Test Pilot

July 1, 2003


  1. From reader B.F. "Froggy" Worden: Why does a placard on the instrument panel of some Luscombe 8As recommend that the pilot apply carburetor heat for takeoff and initial climb even when there is absolutely no chance of carburetor ice?
  2. John F. Kennedy International Airport received its current name on December 24, 1963, following President John F. Kennedy's assassination a month earlier. What was the previous name of this New York airport?
  3. The Boeing Model 75 is one of the most famous training aircraft of all time. It is better known as a(n) ____________.
  4. Gyroscopic instruments made instrument flight possible. The first such instrument was introduced in 1918. What was it called?
  5. Charles Sweeney is to Paul Tibbetts as _____ _____ is to the Enola Gay as _____ _____ is to Little Boy as _____ is to Hiroshima as August ___, 1945, is to August 6, 1945.
  6. What famous aircraft designer of the Douglas A-20 Havoc of World War II fame went on to design a number of successful general aviation airplanes?
  7. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed on October 1, 1958, and absorbed what prominent aviation organization?
  8. Most, and perhaps all, key-operated ignition switches are labeled OFF-R-L-BOTH across the top of the switch. Why is the R on the left and the L on the right?


  1. The pilot of a taxiing Cessna 172 is 10 feet behind the tail of a Boeing 747-400 and in line with one of the idling engines. He experiences an exhaust velocity of _____ mph. If the Boeing captain advances the thrust levers to takeoff power, exhaust velocity will be _____ mph.
    1. 50, 250
    2. 50, 400
    3. 100, 250
    4. 100, 400
  2. From reader Jeff Pardo: The greater an airplane's speed (at any given density altitude), the greater the dynamic pressure in its pitot tube. How fast would an airplane have to fly at sea level for the pitot to sense a dynamic pressure of 14.7 psi, the equivalent of normal atmospheric pressure?
    1. 300 knots
    2. 400 knots
    3. 500 knots
    4. In excess of Mach 1.0
  3. From reader Eric Siburg: What was unusual about the World War II aircraft carriers USS Wolverine (commissioned in 1942) and USS Sable (commissioned in 1943)?
    1. They retrieved airplanes but could not launch them.
    2. They launched airplanes but could not retrieve them.
    3. They were coal-fired side-paddle-wheel steamers.
    4. They were torpedoed and sunk before ever launching an aircraft.


  1. GPS satellites are equipped with nuclear detonation detectors and are protected from laser and nuclear radiation.
  2. The left magneto is on the left side of the engine, and the right magneto is on the right side (when looking forward from behind the engine).
  3. The first squadron of U.S. fighter pilots was Eddie Rickenbacker's "Hat in the Ring" squadron.


  1. The application of carburetor heat is intended to reduce the power of a Luscombe configured with its fuel tank behind the pilot. This prevents too steep a climb angle, which can position the engine fuel inlet above the fuel-tank outlet and cause fuel starvation and power loss.
  2. New York International Airport opened for commercial operations on July 1, 1948, and was colloquially known as Idlewild Airport because it was built on 1,000 acres of the Idlewild Golf Course in Jamaica.
  3. Stearman PT-17 Kaydet. It was designated by the Navy as an NS-1 and N2S and nicknamed by all as the Yellow Peril. (Boeing purchased the Stearman Aircraft Company, of Wichita, in 1934.)
  4. Bank-and-turn indicator. It was invented in 1918 by Elmer A. Sperry, founder of the Sperry Gyroscope Company, and followed years later by the gyrocompass (heading indicator) and the artificial horizon (attitude indicator).
  5. Bock's Car (the name of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress), Fat Man (the name of the second atomic bomb), Nagasaki, 9.
  6. Ted Smith, who also designed the twin-engine Aero Commanders and Aerostars.
  7. NASA inherited NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and a few lesser organizations, as a result of the "Sputnik crisis of confidence," and immediately began working on options for human space flight.
  8. I don't have a clue, nor do any of the many experts to whom I have spoken. If you really know the answer, please let me know.
  9. (a) You would not want to be there.
  10. (d) Place a 1-square-foot ideal flat plate out the window at such a speed (perpendicular to the relative wind) and it would be pushed rearward with a force of 2,117 pounds.
  11. (c) They were converted Great Lakes cruise ships and operated on Lake Michigan out of Glenview Naval Air Station, Illinois, to train and qualify carrier pilots and deck crews.
  12. True. The military is serious about protecting its assets.
  13. True. You didn't expect a trick question, did you?
  14. False. The first was the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of volunteer American pilots who fought for France before America's entry into World War I.

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