Test Pilot

February 1, 1997


  1. If an aircraft engine has a fuel consumption of 20 gph, how many gallons of uncompressed air does it consume per hour?
  2. In 1935, the famous humorist, _____, and noted around-the-world pilot, _____, were killed while departing Point Barrow, Alaska, in a Lockheed floatplane.
  3. The most current general aviation transceivers have _____ channels that cover the VHF frequency band from _____ to _____ MHz.
  4. Reader Penny Wilson asks: How did the Piper Cub come to be called a Cub?
  5. Reader Christopher R. Ekland asks: Ignoring pilot physiology and cargo bay constraints, if a Cessna 172 is pushed downward from an orbiting space shuttle, would the flight controls become effective soon enough to prevent damaging frictional heating and allow the aircraft to be glided safely to earth?
  6. In general, why is there more cloudiness associated with a low-pressure system than with a high?
  7. May a tower controller allow an airplane to land on a runway that is occupied by an airplane that has just landed?
  8. With respect to flight in icing conditions, when the outside air temperature is between 0 and minus 10 degrees C, ______ ice (type of structural ice) can generally be expected; when the OAT is between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees C, _____ ice can be anticipated.


  1. If indicated rate of climb or descent is multiplied by 10, vertical speed is expressed (approximately) in
    1. kilometers per hour.
    2. knots.
    3. miles per hour.
    4. none of the above
  2. For atmospheric conditions to be unstable, the adiabatic lapse rate generally must be _____ the ambient lapse rate.
    1. greater than
    2. equal to
    3. less than
    4. does not matter
  3. If the air at a given location is warmer than standard, the pressure lapse rate (everything else being equal) at sea level is
    1. more than 1 inch of Hg per 1,000 feet.
    2. less than 1 inch of Hg per 1,000 feet.
    3. 1 inch per 1,000 feet.
    4. cannot be determined


  1. 16,000 gallons. Reciprocating engines consume 8,000 parts of air (by volume) for each part of fuel.
  2. Will Rogers, Wiley Post
  3. 760, 118.000, 136.975
  4. The airplane was originally powered by a 20-hp, two-cylinder Brownback "Tiger Kitten" engine. Because a tiger kitten is a cub, the company's accountant, Gilbert Hadrel, was inspired to call the little airplane a Cub.
  5. No. The extraordinary true airspeed (even at only 50 KIAS) would result in damaging heat, compression, and destructive Mach airspeed effects. Not much of the structure would make it to Earth. (My thanks to astronaut Jay Apt for this answer.)
  6. A low is characterized by rising air, which is cooled and is a primary cause of cloudiness. A high is characterized by subsidence (descending air), which results in warming and a decrease in cloudiness.
  7. Yes, but only during daylight hours and when a safe distance separates the airplanes.
  8. Clear, rime. Mixed clear and rime generally can be expected between minus 10 and minus 15 degrees C (according to FAA Advisory Circular 91-51A).
  9. b. A VSI indicates vertical speed in thousands of feet per minute. For example, 6,000 fpm is shown as "6." Six thousand fpm equals approximately 1 nm per minute, which equals 60 knots. Multiplying 6 by 10 also results in 60.
  10. c. In this way, rising air being cooled adiabatically remains warmer than the surrounding air and continues to rise on its own accord.
  11. b. Because warm air is less dense than cold air, it takes a greater gain in altitude for pressure to decrease a given amount when climbing in warm air than is required in cold air.