Test Pilot

November 1, 1999


  1. A nonrigid airship maintains its shape because of the gas pressure within its envelope. It has no internal structure. How did such an aircraft come to be called a blimp?
  2. A pilot shuts down an engine, but it continues to operate in a somewhat irregular manner for some time after the ignition is turned off. In an automobile, this is referred to as dieseling. When it occurs in an airplane, it is called _________ and is caused by _________.
  3. When flying new or modified airplanes, test pilots occasionally enter spins (intentionally or otherwise) from which recovery using the flight controls may not be possible. How do they recover from such spins?
  4. State within 10 degrees Fahrenheit the coldest temperature (exclusive of wind-chill factor) ever recorded on Earth in the free atmosphere.
  5. A pilot overhears an air carrier pilot transmitting, "Los Angeles Tower, this is United Thirty-Six, Lufthansa Boeing 747, over." What does this seemingly contradictory transmission indicate?
  6. Japanese pilots who sacrificed their lives in suicidal missions during World War II were called kamikaze pilots. In Japanese, kamikaze means "divine wind." Why were these pilots so named?


  1. Reunion, a tiny island in the South Indian Ocean, holds several world records for rainfall. During a 24-hour period beginning on January 7, 1966, the measured rainfall there was
    1. 26.8 inches.
    2. 41.8 inches.
    3. 56.8 inches.
    4. 71.8 inches.
  2. Only 10 civilian aircraft were certified during World War II. After the war, however, there was a flurry of certification activity. Which of the following was the first to receive its approved type certificate after the war?
    1. Aeronca 7AC Champion
    2. Beech Model 35 Bonanza
    3. Ercoupe 415
    4. Piper J-3 Cub
  3. A piston-powered airplane and a turbine-powered airplane are being operated under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. According to the FAR, the piston engine _____ be overhauled when it reaches TBO, and the turbine engine _____ be overhauled when it reaches TBO.
    1. does not have to, must
    2. does not have to, does not have to
    3. must, must
    4. must, does not have to


  1. Match the following aviation writers with their respective works:
    Richard Bach a. Fate is the Hunter
    Robert Buck b. Flight of the Intruder
    Stephen Coonts c. Flying Know-How
    Ernest Gann d. High Flight
    Assen Jordanoff e. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
    Wolfgang Langewiesche f. Song of the Sky
    Charles Lindbergh g. Stick and Rudder
    John Magee h. Through the Overcast
    Guy Murchie i. We
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry j. Wind, Sand, and Stars


  1. During World War I, Lt. A.D. Cunningham of the Royal Navy Air Service commanded the air station at Capel, England. While walking along His Majesty's (nonrigid) Airship SS-12, he flipped his thumb playfully at the taut fabric "gasbag" and verbalized the odd sound that this made: "blimp."
  2. Preignition. It is caused by carbon deposits or other hot spots in one or more cylinders that can ignite fuel in the combustion chambers after the magnetos have been turned off.
  3. A small anti-spin drag chute is installed on the tail (usually). Deployment of the chute during a spin arrests rotation and raises the tail (reduces the wings' angle of attack), which facilitates recovery (especially from flat spins). The chute is jettisoned from the aircraft immediately following spin recovery.
  4. 128.6 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 89.2 degrees Celsius) at Vostok Station, Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.
  5. United Airlines is operating its Flight 36 using a Boeing 747 with a Lufthansa Airlines paint scheme.
  6. They were named after the typhoon ("divine winds") that saved Japan from invasion in the 1280s. Japan hoped that the modern-day kamikazes would be equally effective in preventing a feared invasion by the United States.
  7. (d) On the same day, tropical cyclone Denise also produced 45 inches of measured rainfall during a 12-hour period.
  8. (a) The "Champ" (or "Airknocker") was certified on October 18, 1945, and by August 1946, 43 of them per day were rolling out of the factory. The Cub and the Ercoupe were certified before the war, and the Bonanza was certified on March 25, 1947.
  9. (a) Piston engines operated for hire must be overhauled upon reaching TBO, but those being operated privately need not be (as long as they remain airworthy). The TBO for turbine engines is mandatory whether operated for hire or not.
  10. Richard Bach, (e) Jonathan Livingston Seagull
    Robert Buck, (c) Flying Know-How
    Stephen Coonts, (b) Flight of the Intruder
    Ernest Gann, (a) Fate is the Hunter
    Assen Jordanoff, (h) Through the Overcast
    Wolfgang Langewiesche, (g) Stick and Rudder
    Charles Lindbergh, (i) We
    John Magee, (d) High Flight
    Guy Murchie, (f) Song of the Sky
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, (j) Wind, Sand, and Stars