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GENERAL From reader John Schmidt: The 10-engine Convair B-36 Peacemaker was the first intercontinental bomber designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Why were early models limited to operating at only three U.S.


  1. From reader John Schmidt: The 10-engine Convair B-36 Peacemaker was the first intercontinental bomber designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Why were early models limited to operating at only three U.S. Air Force bases?
  2. Having written more than 700 romance novels, British author Barbara Cartland (1901-2000) is one of the most successful writers of all time. Why did she receive the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award in 1984?
  3. From reader David Shaw: Aircraft have fuel pumps, oil pumps, deicer-fluid pumps, vacuum pumps, “blue-water” pumps, and so forth. What are scavenge pumps?
  4. From reader John Tiller: A pilot referring to the FAA’s Airport/Facilities Directory notices that the wind sock at his destination is mounted on a non-frangible pole. What does that mean?
  5. A monocoque fuselage does not have internal framework; the external skin supports the structural load. Structural skin is another term for the same concept. What is the origin of the word monocoque?
  6. Stems from tobacco-smoking pipes purchased in general stores were invaluable to pioneer pilots. How were they used?
  7. Who was first to reach the stratosphere?
  8. Typically, what is the single most significant difference between recovering from a conventional spin and a flat spin?


  1. Single-engine airplanes (turbine or reciprocating) are prohibited from being operated in Part 121 (airline) operations.
  2. From reader Jim Pompa: All Tuskegee Airmen trained to be fighter pilots during World War II were African-American men.
  3. From reader Joe Barber: A little-known provision of the federal aviation regulations allows the maximum-allowable gross weight of a light plane to be increased by 5 percent for normal, ongoing operations simply by completing a form.


  1. From reader Jeff Pardo: In 1977, Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Wa Za Banga, the grandiose dictator of Zaire, said that his purchase from the U.S. Department of Defense of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules would be cancelled unless
    1. The airplane was delivered with $60,000 worth of Coca-Cola.
    2. He was allowed to surreptitiously pilot the delivery flight from California.
    3. The delivery crew consisted entirely of African-Americans.
    4. The airplane was delivered with an armor-plated Mercedes Benz and 5,000 cartons of cigarettes.
  2. From reader Daniel Brown: Which war featured the first use of air-to-air combat?
    1. The Franco-Prussian War (1870)
    2. The Spanish-American War (1898)
    3. The Russo-Japanese War (1905)
    4. World War I (1914-1918)
  3. Who made the following comments and when? “This is Earth again, the Earth where I’ve lived and now will live once more. I’ve been to eternity and back. I know how the dead would feel to live again.”
    1. James “Jimmy” Doolittle
    2. Charles Lindbergh
    3. James Lovell
    4. Edward “Eddie” Rickenbacker


  1. The single, 1,320-pound, gargantuan tire of each main landing-gear leg placed too much weight per unit area (pressure) on runway surfaces, and only three bases had runways strong enough to handle the load. A four-wheel bogie replaced each single-wheel main gear on subsequent models.
  2. She conceived the idea of long-distance glider towing and, in 1931, performed a 200-mile tow in a glider. This led to the evolution of troop-carrying gliders.
  3. Radial engines have a pump that scavenges oil from the crankcase and returns it to the oil tank. This prevents oil from accumulating in the crankcase, leaking into the lower cylinders after shutdown, and causing hydraulic lock in those cylinders.
  4. Frangible items (such as most runway and approach lights) are designed to break away when struck and cause minimal aircraft damage. A non-frangible pole will not break as easily and is more of an obstruction hazard.
  5. Monocoque is of French origin meaning “single” (mono) “shell” (coque).
  6. Prior to oxygen masks, pilots as early as 1913 inhaled oxygen through pipe stems that were attached to rubber hoses attached to a supply of supplemental oxygen.
  7. Auguste Piccard, a Swiss physicist, and Charles Knipfer rose to 51,793 feet msl during a 17-hour balloon flight over Europe in May 1931.
  8. In addition to applying nose-down elevator and anti-spin rudder, a pilot attempting to recover from a flat spin should apply aileron in the direction of the spin. The raised aileron spoils lift on the inside (retreating) wing, and the lowered aileron on the outside (advancing) wing increases drag to reduce rotation rate.
  9. True. Such aircraft were allowed in air-carrier operations prior to 1996.
  10. False. Eugene Smith was three-fourths white and one-fourth American Indian. The doctor who delivered Smith listed him on his birth certificate as “colored.” He was not allowed to train with Caucasian pilots, and African-American pilots could not understand why a Causasian man was in their unit.
  11. False. One can obtain a permit to increase gross weight by 10 percent but only for special circumstances, such as a ferry flight.
  12. (a) It is unknown if the purchase was consummated.
  13. (a) The Prussians used trained falcons to intercept and kill French carrier pigeons used for communications.
  14. (b) Subsequently penned, these were Lindbergh’s thoughts when first sighting Ireland after crossing the Atlantic during his 1927 flight to Paris.

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