June 1, 2007
By Barry Schiff
GENERAL From reader Rick Ray: What famous World War I fighter pilot was flying in formation with a bomber when he playfully reached out and grabbed the bomber's radio antenna, thus conceiving the idea of air-to-air refueling using a hose being handed from one aircraft to the other? Who was the first person to escape from an aircraft in peril via parachute? From reader Tony Bill: When and on what aircraft were variable-pitch propellers first used? A pilot walks into a flight school wanting to use the telephone there to file a flight plan. He notices three clocks on a wall that indicate 0800, 0850, and 0820.
- From reader Rick Ray: What famous World War I fighter pilot was flying in formation with a bomber when he playfully reached out and grabbed the bomber's radio antenna, thus conceiving the idea of air-to-air refueling using a hose being handed from one aircraft to the other?
- Who was the first person to escape from an aircraft in peril via parachute?
- From reader Tony Bill: When and on what aircraft were variable-pitch propellers first used?
- A pilot walks into a flight school wanting to use the telephone there to file a flight plan. He notices three clocks on a wall that indicate 0800, 0850, and 0820. A sign beneath the clocks says, "One of these clocks is 20 minutes fast, another is simply slow, and yet another is off by 30 minutes." From this he concludes that the actual time is _______.
- From reader John Tiller: In weather reports, what is the difference between BR and FG?
- Which of the 50 states has the most public-use airports (not including seaplane bases and heliports), and which one has the least?
- Why did a paratrooper during World War II not want to be the first man down?
- From reader Jeff Van West: What is so unusual about the landing facility at Alton Bay, New Hampshire?
TRUE OR FALSE
- From reader John Schmidt: Neither Orville nor Wilbur Wright had a high school diploma.
- From reader Mike Piccola: According to Greek mythology, Icarus and Daedalus escaped from Crete on wings made of feathers held together by wax. Daedalus, however, flew too high, too close to the sun. The heat melted the wax, and he fell to his death in the sea below.
- Remember those toy balsa-wood airplanes that were powered by rubber bands and flew so well? Alas, none has ever been built sufficiently large to successfully fly with a pilot aboard.
- From reader Jeff Pardo: The noisiest airplane of all time (during takeoff) is or was the
- Rockwell International B-1 bomber using afterburners.
- supersonic transport, Concorde.
- Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
- North American XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber.
- If you ordered a "3-point landing" at an airport café during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, what would you get to eat?
- Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
- Ham and eggs.
- Hamburger with cheese and french fries.
- Pancake, bacon, and eggs.
- The Cessna Aircraft Co. has manufactured more than just airplanes. Select the one activity in which Cessna was not involved.
- It sewed together uniforms during World War II.
- It built gliders during the Great Depression.
- It manufactured pizza pans for Pizza Hut.
- It was a furniture manufacturer.
- It made toy cap pistols during the late 1940s.
TEST PILOT ANSWERS
- Alexander de Seversky — the Russian ace, inventor, aircraft designer, visionary, and author of the book Victory Through Air Power — immigrated to the United States after the war, patented the device, and sold it to the Army Air Service. In June 1923, two Army biplanes made the first such refueling flight.
- Jordaki Kuparento, a Polish aeronaut, parachuted from a hot air balloon that caught fire at a considerable height over Warsaw, Poland, on July 24, 1808.
- They were first used on airships in 1910 to obtain reverse thrust for slowing and backing up. They were first used on an airplane (type unknown) by the British Royal Aircraft Factory in 1917.
- The actual time is 0830. The "0800 clock" is off by 30 minutes, the "0850 clock" is 20 minutes fast, and the "0820 clock" is simply slow. This is the only combination providing a solution to the problem.
- Both represent a visibility restriction caused by moisture in the air. BR (mist) becomes FG (fog) when the visibility becomes less than five-eighths of a mile (1 kilometer).
- At the end of 2005, Texas had 389 airports and Rhode Island had only eight. Runner-ups were Alaska with 312 and California with 263.
- In the vernacular of paratroopers, "the first man down" is someone whose parachute fails to open.
- It usually is a seaplane base at the south end of Lake Winnipesaukee. During the winter when the ice gets thick enough, an ice runway on the lake is plowed, marked, and provided with a taxiway and parking area for use by landplanes. Braking action varies from poor to nil.
- True. Orville left school after his junior year to start a printing business. The family's move from Indiana to Ohio prevented Wilbur from receiving his diploma after completing four years of high school. Learjet's Bill Lear was another who did not graduate from high school.
- False. Daedalus survived the flight. It was his son, Icarus, who perished in the body of water that now bears his name, the Icarian Sea.
- True. The most recent attempt to fly such an airplane was in October 2006 in Surrey, England. After the lengthy rubber band had been tightly wound and the propeller released, the aircraft moved only 6 feet...backward.
- (d) At a specified distance from the aircraft, takeoff noise was measured at 136 dB — and 10 dB greater than this in the 125-to-250-Hz frequency range (according to a NASA technical memorandum).
- (b) At the Airport Diner on New York's Roosevelt Field (where Charles A. Lindbergh departed for Paris) in 1927, the price of a 3-point landing was 25 cents (including potatoes, toast, butter, and coffee).
- (e) Pizza Hut was founded in Wichita. The gliders were an attempt to keep pilots in the air without having to spend money on fuel and engine repairs.
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