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Being an Aircraft Maintenance Technician is a great profession, and it takes a lot of skill and knowledge (not to mention continuous, recurrent training) to be proficient at our craft.  We have to be able to understand and comprehend the functions of a state-of-the-art aircraft like the Boeing 737. We have to deal with formulas and measurements that must be within a thousandth of an inch, not to mention the many specialty tools that are required to perform these maintenance tasks.

However, somewhere along the way Aircraft Maintenance Technicians have simplified the terminology in our profession, so that we can better communicate with each other. We have nicknames for tools and different parts on the airplane that make our jobs fun and that much easier.

Here are a few words that will sound familiar to you but, while working on a Boeing 737, mean something totally different to an Aircraft Maintenance Technician:

I might use a "dog bone" to help remove the "canoe fairing" from the wing, or a "crow’s foot" to help install the "dorsal fin" on the upper aft section of the airplane. We might also notice that, after we lowered the wing flaps, the "elephant ear" needed adjusting. Or, after removing the number two engine, we found that the "turkey feathers" on the back of the engine were worn, and the "spinner" inside the inlet of the engine needed painting. And every now and then before we put the airplane back into service, we sometimes have to install new "eyebrow windows." Here's what I'm talking about:

Dog Bone


Dorsal Fin


Canoe Fairing


Elephant Ear


Eyebrow Windows


What are some of the whatchamacallits in your profession? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Ha! I knew them all. I was a KC1315 Crew Chief at Loring AFB.... Long ago when SAC was all awesomeness!
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I knew all those terms...dated a SWA aircraft maintenance tech!!! 😄 I always look up and see if it's a -300, -500, or -700!!!
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Ram rod
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Love these nicknames. We don't use anything so clever.
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The "Any" key ;-)
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Wow I understood you completely hehe Maybe its the AvGeek + The mechanical Engineering Degree haha. Great Article!
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On our helicopters, we have numerous "dog legs", "clam shell" , a "Christmas tree", "disco ball (AKA 'Mickey Mouse ears')", a few "dogs teeth", the "Hell hole" and the "Jesus nut".