Aviation Mnemomics

Let’s dive into the alphabet soup of aviation mnemonics.


Charath Ranganathan


November 5, 2023

GOOSE A CAT, CRAFT, HAND, etc. The list of acronyms that are used in aviation seems never-ending. The goal of this article is to list of some of the more common acronyms encountered by general aviation pilots. It could also be a useful tool to keep handy for a checkride.

Required Documents — ARROW

Acronym Explanation
A Airworthiness Certificate
R Registration Certificate
R Radio Operator’s License (optional)
O Operating Limitations (in POH, AFM, placards, etc.)
W Weight and Balance Information

Required Inspections — AAV1ATE

Acronym Explanation How Often
A Annual Inspection Every 12 months
A Airworthiness Directives As mandated by the AD
V VOR Inspection (For IFR flights only) Every 30 days
1 100-hr (if operated for rent/hire) Every 100-hours
A Altimeter & Pitot Static System Inspection Every 24 months
T Transponder Inspection Every 24 months
E Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Every 12 months

Required Equipment for Day VFR Flight — GOOSE A CAT

Acronym Explanation
G Gas (fuel) level gauge - for each fuel tank
O Oil pressure gauge
O Oil temperature gauge
S Seatbelts - for each occupant.
A Airspeed Indicator
C Compass
A Altimeter
T Tachometer - for each engine

For Complex Aircraft — GOOSE A ML CAT (Goose a Male Cat)

To the list above, add:

Acronym Explanation
M Manifold Pressure Gauge - for each engine
L Landing gear indicator

Required Equipment for Night VFR Flight — FLAPS

In addition to the equipment required for day VFR flight, add:

Acronym Explanation
F Fuses (one complete spare set)
L Landing light - if carrying persons for compensation or hire.
A Anti-collision lights
P Position lights
S Source of electricity (alternator, generator, etc.)

Required Equipment for IFR Operations — DEC A RAT

Acronym Explanation
D Directional gyro
E Electrical source
C Clock
A Attitude indicator
R Radios
A Altimeter (adjustable)
T Turn coordinator and slip/skid indicator

Required Preflight Preparation for Cross-country Flights — RAWFAT

Acronym Explanation
R Runway lengths at airports of intended use
A Alternates if the destination airport is unavailable
W Weather briefing
F Fuel requirements (remember https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.151 for VFR and https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.167 for IFR)
A ATC delays
T Takeoff and landing distance data

Components of a Weather Briefing — SACrED WiNd

Acronym Explanation
S Synopsis
A Adverse conditions
C Current conditions
R en Route forecast
D Destination forecast
W Winds aloft


Many of these acronyms were taken from the excellent site of Scott Cameron Todd

Back to top