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TV Preview: Glossary of terms for “American Fighter Pilot”

To get you ready for CBS’ new reality-based drama, American Fighter Pilot (though, really, how ready do you need to be for TV?) we’ve assembled some of the lingo commonly used by the men and women who make up these fighter squadrons.

With this pithy guide in hand (or simply on your screen) you’ll be in the know as these tubs fly sorties against bogeys. See, it’s useful already!

(AFP premieres Friday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.)

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Boner — a new pilot at the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB

B-word — term used instead of bombs… the word “bomb” is not said because pilots who fly F-15 Eagles do not drop bombs.

Call Sign — pilot nickname… received after first solo flight at solo party

Centrifuge — a machine that is used to test pilot G force tolerance

Cranium — term used for head… the word head is not said

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Crud — a full contact, rugby-like game played around a pool table in the squadron bar. Some Navy pilots play this game as well, but it is primarily an Air Force tradition.

Eagle — Air Force F-15

G’s- the force of gravity

IP — instructor pilot

Jeremiah Weed — a syrupy bourbon alcohol that is drank from a 200mm bullet casing. The pilots say it tastes like Jet Fuel and Syrup

Mr. Bones — the mascot of the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB

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Morted Out — dying in an airplane or in combat

Roll Call — on Friday nights when attendance is taken at the squadron bar

Sim — simulator; used for flight training

Solo Party — a secret, traditional party thrown to celebrate the first solo flight in the F-15 by the student pilots


Aileron — on each wing that rolls the airplane

Canopy — glass bubble over the pilot

Control Zone/chilly — imaginary area behind jet… kill zone… defenseless

Elevators/Stabs — on the tail that make the airplane go up and down

Knots — speed measurement for jets… based on the curvature of the earth

Lift Vector — imaginary line that comes out of the top of the jet… used for engaging another jet

Merge — two airplanes crossing each other at high speed

Nose — front of the jet

Nose Position — where front jet is in relation to bandit (enemy plane)

Planform — amount of the bandit’s jet that is seen by the pilot

Rudder — on tail that creates side-to-side motion for the airplane

Scissors — two jets weaving back-and-forth

Tub — two-seater F-15 training jet

Turn Circle — circular path that the airplane makes as it turns

WEZ — weapon employment zone

1 circle fight — airplanes turn on one circle after a merge (see “turn circle,” “merge”)

2 circle fight — airplanes turn on two separate circles after a merge (see “turn circle,” “merge”)

4 forces of flight:
    Thrust — forward
    Drag — backward
    Lift — upward
    G (gravity) — downward


ACM — air combat maneuvers

ACT — air combat tactics

Afterburner/burner/blower (AB) — maximum power for the jet… engine ignites with flames

Aggressors — squadron of enemies

AIM 9/sidewinder — heat seeking missile

BFM — basic fighter maneuvers

Bandit — enemy plane

Bingo — low fuel warning… return to home

Blower — jet engine

Bogey — unidentified aircraft on radar

Burner Cans — outside covers of the burners

Chaff — defense mechanism against radar-targeted missile… big ball of metal tape

DBFM — defensive basic fighter maneuvers

EP — emergency procedure

Flare — defense mechanism against heat-seeking missile

Flight Lead — first plane in the formation

Fox 1 — fired AIM 9 missile

Fox 3 — fired radar guided missile

Ground Ops — anything that is done before the jet takes off

G-straining — muscle exercise and breathing done to stay conscious during a heavy G maneuver

G-Suit — suit worn for training for pulling G’s

Hack — synchronizing watches at the beginning of a mission

Hook — failing a flight-test

HUD — heads up display/graphic representation

JP8 — jet fuel

Kicking Over — full rudder

Kill/Copy Kill — training term for shooting, or being shot down

OBFM — offensive basic fighter maneuvers

Pickle — dropping a bomb; also used in reference to Marcus Gregory’s wife, Sunni, getting ready to give birth

Pipper — radar targeting (target of bullets streaming from an F-15)

Punch/Punchout — ejecting from the plane

Rage — slang for dog-fight

Sanitize — removing classified materials from a room or area (prior to a civilian entering the area)

Solo flight — the first time a student flies the F-15 by himself

Sortie — flight mission

Stick — controls direction of the plane

Stitched — getting shot with bullets

Throttle — controls the speed and engine thrust

Tone/growl — radar lock

Vault — highly classified classroom, study room, and library… absolutely no visitors

Washing out — failing out of the program

Weapons Shop — tactical library less classified than Vault

Wing Man — flies off the wing of the flight lead


CO — commanding officer of the squadron

Green Belt — ground operations trainee

Ops O — operations officer, oversees day-to-day operations of squadron

SRO — senior ranking officer

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