Test Pilot

June 1, 2006


  1. What are two reasons that explain why carburetor ice is most likely to form at reduced engine power?
  2. While filming the classic movie Casablanca, the producers had a Lockheed 12A at nearby Van Nuys Airport (nee Metropolitan Airport) to use in the dramatic ending. Why did they instead film this scene in a studio using three-quarter-scale plywood-and-balsawood models of the Lockheed?
  3. During the 1930s, airplane manufacturers struggled to break the 300-mph speed "barrier." What was the first American fighter aircraft to achieve 300 mph in level flight?
  4. From reader Hal Fishman: If you are on a nonstop airline flight, how do you get off?
  5. What dance was named after a pilot?
  6. The vast majority of airplanes produced by Cessna during World War II consisted of what type of aircraft?
  7. Although this obviously is subjective, what is generally considered by aviation historians to be the world's worst aircraft that actually got into the air?
  8. What jetliner with three or more engines is equipped with thrust reversers on only two of its engines?


  1. The world's smallest man-carrying airplane had a wingspan (wing tip to wing tip) of 5 feet 6 inches, about 3 inches less than the arm span (fingertip to fingertip) of the average man in the United States.
  2. Qantas, the Australian airline, has never had a fatal accident.
  3. From reader Richard G. Somers: If moving the marker beacon test switch on an audio panel to Test illuminates all three lights, the pilot can expect to receive the proper indications when passing the outer, middle, and inner markers during an ILS approach.


  1. From reader Jerry Griggs: Exhaust augmenters
    1. were installed on early jet engines to reduce noise.
    2. assist in cooling reciprocating engines.
    3. vector jet exhaust to improve fighter maneuverability.
    4. increased reverse thrust on early jet engines.
  2. The first engine used to propel a man-carrying aircraft was a
    1. jet engine.
    2. piston engine.
    3. rubber-band engine.
    4. steam engine.
  3. From reader Jeff Pardo: The first pilot, man or woman, to fly solo over the true North Pole in a light airplane was
    1. Jacqueline Cochran.
    2. Beryl Markham.
    3. Hanna Reitsch.
    4. Sheila Scott.


  1. Engine induction temperatures are lower at reduced engine power (because of reduced manifold pressure and air expansion in the carburetor), and it is easier for ice to collect on a partially closed throttle (butterfly valve).
  2. Filming began shortly after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Fearing an attack on Southern California's aviation factories, the War Department increased security at coastal airports and prohibited filming there. The actual airplane was too large to fit on the soundstage.
  3. An early prototype of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was the first American fighter capable of more than 300 mph. The P-40B had a maximum speed of 352 mph at 15,000 feet.
  4. Think of all those passengers still up there.
  5. In 1927, a reporter at the Savoy Ballroom in New York asked a dance enthusiast, George Snowden, for the name of the dance being done there at that moment. Snowden noticed the headline of a nearby newspaper ("Lindy Hops the Atlantic") and quickly referred to the new form of swing as the Lindy Hop. The name stuck.
  6. The fabric-covered, twin-engine Cessna T-50 with conventional gear, the "Bamboo Bomber," also was known as the UC-78.
  7. The 1921 Caproni Ca-60 Transaereo was a 77-foot-long, slab-sided houseboat with three sets of triplane wings (nine wings each with a 98-foot span), a jungle of struts, and eight 400-horsepower Liberty engines. The huge machine looked like a hallucination, lifted off from Italy's Lake Maggiore, creaked into the air, and crumbled into a mass of broken matchsticks (1921).
  8. Only the in-board (number 2 and number 3) engines on the mammoth Airbus A380 have thrust reversers.
  9. True. Designed and built by Robert Starr, of Arizona, Bumble Bee Two, a biplane, had an empty weight of 396 pounds, a top speed of 190 mph, and a length of less than 9 feet.
  10. False. Qantas has never had a fatal accident involving a jetliner. It did have seven fatal accidents from 1927 through 1951 involving mostly small piston-powered airplanes.
  11. False. The test function tests only the indicator lights, not the marker-beacon receiver or its audio circuit.
  12. (b) Used on numerous aircraft such as the Cessna 310, Aero Commander piston twins, the Beech Queen Air, and the Piper Apache, augmenters enhanced cooling by directing exhaust into venturilike tubes that induced additional cooling air to flow over the cylinders.
  13. (d) On September 24, 1852, Henri Giffard, a French engineer, flew a steam-powered balloon shaped like a dirigible and 144 feet long. Inflated with 88,000 cubic feet of coal gas, it reached 6.7 mph.
  14. (d) Scott (1927-1988), an English actress who began flying in 1959, established many world aviation records including a 1966 flight around the world in a Piper Comanche and a 1971 flight over the North Pole in a Piper Aztec.

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