Fighter Pilot Terminology

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  • Ace – a pilot who achieves 5 or more verified kills
  • Angels - Used inside the atmosphere to determine the height off the surface – measured in kilometers
  • Babysitters – Fighters assigned to escort duties
  • Bandit – slang for an identified enemy fighter
  • Bank – a basic maneuver to turn a fighter to one side or another
  • Blackout – unconsciousness caused by loss of blood to the brain – High-G maneuvers can result in a pilot losing consciousness
  • Bogey – slang for an unidentified object.
  • Boomer – A torpedo
  • Bouncing – a high-speed minimum clearance pass by a fighter on another vessel that was not aware of your presence
  • Break - The breakup of the formation over the runway when a flight does a 360 overhead. Also called "pitchout." A maneuver requiring an abrupt bank or turn to accomplish a change of direction and/or altitude.
  • Call Sign - The code word or words that designate a flight, usually selected by the flight leader for that particular mission. The flight then would be designated (In the case of a call sign of "Red Flight") as: "Red Lead," "Red Two," "Red Three', and "Red Four." In the case of large formations divided into flights, the flights might be divided as follows: Red, Blue, Yellow, etc or Alpha. Bravo, etc. Any combination of names can be used, depending upon the imagination and audacity of the flight leader. Pilots may also be referred to by their personal call sign.
  • Chandelle – A basic maneuver consisting of a slow climb through 180 degrees
  • Check Six – slang for verifying that there are no enemy fighters behind you ready to blow you away
  • Cherubs – Used inside the atmosphere to determine the height off the surface – measured in meters
  • Climb – basic maneuver indicating an increase in altitude
  • Deskie - A pilot that has a desk job
  • Donut - A drone or a target that is shot for practice
  • ECM – short for Electronic Counter Measures – any system used to distort, jam, misinform, enemy sensors and targeting computers
  • Fighter Jock – Jock – slang for a fighter pilot
  • Flamer - A ship that is burning out of control
  • Flight Suit – the basic apparel for a combat Fighter pilot. It protects the pilot from fire and injuries resulting from High-G maneuvers
  • Formation - A disciplined flight of two or more aircraft under the command of a fight leader using a standardized set of signals and commands to direct the wingmen. Not to be confused with a GAGGLE of aircraft
  • Furball – complex and confusing dogfight usually involving large numbers of fighters
  • Gaggle - An undisciplined group of aircraft, milling about in roughly the same piece of sky, sometimes attempting to impersonate a FORMATION
  • Grandma - The oldest female in the squadron
  • Grayout – pilot is incapacitated from a few seconds to a minute where unconsciousness does not occur. Associated either during or after a high-speed turn and acceleration or deceleration
  • Groundhog – slang for ground forces or ground crews – used by pilots
  • Hardened – a term used to describe a building or complex resistance to weapons. Strong materials and design can result in a higher probability of survival from a direct hit
  • Hardpoint – where weapons, such as torpedoes and additional sensor packages can be installed on a fighter – usually located on the wing or hull of the fighter
  • Haulers – Carrier Helm officers
  • Inertia – state where a moving object tends to stay in motion and a stationary object remains stationary
  • Initial - Short for initial approach. Refers to the approach on runway heading used when doing a 360 overhead break
  • Lander - the general term used for all types of armored assault landers and landing craft. These vehicles are capable of making planetary landings from space
  • Launch Tube – method for rapid launching of fighters usually along the centerline of a starship or at an angle if multiple. Recovery is through shuttle bays
  • Lifter - general term used for all types of cargo and supply transports. The vehicles are sometimes pressed into service to carry troops
  • LZ - Landing Zone
  • Mailman – slang for an Attack Pilot
  • Mecks/Knuckle draggers - Mechanics or repair staff
  • Nest - The ship or place the fighters are stored
  • No Joy - Used to indicate that you have not visually acquired whatever it is you are looking for
  • Ordies - Personnel that load ordinance or weapons unto a craft
  • Pappy – the oldest male pilot in a squadron as designated by the members of the squadron
  • Parade - Formation configuration to be used when under observation by the public, as in an air show appearance. Parade formation is demanding, since the aircraft are in close physical proximity to each other. It requires absolute *concentration on the part of the wingmen and smooth leadership by the flight lead
  • Punch – pilot slang for eject
  • RIO – Rear Instrument Officer – some fighters are capable of carrying a second crewmember on board. He will usually work the weapons and sensors keeping the pilot apprised of other fighters and checking six. He also will target and *attack with the fighters weapons and armaments
  • Recon – slang for reconnaissance – Fighters perform these missions to locate and determine the strength of the opposing force in a particular area. The collection of information and intelligence for possible future missions or for further analysis
  • Redout – condition of too much blood flowing to the brain resulting in unconsciousness
  • Rendezvous - To join the flight onto the leader, as after takeoff
  • Screens – slang for deflector shields
  • Sensor Signature – Signal or emissions such as heat, electromagnetic, acoustic or other type of energy that can be detected by sensors and used to track and/or identify the object
  • Shimmer – slang for a cloaked ship, when spotted with the naked eye
  • Six – pilot slang for the rear area behind the fighter that is almost impossible to visually view or apply weapons to an attacker. Also designated the “Sweet Spot”.
  • Square Pegging It – Slang used by technicians indicating improvisation or jury rigging for a solution to a problem.
  • Strafing – using pulse cannons or phasers on ground targets
  • Streaks – a nickname for Bio-ships. Can also denote very very fast ships or vessels
  • Tally Ho - Used to indicate that you have visually acquired whatever it is you were looking for
  • Trash Haulers – slang for Transport Pilots
  • VTOL – Vertical Takeoff and Landing
  • Zero-G – slang for areas of very low gravity


  • Compiled by Lieutenant Commander Walsh
IMPORTANT ERRATA 325th Fighter Squadron325th Fighter Squadron PositionsFighter Pilot Basics
Fighter Pilot Duty ShiftFighter Squadron Duty Roster
IN FLIGHT INFORMATION Flight SuitDefensive ManeuversOffensive Maneuvers
FIGHTER CRAFT 21x Gryphon Fighter
NOTABLE LOCATIONS Flight DeckFlight Ops Briefing RoomSquadron Command Center
Squadron Commander's OfficeShuttle Storage and Maintenance
PERSONNEL FUNCTIONS Alert StatusCabin AssignmentsComputer Access LevelsDeck ListingDepartment HeadDuty RosterOperating ModesSecurity ClearancesRank GuideRank ComparisonsUniforms
DEPARTMENTS CommandFlight ControlIntelligenceOperationsEngineering