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Test PilotTest Pilot

GENERAL From reader Mark Barchenko: What aircraft did air traffic controllers commonly refer to as the "big bunny"? From reader George Shanks: A number of airplanes (such as Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird) have drag chutes to assist in slowing after landing. When flying what airplane did pilots deploy a drag chute during the landing approach? Explain why this was done.

GENERAL

  1. From reader Mark Barchenko: What aircraft did air traffic controllers commonly refer to as the "big bunny"?
  2. From reader George Shanks: A number of airplanes (such as Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird) have drag chutes to assist in slowing after landing. When flying what airplane did pilots deploy a drag chute during the landing approach? Explain why this was done.
  3. The first manned rocket-powered flight made by an American involved what type of airplane?
  4. Name the different models of propeller-driven airplanes manufactured by the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. (fondly known as the Iron Works) and named after birds.
  5. From reader Tom McMullen: A pilot requests an N number from the FAA for his new airplane. Why would he and most other pilots prefer N2222M to N777NJ?
  6. What time period is referred to as the Golden Age of Aviation?
  7. Why did Johnny Carson once say on The Tonight Show that "Amelia Earhart was more like a guy"?
  8. Who said, "The FAA is nothing more than a carbuncle on the ass of progress and has set aviation back at least 20 years"?

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. There are no structural differences between a Cessna 150 and the Cessna 150 Aerobat.
  2. Famed inventor and developer of the Lear Jet, William "Bill" P. Lear reportedly had a good sense of humor and named his daughter Crystal Shanda Lear (as in crystal chandelier).
  3. Like penguins, turkeys cannot fly.

MULTIPLE CHOICE

  1. The average groundspeed during the Wright brothers' first powered flight on December 17, 1903, was
    1. 3 mph.
    2. 7 mph.
    3. 11 mph.
    4. 15 mph.
  2. When viewed from the landing threshold, runway centerline lights are white until the last _____ feet of the runway, where they become alternating red and white. For the last _____ feet they are all red.
    1. 4,000, 1,500
    2. 3,000, 1,500
    3. 3,000, 1,000
    4. 2,000, 1,000
  3. From reader W. Grant Fields: Some precision approach runways have centerline lights. They are slightly right or left of the runway centerline stripe (the true center of the runway). Which of the following statements is correct?
    1. The lights are alongside the stripe to facilitate repainting the stripe on occasion without the lights getting in the way.
    2. The lights are on the opposite side of the centerline stripe from the major taxiway turnoffs so that pilots will know where to look for runway exits in very low visibility.
    3. The lights are on the same side of the centerline stripe as the major taxiway turnoffs so that pilots will know where to look for runway exits in very low visibility.
    4. There is no logical reason for the lights to be either left or right of the centerline stripe.

TEST PILOT ANSWERS

  1. During the early 1970s, Playboy's Hugh Hefner owned an all-black Douglas DC-9-32 with a white rabbit painted on its tail. It was equipped with a disco, wet bar, living room, and sleeping quarters for 16.
  2. The Boeing B-47 Stratojet, the world's first swept-wing bomber, dragged an approach chute in the traffic pattern to allow pilots to carry power from its "slow spooling" engines. A second and larger chute was deployed after touchdown.
  3. On August 23, 1941, an Ercoupe was towed by truck to 25 mph along a runway at March Field in California. Homer Boushey released the handheld tether, fired 12 rockets, took off, and climbed to 10 or 20 feet before landing straight ahead.
  4. There were five: the J2F Duck, G-44 Widgeon, G-21 Goose, G-73 Mallard, and HU-16 Albatross. Also, the British referred to the Grumman Wildcat as a Martlet (a small bird found in heraldry).
  5. Repeatedly transmitting 777NJ could get tiresome because it has 12 syllables; 2222M has only five.
  6. It is that period from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II.
  7. He explained this comment by saying that "most women would have stopped at Guam for directions."
  8. Inventor and entrepreneur William "Bill" P. Lear of Lear Jet fame.
  9. False. There were numerous changes including beefing up the spar caps, engine mount, rear fuselage, and stabilizer. There also were heavier ribs, additional rivets in the wing, sturdier wing struts, and the like.
  10. False. He did, however, give her the name Shanda Lear.
  11. False. Domestic turkeys cannot fly, but wild turkeys can burst into flight at speeds between 50 and 55 mph in seconds.
  12. (b) 120 feet in 12 seconds is 6.82 mph. Later that day, Wilbur achieved a speed of 9.85 mph (852 feet in 59 seconds).
  13. (c) Centerline lights are spaced at 50-foot intervals.
  14. (b) If the lights are left of the stripe, for example, then the major taxiway turnoffs are presumably on the right side of the runway.

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