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Test Pilot

General Questions 1. From reader Nolan Beck: Talton Higbee _______ and John Paul _______ began a Waco dealership in 1925 and in 1927 were awarded a contract to carry the mail using Wacos.

General Questions

1. From reader Nolan Beck: Talton Higbee _______ and John Paul _______ began a Waco dealership in 1925 and in 1927 were awarded a contract to carry the mail using Wacos. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, their company eventually became part of what is now American Airlines. What current, well-known organization bears their names?

2. From reader Gerd Wengler: How did FIDO help to bring home British bomber crews during World War II?

3. From reader John Lawton: How is it possible for four airplanes to fly in formation so that the distance between any one of these airplanes and any of the other three is the same?

4. What is the difference between Victor airways, T-routes, and Q-routes?

5. What airport was first in the world to have an airline passenger terminal and first to have an airport hotel?

6. From reader Bob Kuehnle: Most are familiar with the Royal Air Force’s Lancaster and Mosquito bombers. What were the RAF’s Washington bombers?

7. From reader John Schmidt: New Jersey housewife Irene Bolam refused to provide her fingerprints to a court during a civil trial in the 1970s. What did this have to do with aviation history?

8. Pilots who flew the German Junkers Ju–87 Stuka dive bomber during World War II experienced six Gs when pulling out of near-vertical dives at low altitude. This frequently resulted in their blacking out. What prevented them from losing control and crashing?

Multiple Choice

9. From reader Joseph Conlon: The greatest number of conventional rotor blades (excluding ducted-fans) on a production helicopter (past or present) is

a. 12.
b. 13.
c. 16.
d. 17.

10. The snowiest city in the United States is

a. Oswego, New York.
b. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
c. Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
d. Truckee, California.

11. From reader Tony Bill: The first operational triplane of World War I was designed by a(n)

a. Dutchman.
b. Englishman.
c. Frenchman.
d. German.

True or False

12. Last summer Gerd Wengler and his wife, Dorothy, flew from Canada to Europe in their conventional Cessna 182 in six hours. They could have made the nonstop flight in less time, but they had a headwind most of the way.

13. From reader Joseph Barber: Kahului Airport in Maui is known for its persistent crosswinds. Its three-letter identifier, OGG, stands for ogagakulamui, which means “windy place.”

14. Despite the chrome, galloping-horse logo emblazoned on the Ford Mustang, this popular automobile was named after the North American P–51 Mustang.


1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (of which your quizmaster is a proud alumnus).

2. FIDO (fog investigation and dispersal operation) was an intricate system of pumps and plumbing alongside certain runways that burned large quantities of fuel to disperse fog and improve runway visibility.

3. The airplanes fly in a formation such that the airplanes are at the vertexes of a regular tetrahedron. A regular tetrahedron is a four-side pyramid (including the base) with all edges having the same length. In other words, each side and the base is an equilateral triangle.

4. The 179-room Dearborn Inn was built by Henry Ford in 1931 on Oakwood Boulevard, across the street from Detroit’s Ford Airport.

5. Victor airways are defined almost entirely by Vortac stations. T-routes (below flight level 180) and Q-routes (flight level 180 and above) are defined solely by GPS (RNAV) waypoints.

6. These were 87 Boeing B–29 Superfortresses loaned in 1950 to England by the U.S. Air Force.

7. Bolam bore a strong resemblance to Amelia Earhart and wore a pair of pins that Earhart also had worn. This led to a 1970 book, Amelia Earthart Lives by Joe Klaas. It claimed that Bolam was Earhart. Bolam sued, would not provide her fingerprints, dropped the suit, and was cremated after her death. This fueled speculation that she really was Earhart.

8. The Stuka’s Askania autopilot made the dive and the pull-up so that a temporary loss of consciousness was irrelevant. (The pilot set the recovery altitude and was allowed only minimal use of the elevator during the dive to adjust the aiming point.)

9. (b) At a maximum-allowable gross weight of nearly 123,500 pounds, the Russian Mil Mi–26 is the world’s largest helicopter. It has a single main rotor with eight blades and a tail rotor with five.

10. (d) Truckee receives an average annual snowfall of 203.4 inches. Steamboat Springs is second with 173.3 inches.

11. (b) Although Dutchman Anthony Fokker’s Triplane is more familiar, T.O.M. “Tommy” Sopwith’s Triplane was first and used successfully on the Western Front.

12. True. They flew from Alert (CYLT) on Ellesmere Island in extreme northeastern Canada to Longyearbyen (ENSB), Norway, a distance of 750 nm.

13. False. OGG stands for Capt. Richard Ogg. He safely ditched Pan American Airlines’ Flight 943, a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser carrying 31 people, between Honolulu and San Francisco on October 16, 1956. View the ditching online.

14. True. Ford designer John Najjar proposed the Mustang name for Ford’s new, youth-oriented coupe.

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