Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

Test PilotTest Pilot

GENERAL From reader Brian Schiff: W.W. Windstaff was a fighter pilot for Great Britain during World War I.


  1. From reader Brian Schiff: W.W. Windstaff was a fighter pilot for Great Britain during World War I. What did he say that is so well known that he is unwittingly quoted by almost every pilot?
  2. What was Grumman’s first monoplane, and what was its first multiengine airplane?
  3. What is a good reason to always leave the rotating beacon switch in the On position even when the airplane is parked, the master switch is off, and no one is in the airplane?
  4. From reader Rick Ray: Just as B is the designation for Air Force bombers, RS is the designation for reconnaissance aircraft. Why, then, are the letters reversed in the designation of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which also is a “recon” aircraft?
  5. A pilot climbs into the cockpit of his airplane and has reason to believe that his manifold pressure gauge is in error. How can he determine the amount of instrument error, if any, without turning on the master switch or operating the engine?
  6. From reader John Schmidt: Who were the Night Witches?
  7. From reader Dan Stroud: What was the fastest (in level flight), operational American fighter of World War II?
  8. What was the first production jet aircraft to employ the twin, aft-mounted engine configuration so commonly used these days?


  1. From reader Jacques Roulet: Switzerland has some of the world’s most beautiful lakes. This makes it a popular destination for European seaplane pilots.
  2. From reader Eric Oxendorf: Before Beech Aircraft introduced the Model 35 V-tail Bonanza in 1947, it had flight tested and experimented with a Cessna 190 configured with a V-tail.
  3. A pilot experiences total engine failure because of the simultaneous failure of both magnetos. The engine most likely is manufactured by Avco Lycoming.


  1. From reader Wendell Todd: Who is credited with the following well-known admonition? “When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the airplane, only then you can go flying.”
    a. Donald Douglas
    b. John Northrop
    c. Edward “Eddie” Rickenbacker
    d. Juan Trippe
  2. From reader Abi Reibman: The oldest aviation organization in the United States is the
    a. National Aeronautic Association.
    b. National Balloon Club.
    c. The Ninety-Nines.
    d. Soaring Society of America.
  3. From reader Richard Wilsher: Which of the following was the only U.S.-built aircraft to be flown in combat during World War I?
    a. Curtiss JN-1 “Jenny”
    b. de Havilland DH-4
    c. Spad S.VII
    d. Wright RB-2

Test Pilot Answers

  1. “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”
  2. They are one and the same: the Grumman Goose, a twin-engine, high-wing amphibian that first flew on May 29, 1937.
  3. With the switch left on, a pilot can always look at his airplane and know at a glance if he inadvertently left on the master switch. Failing this, others might notice the beacon and inform the pilot.
  4. President Lyndon B. Johnson publicly and erroneously referred to the new Lockheed RS-71 as the SR-71. So as not to embarrass the president, the aircraft was henceforth designated as the SR-71.
  5. He can turn the altimeter-setting knob until the altimeter indicates field elevation. The ambient atmospheric pressure will be indicated in the Kollsman (altimeter-setting) window, and this is what the manifold pressure gauge should indicate when the engine is not running.
  6. >They were the all-female pilots of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment of Russia. Despite flying slow, obsolete Polikarpov Po-2 trainers, they conducted an incredible 24,000 missions behind German lines and delivered 23,000 tons of bombs from their fragile wood-and-fabric biplanes.
  7. The Republic P–47M Thunderbolt was a souped-up response to the jets being introduced by the Luftwaffe. It had a maximum speed of “475 to 480 mph.”
  8. The French Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle airliner, which first flew in 1955. United Airlines was the first American carrier to use it.
  9. False. It is verboten to land a seaplane on a Swiss lake.
  10. False. Beech did, however, configure and flight test its twin-engine AT-10 advanced trainer with a V-tail during World War II.
  11. True. Some Lycoming engines have a single shaft that drives both magnetos. Although extremely rare, a failure of this shaft is the most likely reason for both magnetos to fail simultaneously. Teledyne Continental engines have a separate drive shaft for each magneto.
  12. (a) Although Douglas apparently was referring to design and certification paperwork, pilots often paraphrase and use this statement with respect to preflight paperwork.
  13. (a) The Aero Club of America was formed in 1905 and succeeded by the National Aeronautic Association in 1922. The ACA and NAA issued U.S. pilot licenses until the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1926 gave that responsibility to the Aeronautic Branch of the Department of Commerce.
  14. (b) Although the DH-4 was a British design, the majority of them were built in the United States for service with American forces in France. The “Jenny” was strictly a trainer and not used in combat.

Visit the author’s Web site.

Related Articles