Test Pilot

October 1, 2000


  1. Provide two reasons why it usually is more advantageous during VFR flight to lower the nose and increase airspeed when flying through a downdraft than it is to add power and attempt to maintain altitude.
  2. What is the Goldfish Club?
  3. Under what circumstances should a pilot start an engine with the fuel valve in the Off position?
  4. The empty weight and CG of an airplane must be recalculated whenever items are installed or removed. Specifically how much weight or CG change must occur before an amended weight-and-balance statement is required?
  5. Who were Jiro Horikoshi, James "Dutch" Kindelberger, Willy Messerschmitt, and Reginald Mitchell?
  6. Why did pilots of yore wear white silk scarves?
  7. In the name El Al Israel Airlines, what do the words El Al signify?


  1. In middle latitudes, the bases of low clouds (stratus, stratocumulus, and fair-weather cumulus) are normally found anywhere from the surface up to a height of _______, and the bases of high clouds (cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus) are normally found at a height at or above _______.
    1. 6,500 feet, 14,500 feet
    2. 6,500 feet, 16,500 feet
    3. 8,500 feet, 14,500 feet
    4. 8,500 feet, 16,500 feet
  2. Which one of the following is not true?
    1. The 172 was Cessna's first production airplane equipped with tricycle landing gear.
    2. The Hawker Siddeley Trident was the first production jetliner with an autoland system.
    3. On early model Boeing B–52 Stratofortresses, the tail gunner could escape the aircraft by jettisoning the entire tail turret.
    4. The pilot of the mammoth single-engine biplane, the Antonov An–2 Colt (Anusha or Little Anna), can use an on-board compressor to vary the air pressure in the oleo struts to suit the type of surface on which he intends to land.
  3. Fair-weather cumulus clouds are forming overhead at a time when the surface temperature is 80 degrees F and the dew point is 58 degrees F. The base of the clouds, therefore, is
    1. 5,000 feet agl.
    2. 6,000 feet agl.
    3. 7,000 feet agl.
    4. 8,000 feet agl.


  1. All blimps and Zeppelins are airships and dirigibles.
  2. The Concorde supersonic transport has wing flaps.
  3. The diesel engine, which might have future applications in general aviation, was invented by Rudolf Diesel.
  4. The huge Consolidated B–36 Peacemaker had "six turning and four burning." In other words, it had six turboprop engines and four turbojet engines.


  1. The airplane gets through the downdraft sooner. Also, lowering the nose and reducing power reduces the likelihood of engine overheating that could result from reducing airspeed and adding power to maintain altitude. (Lost altitude can be gained in the subsequent updraft.)
  2. It is (or was) an organization of flight crews whose lives have been saved after ditching by the use of emergency dinghies or rafts.
  3. When propping the engine without anyone in the cockpit. There is enough time to get in the airplane and turn on the fuel before the engine fails. This reduces the possibility of a runaway airplane. Ensure that the aircraft is chocked and tied down before starting.
  4. The weight change must equal or exceed one-half of 1 percent of the maximum-allowable landing weight, or the CG must change by at least one-half of 1 percent of the mean aerodynamic chord. (Thanks to the Cessna Pilots Association.)
  5. They were responsible for designing their countries' best World War II fighters: the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, the North American P–51 Mustang, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 (Me 109), and the Supermarine Spitfire, respectively.
  6. The custom was started by World War I pilots. The scarves prevented skin irritation that otherwise was caused by rubbernecking (looking behind for enemy aircraft) while wearing heavy, scratchy uniform shirts (to keep warm at cold altitudes).
  7. El Al is Hebrew for to the skies or onward and upward (depending on the translator).
  8. (b) The bases of middle clouds (altocumulus and altostratus) are found between 6,500 and 23,000 feet. Towering cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds typically have bases between 1,000 and 10,000 feet agl.
  9. (a) The Cessna 310 was first produced in 1954; the prototype Cessna 172 did not fly until 1955.
  10. (a) Cumulus clouds are formed by rising air that cools at the dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 degrees F/1,000 feet. The dew point decreases 1 degree F/1,000 feet. They converge, therefore, at 4.4 degrees F/1,000 feet. Dividing the temperature-dew point spread (22 degrees) by 4.4 gives the cloud base in thousands of feet.
  11. True. An airship is any lighter-than-air aircraft that is powered and steerable. A Zeppelin is any of many rigid airships designed by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. A blimp is not rigid. The terms airship and dirigible (from directable) are synonymous.
  12. True. The Concorde does not have flaps per se, but its six elevons droop for takeoff and landing to increase wing camber. Effectively, therefore, the Concorde has flaps.
  13. True. The French-born German engineer (1858-1913) developed the "pressure-ignited heat engine" between 1885 and 1898.
  14. False. The mammoth 10-engine bomber did not have turboprop engines. It was powered by six 3,800-horsepower Pratt and Whitney radial engines and four 5,200-pound-thrust General Electric J-47 turbojets.