Heading Bug – Words If by Sea, Words If by Air

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February 2012

Every human endeavor, whether blacksmithing, computer science, boating or aviation, has its unique nomenclature. The anthropologists will tell you—with a nervous glance at the higher apes and aquatic mammals—that it is the invention and use of words that defines us as human.

Disagreeing over the use of words, where they come from and how we use them, is also essentially human and has enlivened many a hangar flying session over the years. Just bring up “deduced,” abbreviated as “ded.,” versus “dead reckoning” in any group of pilots who learned to fly before the advent of GPS and you’ll see what I mean.

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