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Test PilotTest Pilot

MULTIPLE CHOICE A pilot is practicing an on-pylon. He notices during the turn that the pylon is slipping ahead of the wingtip.


  1. A pilot is practicing an on-pylon. He notices during the turn that the pylon is slipping ahead of the wingtip. He should
    1. climb and reduce airspeed.
    2. climb and increase airspeed.
    3. descend and reduce airspeed.
    4. descend and increase airspeed.
  2. A pilot is practicing an around-pylon in a counterclockwise direction while under the influence of an easterly wind. On which of the following headings will rate of turn be greatest?
    1. 090 degrees
    2. 180 degrees
    3. 270 degrees
    4. 360 degrees
  3. There are three types of airmets. A phonetic letter names each type. _____ refers to IFR conditions and/or extensive mountain obscurations; _____ is issued for turbulence, high winds, and low-level wind shear; and _____ advises of icing and freezing levels.
    1. Airmet Sierra, airmet Tango, airmet Zulu
    2. Airmet Tango, airmet Sierra, airmet Uniform
    3. Airmet Uniform, airmet Zulu, airmet Sierra
    4. Airmet Zulu, airmet Tango, airmet Sierra


  1. From reader Charles O’Dale: During high-speed flight, the skin of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is heated hundreds of degrees. This is primarily due to skin friction.
  2. From reader Richard Somers: Just as all U.S.-registered aircraft have call signs beginning with the letter N, so do all U.S.-registered ships (but not necessarily small vessels).
  3. From reader Mike Piccola: During World War II a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (a four-engine bomber) engaged in a dogfight with a Japanese aircraft for 45 minutes and won.


  1. From reader John Tiller: A U.S. military fighter pilot broadcasts the word Winchester. What is the significance of this transmission?
  2. From readers John and Patty Schmidt: What was the first type of jet aircraft to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean?
  3. In the jargon of flight attendants, what is a thumper?
  4. From reader Rick Ray: Who is the only person after whom two U.S. airports are named?
  5. What was America’s first four-engine airliner?
  6. From reader Dennis Tuck: Other than for simply storing fuel, what was the purpose of the fuel tank in the tail of the supersonic Concorde?
  7. How many beds are aboard a Boeing 747 built to be used as Air Force One?
  8. When performing an ignition check prior to departure, a pilot turns off one magneto, returns to Both, turns off the other mag, and returns to Both. Why is it important to return to the Both position between the checking of each magneto?


  1. (d) The pilot is above the pivotal altitude for the existing airspeed. He can descend to the pivotal altitude or he can increase airspeed to raise the pivotal altitude. Doing both simultaneously results in an easier return to pivotal altitude.
  2. (c) This is when the airplane will have the greatest groundspeed and, therefore, need to turn the most rapidly to fly a perfect circle. Conversely, groundspeed and rate of turn are at a minimum when on a heading of 090 degrees.
  3. (a) Think of it this way: S stands for stratus, T for turbulence, and Z for freezing.
  4. False. Although skin friction is responsible for some temperature rise, air compression ahead of the aircraft is responsible for most of the heat.
  5. False. However, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships have call signs beginning with the letter N. For example, the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, an aircraft carrier, uses the call sign NJFK for unclassified communications.
  6. True. Commanded by Lt. Ed Loberg, the B-17 engaged a Kawanishi H6K (Allied code name, Mavis), a four-engine flying boat. The fight ended with the Mavis crashing into the sea in a ball of flame.
  7. Winchester means that all available ordnance on the airplane has been expended.
  8. Two Republic F-84 Thunderjets made the crossing on September 22, 1950, with the help of three in-flight refuelings.
  9. Someone who seems to enjoy bumping or thumping the seat in front of him. (Such a person almost justifies homicide.)
  10. Gen. Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and Billy Mitchell Airport in Hatteras, North Carolina, were named after the legendary airpower advocate, William “Billy” Mitchell.
  11. Charles Lindbergh piloted the inaugural passenger flight of Pan American World Airways’ Sikorsky S-40, an amphibious four-engine flying boat, from Miami to the Panama Canal Zone on November 19, 1931. It was the first of the Pan Am Clipper ships and called the Flying Forest for its maze of struts.
  12. Concorde’s center of gravity with its 13 fuel tanks full was forward for takeoff and climb. During climb, forward fuel was consumed to shift the CG about eight feet aft for supersonic flight. Fuel in the tail was pumped into forward tanks to move the CG forward again for (relatively) slow flight and landing.
  13. The president’s bed, and a bed for medical emergencies.
  14. Returning to Both allows the engine to stabilize at the normal, pre-check rpm so that each magneto is checked from a common starting point. This makes valid a comparison of the two rpm drops (one for each magneto). Also, the short period on Both allows oil and fuel to burn off the set of spark plugs that were deactivated when the first mag was turned off.

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