Airspeed LPA Part 2 – Military Pilot-Speak – Audio Episode Show Notes

These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

We all admire military pilots.  They’re some of the best in the world at what they do.  And there are many reasons for that.  They’re talented to begin with.  They’re highly trained.  And they have built up around themselves a culture that preserves the mystique and morale associated with military aviation.

That culture is a really useful thing.  Especially its language.  Military pilots use a whole slough of technical terms, jargon, and inside jokes that do everything from make their communications more concise to instantly identifying one pilot to another in a crowd.  And it’s a major source of morale in what is, after all, a very demanding field.

Airspeed recently aired the first part of its series called “The Airspeed LPA.”  Many Air Force squadrons have “Lieutenant Protection Associations” or “LPAs.”  These are informal groups of O-1s and 2s who, among other things, ease junior members of a squadron into the life of a military pilot.  The Navy has its Junior Officer Protection Associations (or “JOPAs”) that include O-3s, but I’ve flown with mostly Air Force units through the first six years of Airspeed, so I’m using the LPA moniker here.

The purpose of the Airspeed LPA is to provide a primer – a gouge, if you will – about military aviation culture.  Some of it is entertaining.  Some of it is helpful to your flying.  Much of it will help you to avoid seeming like a rube if you find yourself engaged in conversation with a military pilot.  And all of it is a doorway to better understanding the military aviation community.

(And I wanted to do an episode that Matt would like.  Hey, Matt!)

The first installment of the Airspeed LPA featured the military tradition of challenge coins.  This, the second installment of the LPA, focuses on the language and nuances of military pilot-speak.

Some of the terminology you’ll hear in this episode consists of NATO Brevity Codes.  These are spoken code words designed to convey very specific information in a minimum amount of time on the radio.  In the show notes, most of the all-caps words that aren’t acronyms are NATO Brevity Codes.  For the spoken descriptions in the episode, I’ll call out NATO Brevity Codes as such.

Some of the terminology here might not be suitable for family consumption.  There are sexual references, allusions to bodily functions, and similar stuff.  Nothing worse than what you’d expect in a PG-13 movie, so don’t get your shorts in a bunch.

Much of the material applies generically to all US and NATO military aviation.  A disproportionately large portion comes from fighter-bomber operations.  A disproportionately large portion comes from the fixed-wing community.  And a disproportionate amount comes from US Air Force operations, if only because I haven’t spent as much time in the company of Naval Aviators.

So, with that, let’s kick off the second episode of the Airspeed LPA.

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