Test Pilot

August 1, 1997


  1. Reader Larry Johnston asks: What pair of famous brothers, who also were machinists, built the first successful man-carrying aircraft?
  2. What official state aeronautical chart currently contains a symbol for, and displays the location of, a UFO crash site?
  3. Reader Harold D. Gordon asks: Explain how it is possible to fly with the To-From flag in the Off position and the CDI deflected fully right. Shortly thereafter and while maintaining the same track, the CDI swings fully left and remains there while the To-From flag remains in the Off position.
  4. A pilot in cruise flight with a fuel-injected engine notices the simultaneous onset of engine roughness and excessive fuel pressure. What should be done to resolve the problem?
  5. After witnessing a successful balloon flight in France, this well-known individual was asked, "What good is it?" The now-famous response was, "What good is a newborn baby?" Who was this person?


  1. The first woman CEO of a scheduled airline was
    1. Jacqueline Cochran
    2. Leona Helmsley
    3. Maureen O'Hara
    4. Lana Turner
  2. Which of the following does not belong?
    1. Repair broken landing light bulbs
    2. Replace, clean, and gap spark plugs
    3. Replace fuel line connections
    4. Replace hydraulic hose connections
  3. Many World War II airplanes were all-metal except their control surfaces, which were covered with fabric. The primary purpose for using fabric on such airplanes was to
    1. reduce aircraft gross weight.
    2. reduce manufacturing cost.
    3. reduce the possibility of flutter.
    4. simplify repairs in the field.


  1. The world duration record for a rubber-band-powered model airplane flown indoors is almost an hour.
  2. In the Northern Hemisphere, Coriolis force causes fluids to circulate clockwise about high pressure and counterclockwise about low. Therefore, Coriolis force causes the water in a flushed toilet bowl in the United States to drain counterclockwise.
  3. While performing a pretakeoff magneto check using a conventional key-type rotary ignition switch, a pilot observes noticeable engine roughness with the switch in the "R" position. The problem involves the left magneto.
  4. Reader Harold D. Gordon asks: All airports with an operating control tower are in either Class B, C, or D airspace.
  5. Shortly after takeoff in a Cessna 337 Skymaster, the pilot experiences failure of the rear engine. This results in noticeably poorer climb performance than if the front engine had failed.


  1. A wind triangle consists of six elements: true course, true heading, true airspeed, groundspeed, wind speed, and wind direction. Given any four of these elements, it is possible to construct a wind triangle to find the other two. If GS=142 knots, TC=037 degrees, TH=028 degrees, and WD=333 degrees, determine true airspeed and wind speed.


  1. The Montgolfier brothers, Jacques and Joseph, built and launched a man-carrying balloon in 1783.
  2. New Mexico. The site is 55 nm from the Chisum (CME) Vortac (near Roswell) on the 310-degree radial. It is uncertain whether conventional aircraft are permitted to crash there.
  3. The pilot flies toward, over, and beyond a VOR station with a selected course that is approximately 90 degrees left of track.
  4. In most cases, the fuel-air mixture should be leaned until the roughness disappears.
  5. Benjamin Franklin, who was the U.S. diplomatic representative to France at the time.
  6. (c) The famous Hollywood actress was also an aviation pioneer and headed the Caribbean-based airline Antilles Air Boats.
  7. (d) FAR Part 43 defines the other tasks as being allowed under the provisions of preventative maintenance that can be performed by pilots as long as they do not involve complex assembly operations.
  8. (c) Fabric reduced the weight of the control surface aft of the hinge line, which reduced the likelihood of flutter.
  9. True. This remarkable record of 58 minutes, 8 seconds was set in 1996 by Stephen Brown and required 2,390 windings of the propeller.
  10. False. According to Weatherwise magazine, a draining toilet bowl is too small to be affected by Coriolis force. Fluid flow rotates in either direction with equal probability and is determined by other factors. Coriolis effect can be detected by draining a very large tank or swimming pool that has stood still for hours.
  11. False. With the key in the "R" position, the engine is being operated on the right magneto and is the source of the problem.
  12. False. According to the AIM, if the control tower does not provide weather reporting (a requirement for surface-based controlled airspace), it is in Class G airspace (although it might underlie Class E airspace).
  13. True. The rear engine of a Skymaster provides more thrust than the front engine. This presumably occurs because the fuselage does not interfere with the air being thrust rearward by the pusher propeller.
  14. True airspeed is 156 knots and wind speed is 28 knots. The easiest way to solve this problem is to use a manual, E-6B-style computer or to construct a wind triangle using pencil, paper, and plotter. Most electronic computers are not programmed to solve such a problem.