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General Questions A pilot is number two for takeoff behind a McDonnell Douglas MD–80 and notices that the right elevator of the jetliner is up while the left elevator is down. To whom should he report this? On June 1, 2009, an Air France Airbus A330-200 operating between Rio de Janeiro and Paris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

General Questions

  1. A pilot is number two for takeoff behind a McDonnell Douglas MD–80 and notices that the right elevator of the jetliner is up while the left elevator is down. To whom should he report this?

  2. On June 1, 2009, an Air France Airbus A330-200 operating between Rio de Janeiro and Paris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. What is the ITCZ and what causes it to develop?

  3. What is the maximum amount of lift that the wings of a typical, 2,000-pound general aviation airplane are allowed to develop?

  4. How many aircraft carriers did Germany have during World War II, and what were (was) their (its) name(s)?

  5. What well-known aircraft accident was the impetus for establishing the Federal Aviation Agency (later named the Federal Aviation Administration) in 1958?

  6. From reader Richard Somers: A pilot is flying a 600-nm, straight-line course. His groundspeed during the first half of the course is 150 knots. To what groundspeed must he accelerate to average 300 knots for the entire flight?

  7. What is unique about the Boeing 737-700IGW?

  8. Why was the name of the centigrade scale of temperature measurement changed to Celsius?

    Multiple Choice

  9. The more that wind speed changes with altitude, the more likely is the presence of turbulence. The minimum wind-speed change (also known as vertical wind shear or gradient) necessary to generate moderate or greater turbulence is

    a. 6 knots per 1,000 feet. |  b. 8 knots per 1,000 feet. |  c. 10 knots per 1,000 feet. |  d. 12 knots per 1,000 feet.

  10. From reader John Schmidt: When a military pilot says that he is “reading the instructions,” what does he mean?

    a. He is using a checklist. |  b. He is firing rockets or missiles. |  c. He is ejecting from his aircraft. |  d. He is coping with an emergency.

  11. A commonly taught rule of thumb states that the distance error caused by slant range can be ignored if the aircraft is at least _____ nm from a DME facility for each 1,000 feet that it is above the station.

    a. 0.5 |  b.1 |  c. 2 |  d. 3

    True or False

  12. From reader Brian Schiff: A pilot starts the engine of his landplane, taxis from the transient tie-down area to a self-serve fuel pump, and does not cross any runways in the process. Neither the pilot nor his passenger is required to wear a seat belt at such a time.

  13. From reader Catharina Candolin (Finland): Birds cannot and do not stall.

  14. From reader John Lawton: Airline accidents are more likely to occur with the captain at the controls than when the first officer is flying.

Test answers

  1. No one. The elevators normally are not interconnected and float freely. When the wind is from behind, it is not unusual for them to deflect in opposite directions. During takeoff the elevators align with the relative wind, and moving the control column moves a trim tab on the trailing edge of each elevator that then moves the elevators in unison and in the desired direction.

  2. It is an irregular band of thunderstorms that encircles the Earth and is caused by the moist, northeast trade winds of the northern Tropics meeting the moist, southeast trades of the southern Tropics—a form of equatorial front. The zone moves generally north of the equator during our summer and south during winter.

  3. The maximum amount of lift (7,600 pounds, in this case) is determined by multiplying the maximum-allowable limit load factor (3.8 Gs) by the maximum-allowable gross weight of the airplane.

  4. Germany did not any have aircraft carriers.

  5. It was a midair collision between TWA Flight 2, a Lockheed Super Constellation, and United Airlines Flight 718, a Douglas DC–7, over the Grand Canyon on June 30, 1956. The accident was caused in part by a primitive air-traffic-control system and resulted in the loss of 128 lives.

  6. This would be impossible. Averaging 300 knots means flying the entire 600-mile course in two hours. The problem is that the pilot already used those two hours to fly the first half of the course.

  7. This is the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ). The “IGW” stands for increased gross weight (to accommodate an increased fuel load).

  8. This was done to honor Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius, who developed the centigrade scale in 1742.

  9. (a) This illustrates the importance of calculating vertical wind shear from winds aloft forecasts obtained during weather briefings. A change of 30 knots between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, for example, could indicate moderate or greater turbulence between those altitudes.

  10. (c) This is a euphemism for pulling the face curtain, which is used to hold the pilot’s head still and protect him against debris and wind blast during ejection from some aircraft. There are no instructions on the curtain, but if there were he could read them (if he read really, really fast).

  11. (b) This rule requires using absolute altitude, not altitude above sea level.

  12. False. Both must also wear shoulder harnesses, if installed. Reference: CFR 14 Part 91.107(a)(3).

  13. False. Although they avoid stalling in steady winds, they can and do stall occasionally during a wind-shear condition (especially when soaring in position). Recovery is both instinctive and immediate.

  14. True. The first officer is less likely to “speak up” to the captain (called the “halo” effect) than vice versa. Also, when things begin to go wrong, the captain is likely to take control of the airplane.

Visit the author’s Web site ( www.barryschiff.com).

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