Aeronautical Terms beginning with R

Rabbit, the

High-intensity flasher system installed at many large airports. The flashers consist of a series of brilliant blue-white bursts of light flashing in sequence along the approach lights, giving the effect of a ball of light traveling towards the runway.


Radio Detection And Ranging.

Radar approach

The controller provides vectors while monitoring the progress of the flight with radar, guiding the pilot through the descent to the airport/heliport or to a specific runway.


The courses oriented from a station.

Radio or radar altimeter

An electronic altimeter that determines the height of an aircraft above the terrain by measuring the time needed for a pulse of radio-frequency energy to travel from the aircraft to the ground and return.

Radio frequency (RF)

A term that refers to alternating current (AC) having characteristics such that, if the current is input to antenna, an electromagnetic (EM) field is generated suitable for wireless broadcasting and/or communications.

Radio magnetic indicator (RMI)

An electronic navigation instrument that combines a magnetic compass with an ADF or VOR. The card of the RMI acts as a gyro-stabilized magnetic compass, and shows the magnetic heading the aircraft is flying.

Radio wave

An electromagnetic wave (EM wave) with frequency characteristics useful for radio transmission.

Random RNAV routes

Direct routes, based on area navigation capability, between waypoints defined in terms of latitude/longitude coordinates, degree-distance fixes, or offsets from established routes/airways at a specified distance and direction.

Ranging signals

Transmitted from the GPS satellite, these allow the aircrafts receiver to determine range (distance) from each satellite.

Receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM).

A system used to verify the usability of the received GPS signals and warns the pilot of any malfunction in the navigation system. This system is required for IFR-certified GPS units.

Recommended altitude

An altitude depicted on an instrument approach chart with the altitude value neither underscored nor overscored. The depicted value is an advisory value.

Receiver-transmitter (RT)

A system that receives and transmits a signal and an indicator.

Reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM)

Reduces the vertical separation between flight level (FL) 290-410 from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet and makes six additional FLs available for operation. Also see DRVSM.

Reference circle

The circle depicted in the plan view of an IAP chart that typically has a 10 NM radius, within which chart the elements are drawn to scale. (also, distance circle)

Regions of command

The regions of normal and reversed command refers to the relationship between speed and the power required to maintain or change that speed in flight.

Relative bearing (RB)

The angular difference between the aircraft heading and the direction to the station, measured clockwise from the nose of the aircraft.

Relative bearing indicator (RBI)

Also known as the fixed- card ADF, zero is always indicated at the top of the instrument and the needle indicates the relative bearing to the station.

Relative wind

Direction of the airflow produced by an object moving through the air. The relative wind for an airplane in flight flows in a direction parallel with and opposite to the direction of flight; therefore, the actual flight path of the airplane determines the direction of the relative wind.

Remote communications outlet (RCO)

An unmanned communications facility that is remotely controlled by air traffic personnel.

Required navigation performance (RNP)

A specified level of accuracy defined by a lateral area of confined airspace in which an RNP-certified aircraft operates.

Restricted area

Airspace designated under 14 CFR part 73 within which the flight of aircraft, while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restriction.

Reverse sensing

The VOR needle appearing to indicate the reverse of normal operation.


The photosensitive pigments that initiate the visual response in the rods of the eye.


The characteristic of a gyroscope that prevents its axis of rotation tilting as the Earth rotates.

Rime ice

Rough, milky, opaque ice formed by the instantaneous freezing of small supercooled water droplets.


The future impact of a hazard that is not eliminated or controlled.

Runway end identifier lights (REIL)

A pair of synchronized flashing lights, located laterally on each side of the runway threshold, providing rapid and positive identification of the approach end of a runway.

Runway visibility value (RVV)

The visibility determined for a particular runway by a transmissometer.

Runway visual range (RVR)

The instrumentally derived horizontal distance a pilot should be able to see down the runway from the approach end, based on either the sighting of high-intensity runway lights, or the visual contrast of other objects.

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