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Test PilotTest Pilot

GENERAL From reader John Schmidt: During World War II, the Germans launched their Messerschmitt 321 glider using a Troika-Schlepp. What was a Troika-Schlepp? From reader Elwood Schapansky: During cruise flight, the pilot of a Cessna 182 rapidly pushes forward on the control wheel to create a brief zero-G condition.

GENERAL

  1. From reader John Schmidt: During World War II, the Germans launched their Messerschmitt 321 glider using a Troika-Schlepp. What was a Troika-Schlepp?
  2. From reader Elwood Schapansky: During cruise flight, the pilot of a Cessna 182 rapidly pushes forward on the control wheel to create a brief zero-G condition. The unbelted passenger in the rear seat rises, floats in the cabin, and feels weightless. What force(s) is (are) acting on the passenger during this brief period?
  3. From reader Richard Wilsher: A pilot reads the following METAR: KSMO 261419Z 0000KT 5SM BR CLR 12/12 A2987 RMK AO2 FG BNK S-W $ What is the significance of the dollar sign at the end?
  4. Estimate within five years when the first aircraft was launched from a naval ship.
  5. From reader Brian Schiff: Who were Leon Delagrange and Charles Furnas?
  6. When studying METARs, pilots might notice that there are eight official types of precipitation. Four of them are rain (RA), drizzle (DZ), snow (SN), and hail (GR). What are the other four?
  7. What is a pitot bomb?
  8. What was or is the Happy Bottom Riding Club?

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. From reader Jeff Hill: A pilot is taxiing an airplane with retractable landing gear on a smooth, hard surface. It is impossible for the landing gear to come up as a result of moving the landing-gear handle to the Up position.
  2. From reader Tom White: “Dimples 82” was the nickname given by pilots to the airplane frequently used by child movie star, Shirley Temple.
  3. Cruising altitudes for VFR flight are determined using the so-called “hemispherical” rule (000-179 degrees magnetic, odd 1,000s + 500, etc.). This rule is an international standard and is used everywhere.

MULTIPLE CHOICE

  1. Before takeoff, a pilot places a helium-filled balloon on the empty right seat of his airplane. The balloon naturally and immediately rises to the cockpit ceiling. While accelerating for takeoff (and with all vents closed to prevent air circulation in the cockpit), the pilot notes that the balloon
    1. moves forward.
    2. moves rearward.
    3. moves right.
    4. moves left.
    5. does not move at all.
  2. From reader Mark Barchenko: The first scheduled international airline flight from the United States operated between
    1. Buffalo and Toronto.
    2. Key West and Havana.
    3. San Diego and Ensenada.
    4. Seattle and Victoria.
  3. From reader John Grasberger: When a helipad is marked with an H inside a triangle, in which direction is the apex of the triangle pointing?
    1. Magnetic North
    2. True North
    3. The direction of the preferred (safest) approach course
    4. The preferred orientation of the helicopter when parked

TEST PILOT ANSWERS

  1. The Me.321 was a mammoth glider that had a gross weight of 75,800 pounds and could not be towed aloft by a single airplane. Three twin-engine Bf.110s in formation, a Troika-Schlepp, were used to haul the monster aloft. Schlepp in Yiddish means “to carry clumsily or with difficulty.”
  2. Only the force of gravity, which causes weight. The passenger will accelerate downward toward the Earth for as long as the airplane is doing the same. He senses weight only when the seat is pushing up against his bottom.
  3. “$” indicates that the automated sensor requires maintenance and some data might be inaccurate.
  4. A hot-air balloon was launched from a British sloop, HMS Pallas, to drop leaflets over France in 1806.
  5. Delagrange became the world’s first airplane passenger when taken aloft near Paris by Henri Farman in 1908. Charles Furnas was the first American passenger and was flown by Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk later that year.
  6. Small hail/snow pellets (GS), ice pellets (PL), snow grains (SG), and ice crystals/diamond dust (IC).
  7. It is a pitot tube suspended on a cable beneath an airplane to obtain airspeed indications not influenced by air disturbances near the airplane. It has vanes to keep it pivoted into the relative wind and was used on test and prototype airplanes.
  8. Pancho Barnes’ fly-in “watering hole” had an all-female staff and was frequented by a variety of celebrities, especially test pilots from nearby Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base) during the 1940s and early 1950s. The derivation of “happy bottom” is uncertain although some say it refers to horseback-riding activities at the club.
  9. True. The airplane goes down before the gear has a chance to come up. (Sorry about that.)
  10. False. “Dimples 82” was the call sign of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay, during its World War II mission to Hiroshima, Japan.
  11. False. In those countries where traffic flow is predominantly north-south (such as in New Zealand and Chile), odd altitudes + 500 are used when tracking 270-089 degrees, and even altitudes + 500 are used when tracking 090-269 degrees.
  12. (a) A helium-filled balloon moves opposite to the force of gravity. During acceleration, the apparent force of gravity is from below and behind, which is why a pilot is pressed into both the bottom and the back of his seat. The balloon, therefore, both rises and moves forward.
  13. (b) Pan American Airways departed a dirt runway in Key West using a wood-and-fabric Fokker F-7 Trimotor on October 28, 1927. It landed in Havana one hour and 10 minutes later.
  14. (a) Helipads also are known as helibases, heliports, and helispots.

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