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GENERAL From reader John Schmidt: What airplane produced by a well-known aircraft manufacturer was rejected by the U.S. Army in 1973 because it could be brought down by bow and arrow? What is the largest, post-World War II, piston-powered, twin-engine airplane designed from scratch and produced exclusively as a general aviation airplane? From reader Richard Wilsher: Why should every dedicated pilot fly at least once to KFFA? Several types of liaison airplanes served the U.S.

GENERAL

  1. From reader John Schmidt: What airplane produced by a well-known aircraft manufacturer was rejected by the U.S. Army in 1973 because it could be brought down by bow and arrow?
  2. What is the largest, post-World War II, piston-powered, twin-engine airplane designed from scratch and produced exclusively as a general aviation airplane?
  3. From reader Richard Wilsher: Why should every dedicated pilot fly at least once to KFFA?
  4. Several types of liaison airplanes served the U.S. military during World War II. Best known of these were the first five, the L-1, L-2, L-3, L-4, and L-5. Can you identify these utilitarian “L-birds?”
  5. Almost everyone has heard of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, but what is the Lightning II?
  6. U.S. military flight-crew positions often have nicknames. What are the official positions of a boomer, a GAFO (pronounced GAY-fo), a raven, a GIB (pronounced gib), and a whizzo?
  7. From reader George Shanks: The Pratt & Whitney J58 (JT11D) engines that powered the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird use JP-7 fuel so inert that it could not be ignited with spark or ignition plugs. How was this exotic fuel ignited during engine start?
  8. On November 13, 1942, and after having survived in a life raft in the western Pacific for 23 days, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Col. Hans Adamson, and Pvt. John Bartek were found by the pilot of a Vought-Sikorsky Kingfisher, a U.S. Navy seaplane. What was so unusual about the subsequent rescue?

MULTIPLE CHOICE

  1. The oldest, continually active seaplane base in the United States (and possibly the world) is in
    1. Florida.
    2. New Jersey.
    3. New York.
    4. Pennsylvania.
  2. The peregrine falcon has been clocked at 217 mph in a 45-degree dive, but the greatest speed that a bird can achieve in level, wing-flapping flight is
    1. 66 mph.
    2. 86 mph.
    3. 106 mph.
    4. 126 mph.
  3. There is nothing noteworthy about someone machining parts for the Douglas DC-3 in his garage and later forming a company that manufactured hose clamps for aircraft except that he was
    1. either Bud Abbott or Lou Costello.
    2. either Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy.
    3. one of the Marx brothers.
    4. one of the Three Stooges.

TRUE OR FALSE

  1. No light sport airplane (LSA) is permitted to have retractable landing gear.
  2. The Boeing Company delivered a fixed-gear version of its model 747-400D for the Japanese domestic market. It was the largest fixed-gear airplane ever manufactured.
  3. From reader Dean Anderson: During World War II, Civil Air Patrol airplanes were credited with attacking 57 German submarines. They hit 10 and sank two.

TEST PILOT ANSWERS

  1. The Goodyear Inflatoplane was the world’s first inflatable airplane, needed only eight pounds of air pressure, and was powered by a two-stroke, 40-horsepower Nelson engine.
  2. The Howard 500 resembles the Twin Beech Model 18 but is much larger, faster, and more powerful. It first flew in 1960 (only 16 were built) and had two Pratt & Whitney R-2800, 2,500-horsepower radial engines.
  3. KFFA is First Flight Airport at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, site of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight. Such a pilgrimage is most memorable if made on December 17.
  4. Stinson L-1 Vigilant, Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper, Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper, Piper L-4 Grasshopper, and Stinson L-5 Sentinel.
  5. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a stealth-capable, joint strike fighter that first flew on December 15, 2006.
  6. A boomer is a refueling boom operator; a GAFO is a gear-and-flaps operator (co-pilot); a raven is an electronic warfare operator; a GIB is a “guy in back,” and a whizzo is a weapons system operator (WSO).
  7. Triethylborane (TEB) ignites upon contact with air. The JP-7 fuel-air mixture ignites as soon as TEB is added. TEB also is used to light the afterburners.
  8. The two-place airplane was too small to accommodate three survivors. With Rickenbacker and an aircraft crewmember lashed to the wings, Lt. William Eadie water-taxied his airplane across 40 miles of open sea to his ship.
  9. False. An LSA that is an amphibious airplane may have retractable landing gear.
  10. False. The Boeing 747-400D was intended for Japanese domestic flights and could carry up to 660 passengers in high-density, single-class seating configuration. It did not have the wing-tip extensions and winglets found on other 747-400 aircraft but did have retractable landing gear.
  11. True. Small, single-engine CAP aircraft began carrying bombs and depth charges when German submarines began to prey on American ships along the Atlantic Seaboard.
  12. (d) The Philadelphia Seaplane Base (9N2) is on the Delaware River and has been in operation since 1915 when training was given in Curtiss Pushers.
  13. (c) The gold medal for speed in level flight goes to the spine-tailed swift (also known as the needle-tailed swift and the white-throated needletail).
  14. (c) Harvey “Zeppo” Marx founded Marman Products, which eventually had more than 500 employees. It developed and manufactured band clamps used on World War II aircraft and later on space vehicles.

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