Test Pilot

November 1, 2005


  1. From reader Tom Travis: How did Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Falcon business jets and other French aircraft, get its name?
  2. The first air-to-air combat between jet-powered airplanes took place in Korea on November 8, 1950. What were the two types of aircraft involved in this dogfight?
  3. From reader Wallace Jeffs: Where did Charles A. Lindbergh make his first solo flight?
  4. Paraphrasing from the television quiz program Jeopardy: If a pilot flies westward from Canada along the Arctic Circle, what are the next three countries over which he will fly?
  5. From reader Hal Fishman: PST, MST, CST, and EST represent the four standard time zones in the contiguous United States. PDT, MDT, CDT, and EDT obviously refer to daylight-saving time. What did PWT, MWT, CWT, and EWT represent?
  6. The first air-to-air refueling of an airplane occurred on November 12, 1921. How was this accomplished?
  7. From reader Gary Holden: Who was the first student of aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology?
  8. What is the origin of the word hurricane?


  1. From reader Richard Ladd: Numerous airplanes have flown under the Eiffel Tower. The last one to do so (on March 31, 1984) was a
    1. Beechcraft Bonanza.
    2. Cessna 210.
    3. de Havilland Chipmunk.
    4. Piper Comanche.
  2. From reader Bob Kuehnle: Famed actor Steve McQueen owned the Stearman biplane in which he learned to fly in 1979. The numbers in the registration (N number) of that airplane were
    1. the last digits of his driver's license number.
    2. his prisoner number in the movie The Great Escape.
    3. the number on his police badge in the movie Bullitt.
    4. his internment number in reform school.
  3. From reader Jeff Pardo: Each new edition of a sectional aeronautical chart contains an average of approximately _____ data changes, and each new VFR terminal area chart incorporates _____ change(s).
    1. 3,000, 1,000
    2. 300, 100
    3. 30, 10
    4. 3, 1


  1. Speaking of hurricanes, when one of these devastating storms crosses the equator from south to north, its clockwise circulation gradually changes to counterclockwise.
  2. From reader Brian Schiff: An airline passenger looks across the aisle out the opposite window and sights along a reference line parallel to the airplane's lateral axis during a turn at constant bank, altitude, and groundspeed. He sees a prominent building moving forward across the window. This means that the airplane is above the pivotal altitude for that "pylon."
  3. Speaking of on-pylon turns, pivotal altitude also depends largely on bank angle; the steeper the bank, the lower the pivotal altitude.


  1. Marcel Bloch founded the company during World War I, and his brother, Paul, was a general and an advocate of tank power. In French, tank is char d'assault. In the French underground during World War II, Paul used the code name "D'assault." The brothers were Jewish, and Marcel was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1943 and survived. They changed their surname to Dassault in 1949.
  2. A Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and a Russian MiG-15 Fagot. U.S. Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown Jr. was the victor.
  3. Souther Field in Americus, Georgia, in a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny in early May 1923, four years before his flight to Paris.
  4. What are the United States, Russia, and Finland.
  5. Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern war time. On February 9, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round, daylight-saving time to save energy. Standard time resumed after the war.
  6. With a 5-gallon can of gasoline strapped to his back, Wesley May transferred from a Lincoln Standard to a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny and poured the fuel into the tank.
  7. Donald Douglas, founder of Douglas Aircraft, completed the four-year program in 1914 in only two years. Because of his academic performance, he was hired upon graduation as an assistant professor of aeronautics.
  8. Centuries ago, Spaniards used hurican, an indigenous (Carib Indian) word for evil spirits and weather gods, to name the storms that sank their ships in the Caribbean.
  9. (a) The arches at the base of the tower are almost 200 feet high and 250 feet wide, so Robert J. Moriarty, an ex-marine pilot, had plenty of room and left the country during the same flight. A film clip of the event can be seen online ( www.airspacemag.com/ASM/Web/Site/QT/Eiffel.html). A North American P-51 flew under the Arc de Triomphe with inches to spare.
  10. (d) McQueen spent a few years at the Chino Reform School for boys in California.
  11. (b) Some changes are critical and underscore the need to use current charts.
  12. False. It is very unlikely. According to Weatherwise, a hurricane has never been observed crossing the equator. There is no Coriolis force there to cause rotation in any direction.
  13. True. When below the pivotal altitude, the pylon appears to move aft. Pivotal altitude is approximately equal to groundspeed (in knots) squared divided by 11.3.
  14. False. Bank angle primarily determines distance from the pylon (turning radius).

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