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GENERAL 1. From reader Dan Stroud: The Wright brothers could have made their famous powered flight on December 13, 1903.


1. From reader Dan Stroud: The Wright brothers could have made their famous powered flight on December 13, 1903. Why did they not attempt to make history on that date? 

2. Group Capt. Douglas Bader was a World War II fighter ace in England’s Royal Air Force. Why could he endure greater G loads than most other pilots? 

3. From reader Steve Price: How is it possible for a pilot to be an instrument flight instructor (CFII) and yet not have an instrument rating shown on his pilot certificate? 

4. Peter Pitot passes Waypoint A while heading due south toward Waypoint B at a groundspeed of 150 knots. His friend, Wanda Wingnut, simultaneously passes Waypoint B while heading north toward Waypoint A at a groundspeed of 100 knots. If the waypoints are 1,200 nm apart, how many miles north of Waypoint B will the aircraft pass each other? 

5. From reader John Schmidt: Michigan-based Aeroquip was founded in 1940 by Peter F. Hurst, who held patents for high-pressure aviation plumbing and made an immense contribution to the U.S. war effort. Why was he not allowed to enter his factory during World War II?

6. In June 1959, Max Conrad did what seemed impossible by flying alone and nonstop from _______ to _______ in a Piper Comanche 250. 

7. From reader George Shanks: How did Bell XP–59A test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base in 1942 attempt to conceal that they were flying the prototype of America’s first jet fighter? 

8. From reader Dan Stroud: What did astronaut Dick Gordon do during a spacewalk that no other astronaut had done before or has done since?


9. From reader Jonathan Apfelbaum: The first B–17 Flying Fortress to complete a 25-mission tour with the 8th Air Force in England during World War II was
a. Black Jack
b. Hell’s Angels
c. Liberty Belle
d. Memphis Belle

10. The most difficult type of cockpit door to close in flight is one that is _______ and situated _______ the wing.
a. curved, above
b. curved, below
c. flat, above
d. flat, below

11. From reader Dan Murphy: While climbing at a constant indicated airspeed, parasite drag _____ and induced drag _____ (assuming subsonic flight and that calibrated, indicated, and equivalent airspeeds are equal).
a. remains constant, remains constant
b. increases, increases
c. decreases, decreases
d. decreases, increases


12. From reader Tony Bill: Every takeoff results, we fervently hope, in a landing. Of these two events, a landing is harder on landing gear tires than a takeoff. 

13. A pilot can fly from the United States to Europe with no trans-Atlantic leg being longer than 500 nm. 

14. From reader John Tiller: During a training flight, a student is asked by his instructor to demonstrate a power-on stall. While approaching the stall, the aircraft exceeds 30 degrees of nose-up pitch. This maneuver is in violation of the regulations because parachutes are not being worn by either pilot.


1. December 13, 1903, was a Sunday, and the brothers would not fly on the Sabbath out of respect for their father, Bishop Wright.

2. Pilots black out when pulling high G loads because blood is forced from the upper body downward thus draining blood from the brain. Bader had no legs—he did have artificial legs—so that blood remained in his upper body when maneuvering. (Bader’s biography, Reach for the Sky, is inspirational.)

3. The pilot has an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, which means that he has an instrument rating even though not explicitly stated.

4. 480 nm (or 720 nm south of Waypoint A). To solve this problem, consider that each aircraft will spend the same time en route to the rendezvous point.

5. Hurst was a German national and considered a security risk. He was granted U.S. citizenship in 1945.

6. Casablanca, Morocco, to Los Angeles—in 58.6 hours.

7. They smoked cigars and wore gorilla masks and derby hats. It was hoped that other pilots would be reluctant to report seeing an airplane without a propeller being piloted in such an outrageous way. When parked, a dummy propeller was attached to the nose to conceal that the XP–59A was a jet.

8. He fell asleep and was awakened by a call from Mission Control.

9. (b) Hell’s Angels was first (by six days), but Memphis Belle became more famous because it was first to complete 25 missions and return to the United States.

10. (a) A curved door has “camber” and creates more outward-pulling “lift” than does a flat door; an over-wing door experiences more airspeed to generate an outward pull than one beneath a wing (everything else being equal).

11. (a) Drag does vary with altitude, however, if a constant true airspeed is maintained.

12. False. The takeoff is more severe because the aircraft is heavier. Also, speed and heat buildup are greater at the end of the takeoff roll, and this is added to the heat accumulation that occurs while taxiing.

13. True. The longest leg connects Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay), Canada, and Kangerlussuaq (Sondre Stromfjord) on the west coast of Greenland, a distance of 496 nm.

14. False. Parachutes are not needed when performing maneuvers required during training administered by an instructor or when flying solo. Such a maneuver requires that parachutes be worn at other times.

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