Aeronautical Terms beginning with H

Hand Propping

Starting an engine by rotating the propeller by hand.


The direction in which the nose of the aircraft is pointing during flight.

Heading Bug

A marker on the heading indicator that can be rotated to a specific heading for reference purposes, or to command an autopilot to fly that heading.

Heading Indicator

An instrument which senses airplane movement and displays heading based on a 360º azimuth, with the final zero omitted. The heading indicator, also called a directional gyro, is fundamentally a mechanical instrument designed to facilitate the use of the magnetic compass. The heading indicator is not affected by the forces that make the magnetic compass difficult to interpret.

Headwind Component

The component of atmospheric winds that acts opposite to the aircraft’s flightpath.

High Performance Aircraft

An aircraft with an engine of more than 200 horsepower.


The line of sight boundary between the earth and the sky.


The term, originated by inventor James Watt, means the amount of work a horse could do in one second. One horsepower equals 550 foot-pounds per second, or 33,000 foot-pounds per minute.

Hot Start

In gas turbine engines, a start which occurs with normal engine rotation, but exhaust temperature exceeds prescribed limits. This is usually caused by an excessively rich mixture in the combustor. The fuel to the engine must be terminated immediately to prevent engine damage.

Hung Start

In gas turbine engines, a condition of normal light off but with r.p.m. remaining at some low value rather than increasing to the normal idle r.p.m. This is often the result of insufficient power to the engine from the starter. In the event of a hung start, the engine should be shut down.


The branch of science that deals with the transmission of power by incompressible fluids under pressure.


A condition that exists when landing on a surface with standing water deeper than the tread depth of the tires. When the brakes are applied, there is a possibility that the brake will lock up and the tire will ride on the surface of the water, much like a water ski. When the tires are hydroplaning, directional control and braking action are virtually impossible. An effective anti-skid system can minimize the effects of hydroplaning.


A lack of sufficient oxygen reaching the body tissues.

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