Turboprop aircraft are commonly used for regional and short-haul air transportation, as well as for military and cargo operations. They are known for their good fuel efficiency, low operating costs, and relatively quiet operation. Compared to turbojet engines, turboprop engines are generally less powerful and have lower top speeds, but they are also lighter and more fuel-efficient, making them well-suited for certain types of missions.

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