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This month’s edition of “Test Pilot” celebrates AOPA Pilot’s fiftieth anniversary and is an open-book quiz. All questions can be answered by referring to 1958 issues of The AOPA Pilot.

This month’s edition of “Test Pilot” celebrates AOPA Pilot’s fiftieth anniversary and is an open-book quiz. All questions can be answered by referring to 1958 issues of The AOPA Pilot. See Vol. 1 from March 1958 in digital format on AOPA Online.


  1. AOPA headquarters are located in Frederick, Maryland. Where were they in 1958?
  2. Many aircraft owners modified their aircraft with Geisse Safety Gear. What was the purpose of this modification?
  3. Who was Nancy Narco?
  4. Who was the president of AOPA when The AOPA Pilot was first published in March 1958?
  5. What was the Lear Super Arcon?
  6. What were the most popular pilot training manuals published in 1958 and advertised in The AOPA Pilot?
  7. In 1958 several issues of The AOPA Pilot carried one- and two-page advertisements for airplanes being sold by the Aircraft Sales Office. What was so unusual about these aircraft?
  8. Who was the famous baseball player who learned to fly in a Stearman in 1940 and told his story in the May 1958 issue of The AOPA Pilot?
  9. Frank Kingston Smith, a Philadelphia lawyer and private pilot, wrote one of 1958’s most popular aviation books. What was the title of this bestseller?
  10. What popular autopilot was available in 1958 that operated pneumatically and required no electrical power?
  11. A pilot working for the Ferry Service Company of Wichita delivered a new Beech Twin Bonanza to what reigning head of state in 1958 (for use as his personally flown airplane)?
  12. Who was the administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration in 1958?
  13. Using a Cessna 172, a pair of Texas pilots established an in-flight endurance record in 1958 of _______ hours.
  14. What was the most popular nav/com in 1958?
  15. An article in the June 1958 issue of The AOPA Pilot, “Biggest Little Airport,” raved about an airport described as “probably the busiest single commercial [non-airline] airstrip in the world.” It allowed visiting pilots to walk only 10 minutes to a major commercial hub. What is the name of this exceptional airport that was busier than any in Europe except for London and Paris?
  16. The annual gathering of AOPA members is currently called “Expo,” but in 1958 this convention was called ________ _______.


  1. According to the Aircraft Bluebook, four of the following five airplanes were introduced in the 1958 model year. Which one was not?
    1. Beech Travel Air 95
    2. Cessna 150
    3. Gulfstream G–1 (G–159)
    4. Piper Comanche PA–24-180/250
    5. Twin Commander 500
  2. The AOPA Navitimer was a wristwatch/chronograph with a rotating bezel that could be used as a rate-time-distance calculator or a circular slide rule. Which company produced these AOPA logo watches?
    1. Breitling.
    2. Bulova.
    3. Cartier.
    4. Longines.
  3. Which company made the first vision-restriction device worn on the head (a hood) and used for instrument flight training?
    1. Aero Products Research (APR).
    2. Francis Aviation.
    3. Jeppesen & Company.
    4. Weems Navigation.
  4. The first editor of AOPA Pilot was
    1. Richard Collins.
    2. Thomas B. Haines.
    3. Max Karant.
    4. L.P. Sharples.
  5. In 1958, AOPA announced a contest designed to increase membership to 80,000. A new member and an existing member each won
    1. a Forney Aircoupe.
    2. a lifetime membership in AOPA.
    3. $2,500 in cash.
    4. 100 hours of free aircraft rental from Hertz Rent-a-Plane.
  6. The June 1958 issue of The AOPA Pilot contained a classified ad placed by a member to sell his Ryan PT–22. It was in immaculate condition and had paint, a radio, an auxiliary fuel tank, and a Kinner radial engine. The asking price was
    1. $750.
    2. $1,500.
    3. $2,500.
    4. $5,000.


  1. A popular monthly column in AOPA Pilot is “Pilot Counsel” by John S. Yodice. A similar column appeared in the first issue of The AOPA Pilot. It was titled “Legally Speaking” and also was written by Yodice, who has written a column in every issue of the magazine, including this one, issue 601.
  2. Avemco was AOPA’s “official insurer” in 1958 and insured the majority of small airplanes in the United States.
  3. General aviation pilots were encouraged to fly to Cuba in 1958.
  4. An operational single-place jet fighter with fewer than 25 hours (total time airframe and engine) was offered for sale (with or without armament) in the June 1958 issue of The AOPA Pilot.
  5. In 1958, AOPA membership dues were $5 per year.
  6. The busiest airport in the United States in 1958 was Chicago Midway.


  1. AOPA occupied a two-story building at 4644 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland.
  2. Geisse Safety Gear allowed airplanes to make crosswind landings while crabbing. Also known as crosswind landing gear, the main wheels of certain taildraggers were modified to castor. This modification allowed the aircraft to roll in one direction (along the runway centerline, for example) while headed in another.
  3. Nancy Narco was an invented persona and mascot used in Narco (National Aeronautical Corp.) advertisements similar to the way in which Betty Crocker is used by General Mills. Jeppesen & Company used an equally fictitious “Cap’n Sharp” as its advertising mascot.
  4. J.B. “Doc” Hartranft Jr. was one of the founders of AOPA in 1939. He served as AOPA president from 1952 to 1977. Hartranft also founded the National Air Guard (not the Air National Guard), forerunner of the Civil Air Patrol.
  5. The Arcon was an automatic rudder control, the first full-time yaw damper available for GA airplanes.
  6. Charles Zweng and John Dohm wrote most of the Zweng Manuals. Pan American Navigation Service in North Hollywood, California, published them.
  7. The U.S. government was selling the aircraft, which were located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. They consisted of 150 B–26s, 10 C–46As, 32 T–6Gs, 27 T–28As, 12 B–25s, and one H–13B helicopter.
  8. Bob Feller was one of major league baseball’s greatest pitchers—he won 266 games as a Cleveland Indian. He got the urge to fly while looking skyward at the home-run ball he had just served to Yankees batter Tommy Henrich. As he gazed at the ball soaring high overhead, he also saw a “stagger-wing aircraft” circling the stadium and wished that he could have been that pilot.
  9. Week-End Pilot was a lively, light-hearted, humorous account of Smith’s introduction to GA. The book enticed many of that era to fly and no doubt would be equally effective today.
  10. The two-axis Tactair autopilot weighed only 7.3 pounds.
  11. King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan was 23 years old and a certificated pilot.
  12. James T. Pyle also was an AOPA member. (Administrators were pilots in those halcyon days.) Also in that year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the new, independent Federal Aviation Agency (now Federal Aviation Administration), which replaced the CAA. Its first administrator was Elwood R. Quesada.
  13. Jim Heth and Bill Burkhart remained aloft near Dallas for 50 days, or 1,200 hours 16 minutes to be precise. They refueled in-flight by slow flying above a pickup truck, lowering a line with a hook, and hauling up cans of avgas as well as food and other essentials. (See “ Endurance Test, Circa 1958,” page 141.)
  14. The panel-mounted Narco Superhomer incorporated a 12-channel transmitter, received 108 to 127 megacycles, and displayed a left-right omni indicator. It sold for $499.50 including three transmitting crystals. Additional channels were available for an extra charge.
  15. Meigs Field, which served downtown Chicago.
  16. Plantation parties. The 1958 Plantation Party was held in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  17. (b) The Cessna 150. The Cessna 150 was introduced in 1959. Also introduced in 1958 were the AG Cat Corporation (Grumman) G–164, the Cessna 175 Skylark, and the Twin Commander 720 Alticruiser.
  18. (a) Breitling, which introduced the Navitimer in the 1940s.
  19. (b) Francis Aviation. The hood sold for $15, and the company was located in Lansing, Michigan.
  20. (c) Max Karant. Karant was managing editor of Flying magazine when AOPA hired him in 1948. AOPA presents the prestigious Max Karant Award annually to journalists who have excelled in aviation coverage in the nonaviation media.
  21. (a) A Forney Aircoupe. The Forney Aircoupe was a 1958 version of the Ercoupe. Only an existing member was eligible to compete for an airplane the previous year, and the grand prize then was a Champion Tri-Traveler. (Hertz Rent-a-Plane, by the way, was operating nationally but soon failed; see “Whatever Happened To?” page 121.)
  22. (c) $2,500. The same airplane today, a mere 50 years later, would sell for closer to $100,000.
  23. False. Alfred Wolf, who was AOPA’s general counsel at the time, wrote “Legally Speaking.”
  24. False. The “official AOPA insurer” was the American Mercury Insurance Company.
  25. True. The AOPA Pilot carried advertisements placed by the Cuban Tourist Commission. The only requirement was that pilots file a flight plan at least 15 minutes before departure. Passports were not required.
  26. True. The de Havilland Vampire had a maximum level speed of 560 mph and a service ceiling of more than 45,000 feet. The price was not specified.
  27. False. Dues were $10 per year. Nonmembers could subscribe to the magazine for $8 per year.
  28. True. Miami, Los Angeles, and Dallas were second, third, and fourth, respectively. The busiest strictly GA airport was Clover Field in Santa Monica, California; it was number 15 overall and the busiest single-runway airport in the country (and perhaps the world).

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