Test Pilot

December 1, 2002


  1. Colorful and popular slang was used by Army pilots during World War II. For example, prop wash meant an unlikely story. Define the following "slanguage": (a) battery acid, (b) brown bombers, (c) canteen medals, (d) dodo, (e) fat friends, (f) galloping dominoes, (g) geese, (h) good 'til the last drop, (i) misery pipe, (j) night bomber, (k) paint remover, and (l) stukas.
  2. What is the difference between an aerodyne and an aerostat?
  3. Name three major U.S. manufacturers (past or present) of propellers for light airplanes.
  4. What is or was the Piper Caribbean?
  5. From reader George Shanks: Why was one well-known production airplane equipped with an explosive charge in each of its fixed main landing-gear legs?
  6. With respect to their operating principles, what is the most significant difference between a diesel engine and a conventional piston engine?
  7. What U.S. president was a member of AOPA?
  8. From reader Mark Barchenko: Which business jets are routinely operated with thrust reversers deployed during flight?


  1. Which one of the following statements is incorrect?
    1. Beechcraft and Piper produced Seminoles.
    2. Cessna and Chance Vought produced Corsairs.
    3. Cessna and de Havilland produced Comets.
    4. Lockheed and Piper produced Apaches.
    5. Mooney and Piper produced Aerostars.
  2. Which one of the following does not belong?
    1. He was a Navy flight instructor at Pensacola during World War II.
    2. He was a Marine pilot during the Korean War and flew 38 combat missions in a Grumman F9F Panther.
    3. He won 266 games during his 20-season career with the Cleveland Indians.
    4. He was John Glenn's wingman during half of his combat missions.
    5. He was baseball's last major-league batter to average .400 for a complete season (.406 in 1941).
  3. The pivotal altitude of an around-pylon maneuver is determined by
    1. groundspeed.
    2. indicated airspeed.
    3. true airspeed.
    4. none of the above.


  1. The 1988 Porsche-powered Mooney PFM was the first production airplane to incorporate a single lever to control rpm, manifold pressure, and fuel-air mixture.
  2. When introduced in 1940 by TWA, the Boeing 307 Stratoliner became the world's first pressurized airliner. When at its cruise altitude of 20,000 feet, its cabin altitude was near sea level.
  3. The United States was first to use a glider to land troops in a combat zone.


  1. (a) coffee, (b) Army laxatives, (c) beer stains, (d) presolo cadet, (e) observation balloons, (f) dice, (g) enemy bombers, (h) parachute jumpers, (i) bugle, (j) playboy, (k) coffee, and (l) Georgia mosquitoes.
  2. An aerodyne is any type of heavier-than-air aircraft that uses aerodynamic lift; an aerostat is any lighter-than-air aircraft. (An aeronaut is the pilot of an aerostat.)
  3. The best known are probably Hartzell Propeller, McCauley Propeller Systems, and Sensenich Propeller Manufacturing.
  4. The Caribbean was introduced in 1958 as an economy 150-horsepower version of the Piper PA22 Tri-Pacer and sold for $8,395.
  5. The pilot of a Junkers Ju.87 dive bomber of World War II fame could "blow away" a fixed landing-gear leg in case the other got shot off. This enabled him to survive a belly landing instead of "ground looping, flipping over, and dying." (Discovery Wings Channel)
  6. Only air enters each cylinder of a diesel engine during its intake stroke. This air is heated by compression to a higher temperature than that required to ignite the atomized fuel that is then injected into the cylinders. In a conventional engine, the fuel-air mixture is ignited by a spark plug, not the heat of compression.
  7. Dwight D. Eisenhower soloed in the Philippines in 1937, obtained his U.S. pilot certificate in 1939, and became AOPA member 159957 in 1958.
  8. NASA's four Gulfstream II aircraft are modified for use as shuttle training aircraft. The STAs are flown with reverse thrust and main gear extended to simulate an orbiter's lift/drag ratio of 5-to-1. Approaches from 12,000 feet are made at a 20-degree-dive angle, 300 knots, and 14,000 fpm.
  9. (d) Piper built more than 2,000 twin-engine Apaches, but the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter was developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). North American's P-51 was called an Apache for a short time before the name was changed to Mustang.
  10. (c) Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, the "Splendid Splinter," died in July 2002. (The pitcher in answer c, Bob Feller, was not a military pilot, although he was a civilian pilot.)
  11. (d) An around-pylon can be conducted at any altitude; however, the pivotal altitude of an on-pylon depends on groundspeed.
  12. False. The Focke-Wulf Fw.190 combined a mechanical-hydraulic computer (called the brain box) with a "uni-lever throttle" (that also controlled magneto timing).
  13. False. With a pressure differential of only 3 psi, its cabin altitude was 12,000 feet. In contrast, a Boeing 767 has a pressure differential of 8.6 psi (a cabin altitude of 7,900 feet while cruising at 43,000 ft, for example).
  14. False. The U.S. Army used troop-carrying gliders because of Germany's success with them early in World War II. The resulting aircraft included the Waco CG-4 (and others), of which 15,000 were built.

Visit the author's Web site ( www.barryschiff.com).