FAQ: Pilot Slang


Ever been flying along on your CAP or running a SAR op and wondered to yourself "Hmm…What does CAP mean, anyway?" And why did my wingman just sound scared when he called "Mad Dog" behind me? This neat page will give you the proper parlance to talk the talk of a Viper or Raptor jockey. It even provides some cute phrases to use back aboard Cerberus.

  • This page has profanity, so if you're one of the sensitive types? Go away.
  • Novella's player (from the original Genesis MUSH) modified this list for the Battlestar MUSHers of this game and any future Battlestar MU*s. If you have any questions about what's on here or need a better explanation, contact the player for further information or ask on a channel. Eventually there may be a proper page made about how the Navy conducts landings, how an LSO does their job, and how to really "Call the Ball."
  • The list was originally compiled and written by Walt Chamberlain. It is almost entirely his creation with small additions made and a lot of irrelevant material removed. A Viper pilot wouldn't know the fun nickname for Mountain Home AFB.
Table of Contents


  • AAA: Anti-Aircraft Artillery. Also "Triple-A" or "flak;" heavy version of the AA gun, often mounted on a battlestar or baseship. Can also be employed by ground forces. — "The Cerberus and Corsair have a Triple-A ring running at two klicks. Stay out of it."

The Battlestar Galactica's Flak Ring

  • AAM: Air-to-Air Missile. In BSG, the missiles are dual-purpose so the term is interchangeable. — "I fired an AAM and exited the combat zone."
  • AANCH: All Afterburner, No Compass Heading. Moving a lot with nothing being accomplished. - "The new Lieutenant is All Afterburner with No Compass Heading."
  • ACM: Air Combat Maneuvering. — "We were performin' some serious ACM on that Op yesterday."
  • AGL: Above Ground Level. Measure of a plane's altitude above the terrain it is flying over. In other words, a plane maybe be flying at 1,500 ft. ASL, but be only 500 ft. off the ground. — "We ingressed to the Raptor crash site at about two-thousand AGL."
  • AGM: Air-to-Ground Missile. In BSG, the missiles are dual-purpose so the term is interchangeable. — "I fired an AGM and exited the combat zone."
  • AGS: Aircraft Generation Squadron. The crew chiefs and everyone else involved in the day to day business of sortie generation. In BSG, this would be the Deck Department. AKA: Ain’t Generating Shit, Ain’t Got Shit. — "Hey Chief! How's the AGS today?"
  • Alpha Mikey Foxtrot: Pronounced phonetic alphabet for AMF. Salutations to someone/something the pilot doesn't like. Stands for 'Adios Motherfrakker.'
  • AoA: Angle of Attack. Aerodynamic angle formed between the chord of an airfoil and the direction of the relative wind. Explained Here - "I was about eighty degrees AoA when I squeezed off the rounds into the Raider."
  • ASE: Aircraft Survivability Equipment. An aircraft's defensive systems (DWR, jammers, chaff, and flares). — "The Raider popped off a missile but my ASE worked."


  • Bandit: Dogfight adversary positively identified as a bad guy. Hostile aircraft. (see: Gomer) - "Bandits! One o'clock high!!"
  • Barn: A hangar. The Deck/BSG. — "Alright, everyone back to the barn."
  • Bogey: Unidentified aircraft. — "Cerberus, Switchfoot Lead. You've got a single bogey at your three o'clock, 20 klicks."
  • Boards: Speed brakes. — "Pop your boards to force an overshoot."
  • BARCAP: Barrier Combat Air Patrol. Fighters form a "barrier" to prevent enemy aircraft from entering a designated airspace or approaching a friendly target. Generally set up along most probable corridor of approach, often involves fighter relays. — "Today's tasking has us on our normal BARCAP with two Vipers per team, in four teams, watching for Bandits."
  • Bear: The Electronic Countermeasures Officer (ECO); the "guy-in-back" (GIB). Refers to pilot’s opinion that a trained bear can replace the GIB. Can be used as an insult or to show affection. — "Hey Bear, whats the story with that DRADIS?"
  • Bingo: 1. Minimum fuel for a comfortable and safe return to base. Aircraft can fly and fight past bingo fuel in combat situations, but at considerable peril. 2. Can also refer to any zero condition. - "The Lt. is bingo leadership."
  • Bitching Betty: The female voice which is the voice warning system in the Vipers and Raptors. Also known as "Betty." - "I took a few rounds to the wing and Betty wouldn't shut up about the stab failure."
  • Behind the Power Curve: Not keeping up with expectations. Technically, any airspeed less than that for the maximum lift-to-drag ratio, which is that portion of the power curve (a graphical plot of engine power vs. aircraft speed) at which the aircraft requires more power to go slower in steady level flight. — "Airman Jones is way behind the power curve."
  • Blind: Unable to see your wingman/leader. — "Viper Six-One, this is Viper Six-Two. I'm blind your location."
  • Bought the Farm: Died. Originated from the practice of the government reimbursing farmers for crops destroyed due to aviation accidents on their fields. The farmers, knowing a good thing when they see it, would inflate the value of lost crops to the point that, in effect, the mishap pilot "bought the farm." Student pilots regularly practice emergency landings to farmer’s fields. This is a term used exclusively by pilots, for pilots (or someone the pilots hold dear). — "Did you hear? Lieutenant Goober bought the farm last night. Raiders jumped him while he was solo."
  • Box Office: Formerly known as the Cockpit. Renamed by Female Pilots. — "I was gettin' into the Box Office when the Chief grabbed me."

Viper Mark II "Box Office"

  • BVR: Beyond Visual Range. — "No joy on the Raiders, Cerberus. They're still BVR."


  • CAP: Combat Air Patrol. Pronounced like it sounds. Cruising at medium-to-high altitude over a certain area in search of enemy planes. This is improperly used in the BSG universe. CAPs are performed at range from "Home." The "CAP" that Adama keeps around the fleet is actually a BARCAP. — "We're going to jump back to the Colonies, launch Vipers, and have them perform a CAP around Picon Fleet Headquarters." In game terms, a CAP consists of at least two Vipers one and one Raptor, and is flown 24-7 around the Fleet. It serves as an early-warning system for enemy aircraft, and a first-response line of defense for anything awry out in space.
  • CAG: Commander, Air Group. Pronounced like it sounds. This person is the ranking officer and leader of the Air Wing. The title is given regardless of rank. Technically, a Lieutenant JG could be the CAG. However it is generally a position bestowed upon Captains and Majors. Also worth noting is that CAG's have no requirement to be Viper pilots. Raptor pilots and ECOs may hold this position as well. — "The CAG is Captain Bumblenuts."
  • Carrier Landings: Drinking game wherein shit faced pilots, GIB’s and the occasional crew chief would leap unto a greased platform, a table or (even better) the bar and try to catch the "wire". The "wire" is a rope or other suitable restraint (I’ve seen ties used). The object is to slide under the wire and "hook" it with uplifted calves. Hint: Ice works pretty good to lube the deck. — "Okay sticks! Lets separate the drunks from the losers. Time for Carrier Landings!!"
  • CAS: Close Air Support. Dropping bombs/firing missiles in support of ground troops — also known as an air strike, MUDCAP. Pronounced how it sounds. — "The Marines are pinned by about fifty cylons surrounding their position. We're going to go in and provide CAS."
  • Charlie Foxtrot: This is the phonetic alphabet for CF. CF is a quick way of saying 'Clusterfrak.' - "That CAP yesterday was a complete Charlie Foxtrot thanks to the Rook."
  • Check Six: Visual observation of the rear quadrant, from which most air-to-air attacks can be expected. Refers to the clock system of scanning the envelope around the aircraft; 12 o’clock is straight ahead, 6 o’clock is directly astern. Also a common salutation and greeting among tactical pilots. Keep an eye on your behind, be careful. — "Hey Ensign, check six. The Major is looking for you and he's pissed."
  • Crew Dog: The crew chief, the person responsible for the day to day condition of the aircraft. — "Hey Crew Dog. How's the Deck tonight?"
  • Cold Shot: Real aircraft carriers and Battlestars both use catapults to launch aircraft to take-off speed. This is more relevant a Viper in order to make sure that the Viper isn't a slow moving target when it leaves the tube. A 'Cold Shot' is a catapult failure of varying magnitudes. It is called out by either the Launch Officer or the Viper pilot to indicate that something is wrong during launch down the tube.
  • Conehead: Electronic specialists. — "Call the Coneheads, the DRADIS is frakked-up again."
  • CM: Countermeasures. Used by airborne vehicles in defense against air-to-air or SAM weapons (chaff, flares, and jammers). — "Missile inbound! Dump CM and break right!"
  • Colonial Navy Form 1: Toilet Paper. AKA: CNF1


  • DCS: DRADIS Cross-Section. How large your aircraft appears on DRADIS and subsequently how easy it is to detect. Has to do with reflection of radio waves. — "The Raptors have a bigger DCS than a Viper because they're so frakkin' bulky."
  • DRADIS: Direction, RAnge, and DIStance. The BSG equivalent of radar.
  • Dirty: Aircraft configured for landing with gear and flaps down. — "Cerberus, Viper Two-Four. Dirty."
  • Doofer: Generic name for symbols on the HUD and other mysterious lights associated with the avionics package. — "We were in that furball and a doofer distracted me. Nearly got me killed."
  • Drag: Force that counteracts an object in motion through the air, such as air resistance or an irritating CO. — "The new CAG is a total drag."
  • DWR: DRADIS Warning Receiver. Aircraft device that warns the pilot if he is being tracked by an enemy missile guidance system or air intercept DRADIS. — "DWR is screaming! Where's the Bandit?!"


  • ECM: Electronic Countermeasures. Countermeasures that use the electromagnetic spectrum to confuse or defeat enemy DRADIS and sensor systems. — "Raptors, lets get the ECM cookin'."
  • ECO: Electronic Countermeasures Officer. Backseater in a Raptor. AKA: Bear


  • FAC: Pronounced like it sounds. It stands for Forward Air Controller. Essentially this is someone on the ground who is a professional at coordinating aircraft overhead to provide CAS for the troops.
  • Fangs Out: An aircraft in the attack. — "He rolled in Fangs Out."
  • Flight Suit Insert: A pilot. AKA: "Stick Actuator," "Drag in a Bag" and "Stick-Throttle Interconnect," and "Zipper Suited Sun Gods."
  • FNG: Frakking New Guy. — "Hey CAG, who's the FNG?"
  • FOD: Foreign Object Damage. A constant concern on airfields and carrier decks where jet engines operate. Jet intakes can ingest loose objects, and even the smallest item — a rock, a bolt — can seriously damage jet turbine blades. Since it was commonly used as a noun, "I found some FOD on the ramp." the term Foreign Object Debris is commonly used.
  • Fox 1: DRADIS-guided missile shot. — "Torch, Fox One!"
  • Fox 2: Infrared Homing Missile shot. — "Torch, Fox Two!"
  • Fox 3: Unguided missile shot. AKA: Mad Dog - "Torch, Fox Three! Fox Three!"
  • Furball: A confused aerial engagement with many combatants. Several aircraft in tight ACM. — "That furball was pretty intense. Might have to change shorts."


  • GIB: Guy in Back. Pronounced how it sounds. Slang term for ECO. (See Bear) - "Hey GIB! What's the news?"
  • Gimble: The automatic meatball on the ILS that tells a pilot how high or low off the glideslope they are. — "The gimble's busted again, Chief."

The "Gimble" off of a US Navy aircraft carrier.
This lighting position indicates the pilot is so low that they need to "Wave Off."

  • Going to Guns: Switching to cannon. Assuming leadership. Taking control of any situation. — "Viper Six-Four! Guns Guns Guns!!"
  • Gomer: Slang for a dogfight adversary, the usage stemming from the old Gomer Pyle television show. — "Damned Gomer wouldn't stop maneuvering."


  • HMFIC: The Head Motherfrakker in Charge. — "Who's the HMFIC around here?"
  • Hands-On Approach: A landing conducted only by hand and without the aid of on-board guidance packages. (BSG Only) - "Viper One-Four, Cerberus. You're cleared into the break for a hands-on approach."
  • Hangar Queen: An aircraft that suffers chronic "downs"; hangar queens are often pirated for spares for the squadron’s other aircraft (the "queen’s" ejection seats are especially well preflighted). — "What's the hanger queen leaking today?"
  • Head on a Swivel: Keeping an eye peeled for an ACM adversary. — "Pilots, keep your head on a swivel and watch for them to jump in behind us."
  • High Alpha: A term used to describe something happening at a high Angle of Attack (See AoA). A guns kill, missile shot, something breaking. — "I was pretty high alpha when I squeezed the trigger."
  • Hop: A flight. A taxi run. Generic term for leaving the ship in your own aircraft. — "Wanna run as my Bear this hop?"
  • HUD: Heads-Up Display. Pronounced like it sounds. Glass mounted at the front of the cockpit. The pilot looks forward through the glass, and important combat and flight information is reflected onto the HUD and superimposed over his view of the outside world. — "I was staring at the cylon right out my HUD while we were firing."

The HUD from a USAF F20 Tigershark.
The heading tape across the top indicates magnetic compass direction of travel, which is 345.
The boxed number on the left is the indicated airspeed (including wind).
The boxed number on the right is the radar-altitude (distance to packed Earth, not sea-level) given in feet.


  • IFF: Identification Friend or Foe. A coded message sent to a target's IFF transponder. — "IFF lists those bogies as having Colonial Transponders!"
  • ILS: Instrument Landing System. A radio device at airfields that assists pilots in low-visibility landings. In BSG, this can be used to describe a Battlestar’s automated flight landing system. — "ILS is busted again."
  • In Hot: Moving-in on the attack. Getting ready for a fight. — "Black Squadron, weapons armed! You're cleared hot!"
  • IR: Infrared. Range of the electromagnetic spectrum where a signal's intensity is directly related to its heat signature. — "I was picking up a serious IR signature off the planet."


  • Jammer: Electronic countermeasure that emits microwaves to distort/confuse enemy DRADIS. — "We're being jammed!"
  • Jig: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) - "Hey Jig, what's happenin'?"
  • Jink: To maneuver violently to avoid a threat. — "I jinked to ditch that SAM."
  • Judy: Radio call signaling that your quarry is in sight and you are taking control of the intercept. — "Darkstar, Judy, Judy. I’m going in for guns."


  • Kick the Tires and Light the Fires: Formerly, to bypass or severely shorten the required routine of physically inspecting the aircraft prior to flight. Currently meaning "Let’s get this aircraft preflighted and outta here pronto!"
  • Klick: One kilometer. — "Radiological alarm! One Cylon missile bearing one-two-two carom oh-nine-seven, twenty klicks out and closing!"
  • Knock It Off: Cease maneuvering (as in BFM or ACM). Any pilot can call this at any time during training exercises for an emergency, but will be asked about it later. Only the CAG or squadron leader may call this in an actual engagement. — "We're getting chewed-up! All Vipers, knock it off!! Back to the barn!"


  • Leading: Refers to aiming just ahead of an enemy's flight path or a management technique seen on occasion. — "I was leading the cylon a little too much and my rounds missed."
  • Lights Out: DRADIS off. — "All Vipers, lights out!"
  • LPA: Lieutenant Protection Association. In the world of BSG, this would be known as the Chiefs and Petty Officers on the Flight Deck. — "Welcome to the LPA, sir. Time to pay dues. We'll take Colonial Express, beer, and ambrosia as your form of payment."


  • Mad Dog: An unguided missile. — "Toast, Mad Dog! Mad Dog!"
  • MUDCAP: An Air to Ground Mission. Aka, CAS. - "We were doing MUDCAP for some Marines."
  • Mud Mission: Any air to ground strike or bombing mission. — "We were doing a Mud Mission for some Marines."
  • Music: Electronic jamming intended to deceive DRADIS. When starting the jamming, the call would be "Raptor Six-Four, Music On!"
  • My Fun Meter is Pegged: Sarcastic comment for "I am not enjoying this any more."


  • No Joy: Failure to make visual sighting; or inability to establish radio communications. — "Cerberus, CAG. I am no joy on our bandits."
  • Nugget: A rookie pilot. Not inherently derogatory but often used as such. Also see FNG. — "Frakkin' nugget gets away with murder 'cause her nose is six feet up the CAG's ass."
  • Nylon Letdown: Ejection and subsequent parachute ride. — "Took a hit in atmo and had to take the Nylon Letdown."


  • Opportunity to Excel: A disagreeable job without the time or resources to properly complete. Often accompanied by YGBSM. — "Parker, here's an opportunity to excel: I need you to pre-flight all the Vipers on your own in 20 minutes."


  • PK Factor: Probability of Kill Factor. Given in tenths and measured in percents. If a missile has a PK Factor of .85, then the chance that the target will be "killed" is 85%. — "Our missiles have a PK in atmo of nearly point-nine-three."
  • Punch Out: To eject from an aircraft. To leave. — "This party is dead. Let’s punch out."


  • RCS: Reactive Control System. Thrusters on all Colonial vessels used to move the ship to port/starboard and to yaw and rotate the ship. Typically used for attitude control during entry into atmosphere, maintaining orbit, close maneuvering and docking, and orientation control (pointing the nose of a vessel). Vipers, Raptors, and smaller craft use "cold" RCS systems activated by a hypergolic fuel mixture; large vessels like battlestars use massive fuel-burning thrusters, relying on the brute force of such systems to overcome inertia during maneuvers. — "Easy on the RCS, will you? The bird's bucking worse than your mom on a Saturday night."
  • RTB: Originally known as Return to Base. Can be used as Return to Barn/Battlestar. — "Cerberus, Black Lead. We are RTB at this time."


  • SAM: Surface-to-Air Missile. — "SAM Launch! Break and bust CM!"
  • Sandy: Radio callsign of aircraft providing Close Air Support during a Search and Rescue operation. A flight of four aircraft during that type of operation would be known as Sandy-11, Sandy-12, Sandy-13, and Sandy-14. Said as "One-Two, One-Three, etc." Nobody says "thirteen."
  • SAR: Search and Rescue. Pronounced like it sounds. — "SAR bird is inbound."
  • Sierra Hotel: Phonetic abbreviation for "shit hot," high praise; the pilot’s favorite and all-purpose expression of approval. — "Sierra Hotel!! Nice shot, Booger!"
  • Speed of Heat: Very, very fast. — "We egressed the target at the Speed of Heat."
  • Static Display: Aircraft on display as at an air show. Inactive or worthless. — "Airman Jones is on Static Display."
  • Stall: "Loss of lift" condition that occurs when the angle of attack is too steep for the airfoil to provide any lift. During a stall, the normally streamlined flow of air over the blade is disrupted. — "I didn't have enough throttle when we broke atmo and started to stall."
  • Swap Paint: Euphemism for a mid-air collision. — "Viper Lead, Viper Six-Four. Two-Three and I swapped paint. Knock it off. Knock it off."


  • Throttle Back: To slow down, take it easy. - "Throttle back before your mouth gets you put in the brig."
  • Thrust: Horizontal, directional force that overcomes drag and powers the aircraft in the desired direction. — "Input thrust, Ensign. You're too slow."
  • Touch-and-Gos: Repeatedly falling asleep in a meeting or a class while trying desperately to stay awake. After nodding off, the person's head will dip forward almost to his chest, whereupon he will snap back into a very brief state of semi-consciousness and repeat the process. Named after practice landings where the aircraft descends, briefly touches down while still rolling forward, and quickly becomes airborne again. — "I was so exhausted during that debriefing, I was all Touch-and-Gos."


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  • Wave Off: A pilot blew their landing and this instruction will come from the LSO. It instructs the pilot to terminate their landing attempt and go around again. May also be used to warn someone of impending disaster. "You might want to wave off from that Lieutenant, man. She ain't stable."
  • Whiskey Charlie: Phonetics for "Who cares."
  • Winchester: Out of ammo. You shot up all your good stuff. — "Viper Lead, Viper Two-Four. I'm Winchester. RTB."
  • Wingman: Second pilot in a two-plane formation. Responsible for ensuring that his leader’s six o’clock remains clear. Your Buddy. — "You’re my wingman tonight, right?"


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  • YGBSM: Stands for "You've Gotta Be Shitting Me!!!" Commonly seen on unit patches where said unit typically has an impossible tasking. In real life, it began with the F-100 Wild Weasel pilots during the Vietnam War. Can be used in daily speech.

Wall mural of the unit's motto and mascot.


  • Zero-Dark-Thirty: Technically a half-hour after midnight, but commonly used to describe any event that is scheduled to take place after midnight and before sunrise. In the BSG world, this would be anytime "after hours" on the ship. — "What's with the exercises at Oh-Dark-Thirty lately??"
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