Test Pilot

January 1, 2004


  1. Many aircraft manufacturers developed general aviation airplanes to be marketed shortly after the end of World War II. What airplane did the Republic Aircraft Corporation introduce in 1947?
  2. From reader Paul Fortune: A private pilot departs Seattle at 1955 UTC on a VFR, nonstop cross-country flight to Salt Lake City, where he lands at 0005 UTC. How much flying time may he log?
  3. Water is transparent and colorless. Why does it become white and opaque when it changes to snow and frost?
  4. What is a pilot doing when he is "boxing the wake"?
  5. From reader Bob Kuehnle: What was Charles A. Lindbergh's last flight as pilot in command, and what was his last flight as a passenger?
  6. What was the Gimli Glider?
  7. From reader Ed Schultz: What do cocoa, metro, nectar, and union have in common?
  8. The Aeronca Champion, Piper Cub, Piper Tri-Pacer, and Piper Aztec (among others) utilize a Clark Y _____.


  1. The Wright brothers' interest in flying began when their father brought a toy back with him from a trip in 1878. The toy was a model
    1. airship.
    2. autogyro.
    3. glider.
    4. helicopter.
  2. From reader John Wilson: A pilot reading a TAF notes "VCSH." This means that rainSHowers are forecast to be in the ViCinity of the airport at a distance
    1. of zero to 5 sm.
    2. of 5 to 10 sm.
    3. of zero to 10 sm.
    4. that makes them visible from the airport.
  3. From reader Jeff Pardo: The first use of an airplane for criminal violence occurred in
    1. 1964 when a cockpit intruder shot the pilot of a Pacific Airlines' Fairchild F-27.
    2. 1955 when someone placed a bomb aboard a United Airlines' Douglas DC-6B to collect insurance on a passenger (his mother).
    3. 1926 when bootleggers bombed a farmhouse.
    4. 1911 when an Italian pilot used an Etrich Taube monoplane to bomb a nudist colony.


  1. From reader James Kulawiak: The airship, Hindenburg, had a grand piano in the passenger lounge.
  2. A pilot flying a typical lightplane over the desert on a hot summer day opens the alternate static source. In all probability, the indicated altitude, vertical speed, and airspeed will increase slightly.
  3. From reader Robert Herron: Pilots should not refill oxygen tanks intended for use in an aircraft with medical oxygen because it contains water vapor that could freeze at altitude and interfere with the flow of oxygen through the lines.


  1. The Republic RC-3 Seabee, a single-engine amphibian named after the Navy Seabees (a construction battalion). The underpowered airplane's logo was a bumblebee, which seems appropriate. The bumblebee theoretically does not have enough wing area to carry its bulbous body.
  2. There is no limit. He may legally, but not morally, log as much flying time as he desires. However, only four hours, 10 minutes may be logged if the experience is to be used for an additional rating or certificate.
  3. Snow and frost are white for the same reason that whitecaps and the frothy portions of ocean waves are. Each contains air.
  4. A glider pilot flying under tow "boxes the wake" by maneuvering his glider so as to describe a square surrounding the wake turbulence generated by the towplane and remain in smooth air throughout the maneuver. (He flies above, to the right of, below, and to the left of the towplane's wake.)
  5. On October 12, 1972, he flew a Cessna 172 out of Barre, Vermont. A gravely ill Lindbergh made his last flight as a passenger on August 8, 1974, in a Beech Model 18 (Twin Beech) from Honolulu to Maui, where he is buried.
  6. This was the name given to a passenger-carrying Air Canada Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel at 41,000 feet and glided to a landing at an abandoned Royal Canadian Air Force Base at Gimli, Manitoba, on July 23, 1983.
  7. They were used in the first change (made in the mid-1950s) to the phonetic alphabet and are the only words appearing in neither the old alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie, etc.) nor the current one (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.).
  8. The classic Clark Y airfoil was developed by Col. V.E. Clark. It has a flat bottom, excellent stall characteristics, and is best known for lifting a relatively heavy load at low speed.
  9. (d) The toy helicopter was the invention of a Frenchman, Alphonse Pénaud. It was made of cork, bamboo, and thin paper, and was powered by a twisted rubber band.
  10. (c) This applies only to precipitation. Obscurations to visibility other than precipitation reported in the vicinity (VC) of the airport are 5 to 10 sm from the airport.
  11. (c) This was part of an ongoing feud between rival bootleggers, the Birger and Shelton gangs. The bombs did not detonate. The first two events did occur, but the fourth did not.
  12. True. It was made of aluminum and weighed only 397 pounds.
  13. False. Because the air vents are most likely open at such a time, the cabin is slightly pressurized. This increases static pressure in the cockpit and causes a decrease in the indications of altitude, vertical speed, and airspeed.
  14. False. This is a commonly held myth. Medical oxygen is just as pure and dry as aviator's oxygen, and both must be as dry as possible if stored under pressure to prevent damage to oxygen cylinders and related hardware.

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