Test Pilot

September 1, 2007


  1. The speed of sound at sea level on a standard day is 663 knots (763 mph). What is the speed of sound in space?
  2. How did the television hero Sky King get his first name?
  3. From reader John Schmidt: Why is airline stewardess Vesna Vulovic a celebrity in her home in Serbia?
  4. From reader Mark Baird: The pilot of a modified Pitts biplane conducts a preflight check of the flight controls. He moves the control stick left and notes that the left ailerons move down and that the right ailerons move up. Why is he satisfied with this check?
  5. From reader Rick Ray: Why did famed author Ernest K. Gann (who wrote numerous books including Fate Is the Hunter and The High and the Mighty) call his Cessna 310 The Noon Balloon?
  6. From reader George Shanks: U.S. pilot license #1 was issued to Glenn Curtiss, #2 to Frank Lahm, #3 to Louis Paulhan, #4 to Orville Wright, and #5 to Wilbur Wright. Why did Curtiss get #1 and the Wrights get #4 and #5?
  7. What was the first country to have a separate armed service devoted to aviation (in other words, an air force)?
  8. From Weatherwise: Who wrote Meteorologica, the standard textbook on weather for 2,000 years?


  1. Match each of the following airports with the profession or claim of its namesake.
    1. Dallas Love Field
    2. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport
    3. La Guardia Airport
    4. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
    5. McCarran International Airport
    6. Chicago O'Hare International Airport
    7. Washington Dulles International Airport
    8. William P. Hobby Airport
    1. city's first licensed pilot
    2. mayor
    3. secretary of state
    4. state governor
    5. state legislator
    6. U.S. Army aviator
    7. U.S. Navy's first ace
    8. U.S. senator


  1. From reader David Williams: A pilot is allowed to use GPS navigation to fly over a waypoint on a Victor airway that is within 25 nm of the defining VOR and compare the indicated VOR (course deviation indicator) bearing with the published radial to determine VOR receiver accuracy.
  2. From reader Mike Piccola: The brief combat history of the French Air Force during World War II precluded it from bombing Germany.
  3. From reader Jeff Pardo: The first words spoken after landing on the moon were those of Neil Armstrong, who said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


  1. The official world record for the longest distance flown in a glider during a single flight is
    1. 1,324.7 nm (1,524.4 sm).
    2. 1,624.7 nm (1,869.7 sm).
    3. 1,924.7 nm (2,214.9 sm).
    4. 2,224.7 nm (2,560.1 sm).
  2. The largest glider ever built had a wingspan of
    1. 142.4 feet.
    2. 162.4 feet.
    3. 182.4 feet.
    4. 202.4 feet.


  1. Sound is a series of compression waves that moves through air or other materials. Because space is a vacuum and void of such material, there is no sound.
  2. The Arizona rancher and pilot's first name was Schuyler, which was easily and conveniently foreshortened to Sky.
  3. In January 1972 she survived and made full recovery from a 33,000-foot fall in the tail section of a JAT Yugoslav Airlines' DC-9 after the airplane had been blown apart by a terrorist bomb. She holds the Guinness world record for surviving the highest free fall without a parachute.
  4. The Pitts has been modified to include landing gear on the top wing so that the airplane can be taken off and landed while inverted. The pilot is about to make an inverted takeoff.
  5. Gann said, "No matter how early I plan my departures, I am never able to get off the ground before noon." (Many of us should name our airplanes similarly.)
  6. There were so few applicants in 1910 that the Aero Club of America issued the first pilot licenses in alphabetical order.
  7. An act of England's parliament established an air force on November 29, 1917. Following royal assent, the Royal Air Force was founded on April 1, 1918, shortly before the end of the Great War ("the war to end all wars").
  8. Aristotle wrote the four-volume series that included information and observations of a physical nature pertaining to Earth, sea, and air. It was completed in 350 B.C.
  9. 1(f) Moss Lee Love, 2(e) Edward Lawrence Logan, 3(b) Fiorello La Guardia, 4(a) Albert Bond Lambert, 5(h) Pat McCarran, 6(g) Lt. Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare, 7(c) John Foster Dulles, 8(d) William Pettus Hobby.
  10. False. The FAA does not yet allow such a method of determining VOR receiver accuracy.
  11. False. The French bombed Berlin on June 7, 1940.
  12. False. The first words were spoken by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin from Apollo 11 after touchdown on the lunar surface. He said, "Contact light. OK, engine stop."
  13. (b) The flight was made by German pilot Klaus Ohlmann in a Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 4DM in South America on January 21, 2003.
  14. (d) Intended as an assault glider to be used during Germany's invasion of Britain during World War II, the Junkers Ju.322 Mammut made its only flight in April 1941, after which the project was abandoned.

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