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Test PilotTest Pilot

GENERAL Aeronautically speaking, what is a Lunkenheimer valve? Many older airplanes have external bracing wires that assist in keeping the wings in place when various loads are applied. Many of these are called flying wires, while others are called landing wires.


  1. Aeronautically speaking, what is a Lunkenheimer valve?
  2. Many older airplanes have external bracing wires that assist in keeping the wings in place when various loads are applied. Many of these are called flying wires, while others are called landing wires. What is the difference between flying wires and landing wires?
  3. Why is an airship (such as a blimp) also called a dirigible?
  4. From reader Bob Dingley: The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation had a reputation for building such rugged aircraft that it became known as the Grumman Iron Works. What airframe manufacturer was known as the Guitar Works?
  5. The Lomcevak, which loosely translated from Czechoslovakian means headache or hangover, is an aerobatic maneuver during which the airplane tumbles head over heels about the pitch (lateral) axis while moving in a lateral direction. How does a pilot execute such a maneuver?
  6. From reader George Shanks: The Douglas DC-3 has been known as the Gooney Bird, Old Methuselah, the Dizzy Three, the Placid Plodder, and other nicknames. It also has been called the Dakota (primarily by the British). What is the origin of that name?
  7. An airplane is executing a straight-in approach to a sea-level airport with flaps retracted at an airspeed of 180 knots. If an 8-degree crab angle is required to remain on final approach, what is the crosswind component?
  8. From Steven Rosenbaum: Why was American pilot Gail Halvorsen known as Uncle Wiggly Wings? (See “ He’s the Candy Bomber,” page 80.)


  1. From reader John Schmidt: Which late-night talk-show personality was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps?
    1. Steve Allen
    2. Johnny Carson
    3. Ed McMahon
    4. Jack Paar
  2. From reader John Tiller: A VOT is used to determine the accuracy of VOR receivers. When tuned to a VOT, a pilot will hear one of which two of the following identifying transmissions?
    1. A continuous tone.
    2. A series of dashes.
    3. A series of dots.
    4. A series of alternating dots and dashes.
  3. The longest propeller ever used to propel an airplane in flight had a diameter of
    1. 20 feet, 7.5 inches.
    2. 22 feet, 7.5 inches.
    3. 24 feet, 7.5 inches.
    4. 26 feet, 7.5 inches.


  1. American pilots know that when two airplanes are on converging courses, the airplane on the other’s right has right-of-way. In England (and a few other countries), however, the airplane on the other’s left has right-of-way.
  2. From reader Richard Wilsher: The Wright brothers made their first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.


  1. It is a manual fuel valve placed along a fuel line for checking avgas for water or sediment. Sump drains in most general aviation airplanes are Lunkenheimer valves. (Tell that to your instructor.)
  2. Flying wires help to prevent the wings from moving upwards during flight; they extend upward and outward from the fuselage to the bottoms of wings. Landing wires help to prevent the wings from moving downwards when the aircraft is on the ground; they extend downward and outward from the fuselage to the tops of wings.
  3. An airship is a steerable type of lighter-than-air aircraft. (A balloon is not steerable.) Dirigible is from the Latin, dirigo, which means to steer or direct.
  4. Kaman Aircraft builds helicopters. When its founder, Charles Kaman, a guitarist, purchased the Ovation Guitar Company in 1956, Kaman Aircraft became known as the Guitar Works.
  5. Patty Wagstaff explains the classic Lomcevak entry: “Pull up into a 45- to 60-degree, nose-high climb, and quickly roll into a left knife-edge attitude. Immediately and simultaneously apply full right rudder, full left aileron, and full forward stick. The airplane should tumble end over end at least twice.” Do not try this at home.
  6. Dakota stems from the acronym, DACoTA, which was derived from “Douglas Aircraft Company transport aircraft.”
  7. Twenty-four knots. Each degree of crab represents a one-knot crosswind for each 60 knots of airspeed. At 120 knots, a five-degree crab angle represents a 10-knot crosswind, and so forth.
  8. Halvorsen wiggled (rocked) his wings to greet children on the ground during the Berlin Airlift. They were waiting for him to drop Hershey bars, chewing gum, and other goodies with parachutes made of handkerchiefs. He inspired other pilots to drop candy all over West Berlin.
  9. (c) McMahon also was a flight instructor and test pilot.
  10. (a) and (c) These prevent pilots from misidentifying VOTs as VOR stations.
  11. (b) The Garuda propeller was built in Breslau, Germany, in 1919 and installed on a Linke-Hofmann R.II bomber. It was driven by single shaft powered by four 260-horsepower Mercedes engines.
  12. False.“Rules of the road” are internationalized. The airplane on the other’s right has right-of-way everywhere.
  13. False. The flight took place at Kill Devil Hills. The telegram announcing their success was dispatched from nearby Kitty Hawk.

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