Proteus Air Services


This glossary is a quick reference for those new to flying. It is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it will assist you as you research learning to fly.

AIM: Aeronautical Information Manual. This is where many of the procedures and operating practices come from for pilots.

AME: Aviation Medical Examiner. These are doctors designated by the FAA to issue medical certificates.

CFI: Certificated flight instructor. These are the people who will teach you how to fly!

CFI-I: Certificated flight instructor with instrument rating. These people can instruct you for an instrument rating.

Checkride: The final test for your pilot certificate at the end of your training. This consists of an oral exam and flight test both administered by a designated examiner.

Commercial certificate: This is the pilot certificate some choose to obtain that allows them to fly for hire. Most pilots start training for this rating after they obtain their instrument rating.

Cross-country: These are flights in excess of 50 nautical miles that you will be doing during your training to become familiar with navigation and operating at other airports.

DPE: Designated pilot examiner. These are highly experienced pilots who are chosen by the FAA to examine students and issue them pilot certificates.

Dual instruction: Flying with your instructor.

FAA:Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is the Government agency that oversees all Aviation activities in the USA.

FAR: Federal Aviation Regulations. The rules that govern training and operation of pilots and aircraft.

IFR: Instrument flight rules. This is flying done by looking only at the flight instruments inside the airplane. Learning to fly this way comes after the private pilot license.

Instrument Rating: This is an addition to your private certificate that allows you to fly into clouds and low visibility.

Knots: Nautical miles per hour. This is the unit of speed most commonly used in aviation.

KSMO: Santa Monica Airport’s FAA identifier code.

KVNY: Van Nuys Airport’s FAA identifier code.

Medical certificate: To fly as a private pilot and beyond, you must be found medically fit by an AME. The AME will then issue you a medical certificate to show you are fit to fly.

Multi-engine: An aircraft with more than one engine (commonly two). It can be either propeller or jet driven.

NAFI: National Association of Flight Instructors. This industry group is dedicated to supporting the professional development of flight instructors, and flight training organizations.

Nautical mile: Equal to 1.15 miles, this is the most common unit of distance used in aviation.

Private certificate: This is the first pilot certificate most people obtain. It allows flying during the day or at night, in good weather, anywhere in the United States.

Single-engine: An aircraft with one engine. It can be either propeller or jet driven, but most commonly propeller.

Solo flight: Partway through your training, you will fly the aircraft without your instructor on board. It is a major milestone in training.

VFR: Visual flight rules. This is flying done by looking outside on a nice sunny day. It is where training begins.

Written exam: A 60 question exam required to get a pilot certificate. This can be done any time during training.