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Dec 18, 2003
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Words from aviation

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(ahm-puh-NAZH) Pronunciation RealAudio

noun: The tail assembly of an aircraft.

From French empennage (feathers of an arrow), from empenner (to feather an arrow), from em- + penner, from penne (feather), from Latin penna (feather).

Some other words derived from the same root are panache, pen, pin, pinnacle, and pennant. A picture of empennage.

"One cold, rainy afternoon on the roof of London's Heathrow airport, I came upon 20 men (and one woman) carefully noting the tail numbers -- the unique registration painted on the empennage of all commercial aircraft -- of each jet that took off and landed. (On a holiday, I was later told, there can be as many as 200 people.) Their hobby is the aviation equivalent of train-spotting."
Michael Scofield; Plane Spotting; Need a New Hobby? Los Angeles Times; Sep 28, 1997.

"The brown stripe runs the length of the white fuselage along the window line and the UPS logo is printed in gold on the brown empennage."
Matthew Brelis; On Weekends UPS Ships Passengers, Not Packages; The Boston Globe; Jun 22, 1999.


A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

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