Test Pilot

February 1, 2003


  1. What was the first airplane to have interconnected controls (roll and yaw control combined)?
  2. Who was the first AOPA member to travel into space aboard a spacecraft?
  3. In terms of the number of aircraft to roll off the assembly line, what is the most popular small twin (less than 12,500 pounds) ever certified in the United States?
  4. Who was the only astronaut to fly aboard each of the first three generations of U.S. spacecraft: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo?
  5. The first airmail carried aboard an airplane in the United States was flown by what famous pilot during what famous flight?
  6. What airplanes are colloquially referred to as t-bones, and what other airplanes are called bones?
  7. A glider pilot experiencing a tow-rope break shortly after takeoff is in a situation similar to that of a single-engine pilot encountering power failure after takeoff. Glider pilots are advised to return to the airport following a rope break only when at or above ____ feet agl.


  1. From reader Paul Schiff: Don your thinking cap and match the world altitude records (as of December 31, 2001) with the aircraft used to reach such lofty heights.
    1. Airship a. 16,598 feet
    2. Airplane (piston) b. 24,463 feet
    3. Balloon (gas) c. 40,820 feet
    4. Balloon (hot air) d. 44,429 feet
    5. Glider e. 49,009 feet
    6. Gyroplane f. 56,046 feet
    7. Helicopter g. 65,000 feet
    8. Seaplane (piston) h. 96,863 feet
    9. Unmanned aerial vehicle i. 113,740 feet


  1. Mooney manufactured and sold a fixed-gear version of its well-known four-place Mark 21.
  2. A pilot taxis up to and holds short of a runway because of a red illuminated stop bar across the taxiway. The ground controller clears the aircraft to cross the runway, but the stop bar remains illuminated. The pilot may taxi across the runway.
  3. No person in free fall (with the intent of completing the fall by parachute) has fallen in excess of Mach 1.0 (the speed of sound).


  1. Three of the four following conditions and circumstances create visual illusions that can mislead a pilot into believing that he is higher than he really is during a visual straight-in approach and landing. Which one has the opposite effect?
    1. "black hole" approach
    2. high-aspect ratio (narrow) runway
    3. poor visibility
    4. upslope runway (uphill gradient)
  2. From reader Mark Barchenko: When a housefly approaches a ceiling for landing, it does so by
    1. approaching the ceiling in inverted flight.
    2. performing a half loop immediately before landing.
    3. performing a half roll immediately before landing.
    4. None of the above.
  3. Which one of the following statements is incorrect?
    1. Boeing and Piper produced Clippers.
    2. Douglas and Piper produced Dakotas.
    3. Cessna and Vought produced Cutlasses.
    4. McDonnell Douglas and Mooney produced Eagles.
    5. Mooney and Lockheed produced Lightnings.


  1. The 1903 Wright Flyer. Shifting the pilot's hips simultaneously warped the wings and deflected the rudder. As with the Ercoupe, roll and yaw controls could not be operated independently.
  2. L. Gordon "Gordo" Cooper Jr., AOPA 203223, rocketed into space on May 15, 1963, aboard a Mercury space capsule, Faith 7, and spent 34 hours orbiting the Earth 22 times.
  3. Beech produced 7,541 Model 18s, the venerable H-tail Twin Beech, from 1937 through 1970.
  4. Walter "Wally" M. Schirra commanded Sigma 7 Mercury, Gemini 6, and Apollo VII.
  5. Calbraith "Cal" Rodgers carried mail in the Wright EX biplane, Vin Fiz, during his 49-day flight in 1911 from Sheepshead Bay, New York, to Pasadena, California. This also was the first flight across the United States.
  6. The Beech Twin Bonanza is called a t-bone and the B-1 (B-One) bomber is called a bone.
  7. 200. There obviously are exceptions to this rule of thumb.
  8. 1a (an airship that goes too high will burst), 2f (a nonturbocharged biplane in 1938), 3i (Near Space begins at 75,000 feet), 4g (that took a lot of hot air), 5e (Grob 102), 6b (with a Rotax 115-hp engine), 7c (Alouette SA-315 Lama), 8d (unchallenged since 1939), and 9h (Helios with 14 2-hp engines).
  9. True. The Mooney M20D Master had a price tag of $13,995 when introduced in 1963. It was discontinued in 1965. A factory conversion to retractable gear was available for $1,600.
  10. False. A pilot should never cross a red illuminated stop bar even if cleared to do so. The lights must be turned off (by the controller) before the pilot proceeds.
  11. False. Pilots have ejected from Lockheed SR-71 Blackbirds while at Mach 3.0 and 80,000 feet. They remained supersonic during free fall until below 52,000 feet, where the air is thick enough to decelerate the body to a subsonic speed.
  12. (c) Poor visibility can give a pilot the impression that he is farther from the runway than he really is. This causes a delayed descent and high approach. Unusually high visibility can lead to premature descents.
  13. (d) A fly is incapable of inverted flight. According to Dr. M.M. Galloway of the Canadian Insect Center, a fly lands by raising its forelegs above its head to establish contact with the ceiling and then flips to a landing.
  14. (e) Lockheed produced the P-38, but there has not been a Mooney Lightning.

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