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GENERAL What was the only purpose-built night fighter produced by the United States during World War II? From reader Chris Parks: Traffic-pattern and landing-strip indicators usually sprout from segmented circles that contain either a wind T, a tetrahedron, or a windsock. Why are segmented circles used instead of solid circles? The automatic direction finder (ADF) replaced the radio direction finder (RDF).

GENERAL

  1. What was the only purpose-built night fighter produced by the United States during World War II?
  2. From reader Chris Parks: Traffic-pattern and landing-strip indicators usually sprout from segmented circles that contain either a wind T, a tetrahedron, or a windsock. Why are segmented circles used instead of solid circles?
  3. The automatic direction finder (ADF) replaced the radio direction finder (RDF). What was the significant difference between them?
  4. From reader Tony Carcione: Name the three types of military aircraft that have been used by all four military branches, the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
  5. When military flight crews gathered in a bar after a mission (especially during World War II), what was it customary for them to do (other than to drink and make merry)?
  6. By popular and incorrect use, tarmac has become synonymous with “airport ramp” or “apron.” What is the origin of the word, tarmac?”
  7. From reader Dave Shaw: Stalling is a phenomenon usually associated with flying too slowly. Explain how stalling can occur when flying too fast (at 1 G).
  8. The Bell P-39 Airacobra was a well-known World War II fighter. What was the Bell Airacuda?
  9. Pilots need to keep track of time, and most know that the timepiece with the fewest moving parts is the sundial, but it is impractical for cockpit use. What timepiece has the most moving parts?

MULTIPLE CHOICE

  1. From reader John Schmidt: The first air show or “aero meet” occurred January 10 through 20, 1910, in
    1. Boston.
    2. Cleveland.
    3. Los Angeles.
    4. Newark.
  2. The first airplane to land on a ship underway at sea was a
    1. Bleriot XI.
    2. Curtiss Hudson Flier.
    3. Curtiss Model D Pusher.
    4. Sopwith Pup.

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. From reader Lt. Col. T.C. Schultz: A pilot flying a single-engine airplane experiences total engine failure while above a cloud layer with a 4,000-foot base, for example, over flat terrain. Assume that there are no airports within gliding range. The powerless descent through the undercast should be made at as high an indicated airspeed as practicable.
  2. Air Traffic Control is directed to give Air Force One priority handling over all other aircraft except those in distress.
  3. A pilot flying an ILS (instrument landing system) approach can follow the electronic glideslope all the way to touchdown.

TEST PILOT ANSWERS

  1. The twin-boom, twin-engine Northrop P-61 Black Widow had the general appearance of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning. It did not have ailerons but instead used spoilers for roll control.
  2. A solid circle is sometimes used to mark the center of a landing area.
  3. When using an RDF, the first popular radio aid to navigation, a pilot rotated the loop antenna manually until hearing the audio null to obtain a bearing that could be 180 degrees in error. The ADF’s loop antenna rotates automatically, and a sense antenna eliminates the 180-degree ambiguity.
  4. The Douglas C-47 Skytrain, the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
  5. They exchanged “short snorters,” bank notes or bills (currency) that all would sign. Anyone subsequently challenged and unable to show his “snorter” had to buy a round of drinks. (Snort is derived from the slang for a stiff drink.)
  6. Tarmac (short for Tarmacadam, or blacktop) is paving material, a combination of tar and macadam, the latter being a method of road construction developed by Scotsman John L. McAdam.
  7. When flying a helicopter in forward flight, the retreating rotor blade has relatively low airspeed (compared to the advancing blade), and its angle of attack is automatically increased to preserve lift. If forward airspeed gets too high, the retreating blade stalls, and the helicopter will roll in that direction.
  8. The Airacuda was Bell Aircraft’s first military airplane, a twin-engine interceptor that first flew in 1937. It saw only limited production and was discontinued in 1940.
  9. An hourglass.
  10. (c) It was held at Dominguez Field. Key participants included Glenn Curtiss and Lincoln Beachey. The second “aero meet” was held later that year at Harvard Aviation Field in Atlantic, Massachusetts.
  11. (d) Squadron Commander E.H. Dunning landed a Pup on the aircraft carrier, HMS Furious, on August 2, 1917. Eugene Ely was first to land on a docked ship, the U.S.S. Pennsylvania (a battleship). This was in San Francisco Bay on January 18, 1911, using a Curtiss Model D Pusher.
  12. True. An airplane breaking out of an undercast with excess airspeed has substantially more energy than when descending at the best glide speed. This additional energy increases the time available (as the airplane reduces airspeed) and the area from which a suitable landing site can be selected.
  13. False. Civilian air ambulances, military evacuation flights, and search-and-rescue aircraft are to be given priority handling over a presidential flight.
  14. False. The glideslope levels about 25 feet above the runway and is unreliable after the aircraft passes abeam the structure housing the glideslope transmitter.

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