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Test Pilot

GENERAL From reader John Tiller: A sign indicating the halfway point of the runway is installed next to certain unimproved runways. How is a pilot supposed to utilize this information? From reader Tom Travis: What is the origin of the idiomatic expression, "putting your [backside] in a sling." What is the only U.S.


  1. From reader John Tiller: A sign indicating the halfway point of the runway is installed next to certain unimproved runways. How is a pilot supposed to utilize this information?
  2. From reader Tom Travis: What is the origin of the idiomatic expression, "putting your [backside] in a sling."
  3. What is the only U.S. Air Force base named after an enlisted man?
  4. From reader George Shanks: Why does air traffic control encourage some turbine pilots, and especially airline pilots, to intentionally fly one or two miles off course during cruise flight and without obtaining specific clearance to do so?
  5. From reader Michael Gallagher: The last dogfight between World War II fighters involved what two well-known piston aircraft, and in what year did that occur?
  6. From reader Mark Baird: Whether by accident or design, all of Boeing's multi-engine production airliners (except one) incorporate a "7" in its model designations: 247, 307, 377, 707, 717, 720, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. What is the exception?
  7. Puff, the Magic Dragon is a song made popular in 1963 by Peter, Paul, and Mary. What does this have to do with aviation?


  1. From reader Brian Corliss: Large cities are portrayed on VFR aeronautical charts using irregularly shaped yellow patterns. These shapes are determined using satellite photos of urban areas taken during daylight hours.
  2. The lavatory of the Ford Tri-Motor was in the tail. Excessive use of the lavatory could cause the center of gravity to move excessively aft.
  3. Those who remotely control UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) such as the General Atomics Predator are required to be pilots and may log such time as pilot in command.
  4. An airplane may not be flown in IFR conditions unless a pitot-static system check has been performed within the previous 24 calendar months.


  1. From reader Richard Wilsher: The author of this quiz has flown 303 different types of aircraft but the record for types flown appears to be held by Eric "Winkle" Brown who has flown _______ different types.
    1. 333
    2. 487
    3. 512
    4. 814
  2. From reader Mark Barchenko: Which of the Airbus A320's primary flight controls are strictly fly-by-wire controls?
    1. elevator and ailerons only
    2. elevator and rudder only
    3. ailerons and rudder only
    4. ailerons, elevator, and rudder
  3. From reader George Curtis: Many World War II airplanes and some subsequent ones used water injection to temporarily increase available engine power. The primary purpose of water injection in piston engines is to
    1. create steam in the cylinders that expands to produce more power.
    2. increase the mass flow into the engine and to prevent preignition.
    3. cause disassociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen to increase/improve flame propagation in the cylinders.
    4. prevent detonation.


  1. The AIM states that a pilot should reach at least 70 percent of the airplane's liftoff speed by the time it reaches the halfway point. (Refer to AIM 7-5-7 for elaboration.)
  2. The tail gunner in a Consolidated B-24 Liberator sat in a canvas sling.
  3. Corporal Frank S. Scott (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois) was the first enlisted man to lose his life in an aircraft accident (September 27, 1912).
  4. Flying to the right of course along oceanic routes reduces wake-turbulence encounters when high-flying aircraft are vertically separated by only 1,000 feet. This "strategic lateral offset procedure" (SLOP) also reduces the likelihood of midair encounters when an aircraft flying exactly the same GPS track as another is at the wrong altitude.
  5. During the Soccer War on July 17, 1969, a Honduran Air Force F4U-5N Corsair was victorious over a Salvadoran Air Force Cavalier P-51D Mustang.
  6. The Boeing 314 Clipper also was the only seaplane.
  7. "Puff, the Magic Dragon" is military slang for the AC-47 and AC-130 gunships used in Vietnam. Their Gatling guns fired red tracers that made them look as though they were breathing fire.
  8. False. The charted yellow shape represents the pattern of streetlights and, therefore, is most useful at night.
  9. False. The weight of deposits made there had little effect on CG. The lavatory consisted of a toilet seat and a hole in the floor. (Bombs away!) The windchill factor discouraged people from spending much time on the seat.
  10. True. Although the time may be logged, the FAA does not allow such experience to satisfy currency or experience requirements specified in Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
  11. False. A test of the pitot system is not required.
  12. (b) Royal Navy Capt. Brown commanded Enemy Aircraft Flight, an elite group of British pilots who test-flew captured World War II German aircraft. He flew 53 of them. On December 3, 1945, he made the first landing of a jet (a de Havilland Sea Vampire) on an aircraft carrier.
  13. (a) In the event of failure of the entire fly-by-wire system, a pilot can still maneuver the airplane using rudder, elevator trim, and thrust vectoring.
  14. (d) Cooling the cylinders allows greater fuel flow and, therefore, more power while keeping cylinder-head temperatures in check.

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