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Test Pilot

GENERAL From reader Andrew Doorey: What popular and well-known U.S. general aviation airport has fewer official residents in the community after which the airport is named than are carried aboard many of the airplanes that land there? World War I fighter airplanes had open cockpits.


  1. From reader Andrew Doorey: What popular and well-known U.S. general aviation airport has fewer official residents in the community after which the airport is named than are carried aboard many of the airplanes that land there?
  2. World War I fighter airplanes had open cockpits. What are three reasons that pilots of those aircraft did not want glass canopies even though the technology to make them was available?
  3. From reader John Tiller: In weather reports, what is the difference between SKC and CLR?
  4. From reader Mark Barchenko: Airbus Industries is known for its fly-by-wire airliners. What is the world's first purpose-built, fly-by-wire business jet not originally designed as a jetliner?
  5. Who was the first U.S. president to ride in a helicopter?
  6. From reader Tony Bill: What was the world's first all-metal production airplane?
  7. From reader Gerd Wengler: You are at what was one of the most famous and important airports in the world even though it was operational for only nine years and only 20 airplanes attempted to depart from there. Where are you?
  8. From reader John Schmidt: What famous photographer became an aircraft manufacturer simply because he needed better platforms from which to take aerial photographs?


  1. From reader George Shanks: The first use of a helicopter for emergency medical purposes did not occur until after World War II.
  2. From reader Paul Reinman: If the pilot of a General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark, a "swing-wing" fighter/bomber, was to wind up in the ocean, he could rapidly move the control stick fore and aft to pump water out of the cockpit.
  3. Were it not for World War II, soaring would have been an Olympic sport in 1940.


  1. From reader Jerry Griggs: The first American airplane to be attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was
    1. an Aeronca.
    2. an Interstate Cadet.
    3. a military airplane.
    4. a Stearman.
  2. Which one of the following pilots experienced nausea during his or her presolo instructional flights? He or she did not feel as ill during solo flight and eventually overcame airsickness.
    1. Robert "Bob" Hoover
    2. Sean Tucker
    3. Patty Wagstaff
    4. Charles "Chuck" Yeager
  3. A pilot rolls into a standard-rate turn to the right from a northerly heading in the Northern Hemisphere. The magnetic compass will indicate
    1. a right turn at a slower rate than is actually occurring.
    2. a left turn initially and then a right turn but lagging behind the actual aircraft heading.
    3. due north for a short time but then it will gradually catch up with the heading of the aircraft.
    4. approximately the correct heading if turn entry is smooth.


  1. Teterboro Airport. The official population of Teterboro, New Jersey, is only 18.
  2. Pilots were concerned that they would not hear the wind in the wires and that damaged canopies would be injurious during crash landings. They also were concerned that they would not be able to "smell the presence of the enemy" when flying through their odorous wakes of burnt castor oil.
  3. SKC is most often used in terminal aerodrome forecasts and means that the sky is or will be clear. CLR appears in automated METARs and means "clear below 12,000 feet."
  4. The Falcon 2000EX EASy is Dassault's latest twin-jet offering.
  5. Dwight D. Eisenhower flew in a U.S. Air Force Bell UH-13J (a Model 47J) from the White House to Camp David, Maryland, on July 12, 1957, part of a practice emergency evacuation of the White House.
  6. Although a strong, durable aircraft, the 1917 German Junkers J.I observation airplane was heavy, cumbersome, and took forever to get off the ground.
  7. Harbour Grace Airport in Newfoundland was built in 1927 and was the first civilian airport in North America intended to facilitate transatlantic flights. It was not used after 1936 until it was reopened in 1999.
  8. Sherman Fairchild found that open-cockpit biplanes were unsuitable as photo platforms. He designed and produced high-wing monoplanes with heated, closed cabins to protect cameras and photographers. His cameras were later carried on Apollo spacecraft and used to map the moon.
  9. False. In 1944 (exact date unknown), a Sikorsky R-4 Hoverfly flew from Battery Park, New York, to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, carrying blood plasma for victims of a steamship accident.
  10. True. The F-111's crew escape module included the entire cockpit. When in the water, moving the control stick operated the built-in bilge pump.
  11. True. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 resulted in the cancellation of the 1940 Helsinki (Finland) Olympiad.
  12. (a) There were three Aeroncas, an Interstate Cadet, and four Piper Cubs airborne over Oahu that morning. The first two to be fired upon were Aeroncas. One was operated by Gambo Flying Service and the other by the Honolulu Junior Chamber of Commerce Flying Club.
  13. (a) It took the 15-year-old almost a year to take enough 15-minute lessons in a Piper Cub to build the eight hours required to solo.
  14. (b) For extra credit, describe compass behavior when turning away from a northerly heading in the Southern Hemisphere (see answer below).
    Extra Credit: Compass behavior would be the same as when turning away from a southerly heading in the Northern Hemisphere.

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