Aviation Acronyms

In an on-site class in Michigan, a student, Michael Kirsten, asked if there is a good reference source for all the acronyms related to drones and aviation.  I found one reference page on the FAA web site, (faa.gov/airports/resources/acronyms /) but it does not include many of the acronyms related to unmanned aviation.  Another, though also incomplete reference, can be found at dommagazine.com   A longer list can be found at Wikipedia  but it’s also a little out of date.

So here is my own compilation of the aviation terms that a drone operator needs to know. If there are others that you think should be included in the list, please make your suggestions in the FEEDBACK page of this web site and I will consider adding to the list.


AC — Advisory Circular
ADM – Aeronautical Decision Making
ADS-B — Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
AGL — Above Ground Level
ASOS/AWOS — Automated Surface or Weather Observation System
ATC — Air Traffic Control
ATIS – Automated Terminal Information Service.

BVLOS — Beyond Visuai Line of Sight

CTAF — Common Traffic Advisory Frequency
CFIT — Controlled Flight Into Terrain *(or trees)

DME — Distance Measuring Equipment
DoD — Department of Defense
DOI — Department of Interior
DOS — Department of State
DOT — Department of Transportation
DUAT — Direct User Access Terminal

ELT — Emergency Locator Transmitter

FAA — Federal Aviation Administration
FAR — Federal Aviation Regulation
FBO — Fixed Base Operator’
FCC — Federal Communications Commission
FSDO — Flight Standards District Office
FSS — Flight Service Station

GA — General Aviation
GPS — Global Positioning System

HF — High Frequency
Hz — HERTZ (frequency)

IFR — Instrument Flight Rules
ILS — Instrument Landing System

LAANC — Low Altidude Authorization and Notification  Capability
LORAN — Long Range Aid to Navigation
LOS — Line of Sight (re VLOS)

MVFR — Marginal Visual Flight Rules
METAR—METeorological Aerodrome Reports
MOA — Military Operations Area

NAS — National Airspace System
NOTAM — Notice to Airmen
NPRM — Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
NTSB — National Transportation Safety Boar

PAPI — Precision Approach Path Indicator
PIC — Pilot in Control or Command
PIREP — Pilot (Weather) Report

SIGMET — Significant Meteorological Information
SMS — Safety Management System
SUAS — Small Unmanned Aerial System

TAF — Terminal Area Forecast
TCAS — Traffic Alert And Collision Avoidance System

UAV — Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UAG — License for Unmanned Aviation — Unmanned Aircraft General
UGR — Unmanned Aircraft General – Recurrent
UAS — Unmanned Aerial System
UTM — Unified Traffic Management System (NASA/FAA)
UVR — UAS Volume Reservation or (Vehicle Report?)

VASI — Visual Approach Slope Indicator
VHF — Very High Frequency
VOR/DME — VHF Omnidirectional Range/Distance Measuring Equipment

ZULU — (Time reference) GMT  also UTC – Universal Time Coordinated.

You can download this list here: Acronyms