Top AeroSavvy Articles for 2016

AeroSavvy 2016 TopIt’s been a busy year for AeroSavvy. I’ve been overwhelmed by the thousands of visitors from all over the world who have read, commented on, and shared AeroSavvy articles. To celebrate the end of the year, here are the top 10 most read AeroSavvy posts for 2016!

If you enjoy AeroSavvy posts, be sure to share them with your friends.

10. How Pilots Communicate In Other Countries

AeroSavvy Top 2016 International CommunicationClear communication between pilots and air traffic controllers is absolutely necessary for safety. What happens when a flight crew flies to a country that speaks a different language? Just imagine: an Air China flight crew that speaks Mandarin arrives in Paris and must converse with French controllers. In order to communicate effectively, flight crews and controllers must share a common language.


9. Your Airliner Has A Hidden Engine!

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Auxiliary Power UnitDid you know that a Boeing 737 has three turbine engines? And the mighty Boeing 747 has five turbine engines?

Hiding inside the tail of most every airliner is an extra engine called an Auxiliary Power Unit or APU.  Time to find out what’s hidden in the tail of your aircraft!


8. Aircraft Engine Spirals & Swirls

AeroSavvy Top 2016 APU Hidden EngineSwirls and lines on engine spinners. The spiral shapes can been seen on jet engines everywhere. The many different designs and variations look cool on a spinning engine, but do they have a higher purpose?

The true reason for the fun designs may not be what you expected!


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7. Stuff Pilots (and Controllers) Say!

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Stuff Pilots and controllers sayOr:  Who do pilots talk to and what are they saying?

Everything you need to know to listen to pilot/controller radio conversations and understand (for the most part) what they are saying. Includes live, transcribed air traffic control audio and an aircraft radio buying guide!


6. How do pilots find their way?

AeroSavvy Top 2016 How do pilots find their way?Airliner navigation made easy! Find out how pilots can navigate an aircraft thousands of miles over the ocean and pinpoint a runway on the other side of the globe. The secret is the Flight Management System. Learn the basics of this amazing box!


5. Flying the North Atlantic Tracks

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Flying the North Atlantic Organized Track System NATSEach day, over 2000 aircraft travel across the Atlantic ocean bound for North America or Europe on the North Atlantic Organized Track System. Have you ever wondered how pilots navigate and communicate during the journey? Communication over the Atlantic is an interesting combination of modern digital messaging, satellite communication, and early 1900’s low-tech!


4. Airline Flying: Cargo vs Passengers

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Airline Flying Cargo vs PassengerThe number 1 question I get asked at cocktail parties: What’s it like to be a cargo pilot?

Cargo airlines are a mystery to the general public. Everyone is familiar with passenger airlines; it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t taken a ride or visited an air terminal. But the world of flying cargo is unknown to most. Find out the similarities and differences between flying passengers and cargo!

3. Aircraft Pressurization Beginner’s Guide

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Aircraft Pressurization Beginner's GuideIt’s easy to take flying for granted. We hop aboard a comfy airliner and fly high in the stratosphere without giving breathing a second thought. The aircraft’s pressurization system makes it possible. Here’s how the magic works…


2(a). Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs!

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Top 10 Coolest Airline CallsignsTied for #2 are two posts about call signs. I am amazed at how popular call signs are!

When pilots and air traffic controllers communicate on the radio, the airline’s call sign is always used along with the flight number; ex: “Delta 135.”  This helps assure communications are clear.

Airlines began using call signs back in the 1930’s.  Many carriers use their name as their call sign. Delta uses “Delta,” Singapore Airlines is “Singapore.” Occasionally, airlines will use some creativity when selecting a call sign. Here are 10 of the coolest call signs used by airlines!


2(b). 15 MORE Top 10 Coolest Airline Call Signs!

AeroSavvy Top 2016 15 More Top 10 Coolest Airline CallsignsThere are so many good call signs that the top 10 list just wasn’t enough! Here are 15 more of the coolest call signs that can be heard on the aviation airwaves. Keep reading and you’ll also get some call sign trivia – absolutely FREE!


1. Savvy Passenger Guide to Airplane Lights

AeroSavvy Top 2016 Savvy passenger guide to Airplane LightsThe number one, most popular AeroSavvy article for 2016 is The Savvy Passenger Guide to Airplane Lights!

Airplanes, especially big ones, are loaded with exterior lights. Here’s what they’re all for and how we use them!

More AeroSavvy Is on the Way in 2017

Have a safe and wonderful 2017!


  1. Happy New Year Ken.
    Really enjoy your articles. Although I am an aviation trainer, they do give me ideas of “enlightening” my trainees on the ways we do stuff in aviation. Especially with a smile on my and their faces.

    Keep up the good work.

    ps. Any chance of doing one on the poor old ramp guys and girls?

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