Glossary of Terms

(also Aerofoil); A body (such as an airplane wing or propeller blade) designed to provide a desired reaction force when moving relative to the surrounding air
Angle of Attack
The angle between the nose of the aircraft and its velocity vector
The convex, curved shape of an airfoil from leading edge to trailing edge

The processes of burning fuel in an engine
A reduction in size or volume, as if by squeezing
Part of an aircraft engine which compresses the gas prior to burn
The aerodynamic force, which opposes thrust, that tends to slow the forward motion of an aircraft
Escape velocity
The velocity required for a spacecraft to escape the earth's gravitational pull and travel in outer space
Free-body Diagram
A schematic of an object, which identifies all forces acting on the body
The central or body portion of an aircraft which accommodates the passengers and crew, or cargo
Harrier Jet
A single-engine fighter-bomber, first flown on Aug. 31, 1966, designed to fly from combat areas and aircraft carriers and to support ground forces
Hybrid Aircraft
An aircraft with moveable jet nozzles, which point downward to produce vertical thrust and backward for forward thrust
Hybrid Rocket
A rocket which uses a combination of liquid and solid propellants. In general the oxidizer, in a gaseous or liquid state, is combined with a solid fuel
The presence of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the blood
A deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body
The opening through which air enters the aircraft engine
The component of the aerodynamic force acting on an aircraft, perpendicular to the relative wind, which causes an aircraft to rise in altitude
An engine which uses a light-weight piston to produce thrust
The rear opening of an aircraft engine through which the gas is discharged in order to produce thrust
The cargo being transported by the aircraft or spacecraft
Rotation about a lateral axis such that the forward end rises or falls relative to the aft end
The combination of both fuel and oxidizers, in liquid or solid form,which are burned by a rocket to produce thrust

Devices that consists of a central hub with radiating blades which spin to propel the aircraft
Engine, such as a jet engine, in which a single compressor is connected by a shaft to a sinlge turbine
The forward-directed force developed in a jet or rocket engine as a reaction to the rearward ejection of fuel gases
Engine, such as a turbofan, in which multiple turbines are connected by shafts to various compressors and fans
Part of an aircraft engine which converts the kinetic energy of moving air into rotational power
Engine, such as a turbofan, in which two turbines are connected by multiple shafts to a compressor and fan
The downward force on an aircraft, which opposes lift, equal to the product of the mass of the aircraft and the local gravitational acceleration

Man-Vehicle Laboratory
MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
17 March 1997