May 1, 2007
By Barry Schiff
GENERAL What insect has the greatest flying speed, and how fast can it fly? During World War II a group of aircraft was called "The Black Cats." What were they, and why were they called by that name? From reader John Tiller: A pilot is flying a piston-powered, naturally aspirated, single-engine airplane and using fuel from one of two tanks. If he allows that tank to run dry, loses power, and switches to the other tank, what is the maximum time that will be required after switching tanks to restore power? From reader John Schmidt: What type of American combat airplane was operated with retractable snow skis during World War II? From reader Hal Fishman: Name three World War II airplanes that were named after Ivy League colleges.
- What insect has the greatest flying speed, and how fast can it fly?
- During World War II a group of aircraft was called "The Black Cats." What were they, and why were they called by that name?
- From reader John Tiller: A pilot is flying a piston-powered, naturally aspirated, single-engine airplane and using fuel from one of two tanks. If he allows that tank to run dry, loses power, and switches to the other tank, what is the maximum time that will be required after switching tanks to restore power?
- From reader John Schmidt: What type of American combat airplane was operated with retractable snow skis during World War II?
- From reader Hal Fishman: Name three World War II airplanes that were named after Ivy League colleges.
- What airline operated the first commercial airline flight in a jet-powered airplane? What was the type aircraft used, in what year did this occur, and what were the departure and arrival points?
- From reader Dean Anderson: Estimate within 1,000 pounds the weight of a cumulus cloud that has a volume of 1 cubic kilometer and is 2 kilometers above sea level.
- From reader Charles Holzer: Why and at what airport is the 10,000-foot-long asphalt runway painted white with red markings?
- From reader Mike Piccola: What was the first country to have an operational aircraft carrier that it built from the keel up to be an aircraft carrier?
- United States
- Regarding Concorde, the supersonic transport, which of the following statements are true (if any) and which are false (if any)?
- It has four turbojet, not turbofan, engines.
- It does not have an auxiliary power unit.
- Each engine has an afterburner.
- It does not have wing flaps.
- It does not have reverse thrust.
- "Taxi into position and hold" is a procedure used to position an aircraft onto a runway for an imminent departure. Lengthy delays while in position, however, can lead to runway conflicts. The FAA recommends, therefore, that a pilot remind a controller that he is holding in position after being there for
- 1 minute.
- 2 minutes.
- 3 minutes.
- 4 minutes.
TRUE OR FALSE
- From reader Richard Somers: Before World War II, many aviation pioneers designed and personally built airplanes that flew successfully. All of these individuals were men.
- When Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson set a new absolute altitude record for gliders of 50,699 feet msl on August 29, 2006, they also flew higher than any normally aspirated, piston-powered, single-engine airplane had ever flown.
- A half-roll followed by a half-loop is called a "reverse Immelmann."
TEST PILOT ANSWERS
- Using its four long wings, a dragonfly can reach 60 mph. Its huge eyes give it a field of vision of almost 360 degrees.
- Navy Consolidated PBY Catalinas (or "Cats") were equipped with radar, painted black, and used to spot and attack Japanese shipping at night. The amphibians were especially effective in spotting and attacking ships attempting to land reinforcements at Guadalcanal.
- Federal Aviation Regulation 23.955 allows a maximum of 10 seconds for the engine to develop 75-percent power.
- A ski-equipped Lockheed P-38J-LO Lightning was used to research cold-weather operations and made the first flight test of synthetic oil. (It is possible but unlikely that other types of combat aircraft also had skis.)
- North American (AT-6) Harvard, North American (BT-9/BT-14) Yale (fixed-gear version of the AT-6), and Fairchild (PT-19) Cornell.
- BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corp.) operated a de Havilland Comet from London to Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 3, 1952.
- It is a whopping 1.4 billion pounds. This is 0.5 percent lighter than the same volume of surrounding air.
- The runway at Thule, Greenland, is built on permafrost. If left black, it would absorb more of the available sunlight, melt the permafrost under the surface, and begin sinking.
- (c) Japan's Hosho became operational in October 1922. Britain was second with HMS Hermes in July 1923. America's first purpose-built carrier was the Lexington (commissioned on December 14, 1927).
- The first four statements are true. The last statement is false. Concorde does have reverse thrust.
- (b) An example of the terminology to be used is: Beech 18499 holding in position Runway 30L at Bravo.
- False. E. Lillian Todd, a retired stenographer, designed a biplane in 1906, built it at the Wittemann Brothers Airplane Co. in Staten Island, New York, and personally installed an eight-cylinder Runek engine. She was taken aloft in her airplane by Didier Masson at Garden City, New York, on November 7, 1910.
- False. Mario Pezzi set an altitude mark over Italy of 56,046 feet msl in a normally aspirated, fabric-covered Caproni 161 biplane, a record that has stood since October 22, 1938. (He probably caught a mountain wave downwind of the Italian Alps.)
- False. It is a split-S even though it has the appearance of an Immelmann turn in reverse.
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