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Test Pilot

General 1. The classic de Havilland DHC–2 Beaver is a large, single-engine, high-wing bush plane made in Canada.


1. The classic de Havilland DHC–2 Beaver is a large, single-engine, high-wing bush plane made in Canada. Why are its three fuel tanks (forward, center, and aft) in the fuselage below the cabin floor instead of in the wings?

2. From reader John Schmidt: A piano is optional equipment on both the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380. What was the first passenger aircraft to have a piano for in-flight entertainment?

3. From reader Ron Levy: What is wrong with the following transmission from NorCal Approach Control? “November One-Four-Seven-Mike-Oscar is cleared for the Sacramento ILS approach to Runway One-Six-Right. Report passing Jarnu to Capitol Tower on One-Two-Five-Point-Seven.” (Knowledge of this airport or its approach is not needed to answer the question.)

4. A pilot is flying a typical light twin-engine, piston-powered airplane that is equipped for flight into known icing conditions. What aircraft item represents the greatest drain on electrical power in such an aircraft?

5. From reader Alan Marcum: Each of the 50 states has an official bird, an official flower, and so forth, but only two have official aircraft. What are those states, and what are their official aircraft?

6. Of what aeronautical significance was the New York socialite, Mrs. Waldo Polk?

7. What is meant by the term hot refueling?

8. From reader Gary LaPook: There is an airport that has a single runway designated as Runway 02G in one direction and Runway 20G in the other. What is the significance of the letter G in each of these runway numbers?

Multiple Choice

9. From reader Richard Somers: The earliest distress signal used in the United States for wireless communications was

a. CQ, b. CQD, c. MAYDAY, d. SOS

10. From reader Gary Justus: Which one or more of the following airframe manufacturers did not produce a three-engine, propeller-driven aircraft for use in U.S. airline service?

a.  Boeing, b. Britten-Norman, c. Douglas, d. Fokker, e. Ford, f. Stinson

11. From reader Tony Bill: If an airliner is defined as an airplane designed for carrying multiple passengers in commercial air service, the world’s first airliner was designed and built by

a. Glenn Curtiss in 1917., b. Henry Farman in 1919., c. Anthony Fokker in 1912., d. Igor Sikorsky in 1913.

True or False

12. From reader Kerry Kurasaki: The Lockheed SR–71 Blackbird had a pressurized cockpit for its two crewmembers.

13. From reader George Shanks: The first jet-powered airplane first flew on August 24, 1939, and had a fabric-covered wooden fuselage.

14. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the “lower 48” states is colder than the lowest temperature ever recorded in Alaska.


1. The manufacturer did not want anyone to have to climb onto the high wing in the harsh, frigid climates in which the airplane was designed to operate. The easily accessible filler necks are on the lower left side of the fuselage where the fueler is sheltered somewhat by the high wing and fuselage.

2. The renowned piano-making firm of Julius Blüthner built a lightweight piano made mostly of aluminum alloy for the German dirigible, Hindenburg. The baby grand weighed only 356 pounds.

3. To avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0, the letters I (India) and O (Oscar) may not be used as part of an N-number on any aircraft registered in the United States.

4. Thirty to 40 percent of the total load capacity of both alternators is used when raising or lowering the landing gear.

5. Connecticut has the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, which was built there, and New Mexico has the hot-air balloon.

6. In 1916 Polk became an informal co-founder of the infamous Mile-High Club. Her partner in the Curtiss flying boat was Lawrence Sperry, inventor of the autopilot.

7. It is refueling with the engine(s) running. Although permitted in some cases with jet fuel, it is prohibited with avgas because of the lower flashpoint. The purpose of hot refueling is to reduce the number of start cycles on turbine engines.

8. Runway 02G/20G is at the airport at the South Pole. Runway directions there cannot be designated by true or magnetic directions because a runway centered on the Pole would have the same number in both directions. An artificial grid system, called grid navigation, is used in polar regions. Runways 02G and 20G are referenced to this grid system.

9. (b) CQD was proposed by the Marconi Company and adopted for use in 1904. CQ was used as a general call to anyone caring to respond, and the D was added to indicate distress or danger.

10. (c) Boeing produced the Model 80, Britten-Norman the BN-2A-III Trislander, Fokker the F-10, Ford the Tri-Motor, and Stinson the SM-6000.

11. (d) The Sikorsky Ilya Muromet was a four-engine biplane that had a passenger salon, lighting, heating, a bedroom, and the world’s first airborne toilet. It first flew in early 1913 and would have started passenger service had it not been for the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

12. True. Each crewmember, however, wore a pressure suit that would inflate automatically and immediately in the event of pressurization failure.

13. False. The German-built Heinkel He-178 had a metal fuselage and wooden wings.

14. False. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit at Prospect Creek, and the coldest recorded in the “lower 48” was minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit at Rogers Pass, Montana.

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