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Test Pilot

General 1. From reader Patty Schmidt: What was the first jet-powered airplane to be piloted by an American woman? 2.


1. From reader Patty Schmidt: What was the first jet-powered airplane to be piloted by an American woman?

2. There are six variables in the classic wind triangle: wind speed, wind direction, true course, groundspeed, true heading, and airspeed. Given any four of these variables, it is possible to find the other two. Assume that wind speed = 20 knots, true heading = 100 degrees, true course = 110 degrees, and groundspeed = 100 knots. What is the wind direction and true airspeed?

3. From reader George Shanks: Almost every pilot has heard of Lockheed’s high-flying U–2 spy plane, but what is or was the U–1?

4. From reader Patrick Mathews: Estimate within 2,000 the number of Army Air Force aircraft lost in training accidents within the continental United States during America’s involvement in World War II (December 1941 to August 1945).

5. Name a well-known American aircraft manufacturer that built only multiengine airplanes. Although it no longer makes aircraft, the company is still in business.

6. From reader Ken Thompson: Explain how it is possible for a private pilot flying an airplane to carry passengers at night over the contiguous United States without being night current and without violating the Federal Aviation Regulations.

7. From reader John Schmidt: There are six airports in the United States that are served by air carriers and are named after U.S. presidents. How many of them can you name?

8. Who probably is best known for having said, “Another thousand feet, and I’ll be on top?”

Multiple Choice

9. To be type-certificated under Part 23 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, a lightplane must be demonstrated capable of landing with a crosswind component of no less than _____ Vso.

a. 0.20; b. 0.25; c. 0.30; d. No minimum cross- wind component is required to be demonstrated.

10. The following is a list of the four most common violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations committed by VFR pilots. Arrange them in order of their occurrence, the most common deviation first and the least common last.

a. airspace violations; b. airspeed violations; c. flying VFR into IFR conditions; d. low-level flight

11. From reader Alasdair Halleron: Henry Ford took his first airplane ride in

a. a Fokker Trimotor.; b. a Ford Tri-Motor.; c. the Spirit of St. Louis.; d. Henry Ford never flew in an airplane.

True or False

12. The Cessna Aircraft Company never produced a piston-powered, single-engine, low-wing monoplane subsequent to the end of World War II.

13. From reader Hans Strömberg: The British navy had an aircraft carrier that used a sail to help keep the ship headed into the wind.

14. From reader Dan Stroud: A person can climb a ladder inside the vertical stabilizer of a Lockheed C–5 Galaxy and step outside the aircraft at the top of the fin.


1. America’s first turbojet fighter, the Bell P–59A Airacomet was first flown on October 1, 1942. It was flown a year later by Ann Baumgartener Carl, a WASP pilot who authored the book, A WASP Among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II.

2. There are two possible solutions: If the wind is from 040 degrees, the true airspeed is 108 knots; if the wind is from 340 degrees, the true airspeed is 88 knots. The solutions are easier to obtain by plotting a wind triangle on a chart or on graph paper than with an E6B computer.

3. U is the military designation for utility aircraft, and the U–1 was a de Havilland Otter. The U–3 was the Cessna 310.

4. 13,873 aircraft were lost (approximately 10 per day).

5. Ford built only various models of the Ford Tri-Motor. There might be other such manufacturers.

6. Part 1.1 defines “night” as beginning at the end of evening civil twilight. This is typically 30-40 minutes after sunset. According to Part 61.57, however, a pilot may not carry passengers beginning one hour after sunset unless he is night current. Therefore, he may carry passengers at night from the end of twilight until one hour after sunset (a 20- to 30-minute period) without being night current. (We do not recommend this, however.)

7. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City), Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston), Reagan Washington National Airport (Washington, D.C.), Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (Springfield, Illinois), Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids, Michigan), and Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport (Dickinson, North Dakota).

8. Mercury Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. during his flight in Friendship 7 when he became the first American to orbit Earth (February 20, 1962).

9. (a) VSO is the 1-G stall speed of the aircraft with the engine idling and the landing gear and flaps fully extended.

10. The four choices are listed in the order requested: a, b, c, and d. Airspeed violations are typically committed by pilots of turbine aircraft.

11. Henry Ford experienced his first flight when Charles Lindbergh took him aloft for 10 minutes in the Spirit of St. Louis on August 11, 1927.

12. False. Production of the Cessna 188 AG Wagon (aka AGwagon), an agricultural sprayer, ended in 1981 after 1,589 such aircraft had been built.

13. True. The steam-powered HMS Royal Ark was used by the Royal Navy beginning in 1914 to launch floatplanes on dollies.

14. True. This should not be attempted during flight.

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