March 1, 2010
By Barry Schiff
GENERAL From reader George Shanks: Why do some pilots in the Navy’s Blue Angels recommend that their guest passengers (members of the media, et cetera) eat bananas before a demonstration flight? In what motion picture did the star of the movie say, “Now, I don’t propose to sit on a flagpole or swallow goldfish. I’m not a stuntman; I’m a flier.” From reader John Schmidt: In 1935, Cosby Harrison crashed his Swallow while flying in stormy weather.
- From reader George Shanks: Why do some pilots in the Navy’s Blue Angels recommend that their guest passengers (members of the media, et cetera) eat bananas before a demonstration flight?
- In what motion picture did the star of the movie say, “Now, I don’t propose to sit on a flagpole or swallow goldfish. I’m not a stuntman; I’m a flier.”
- From reader John Schmidt: In 1935, Cosby Harrison crashed his Swallow while flying in stormy weather. What well-known aviation business was begun as a result of his accident?
- From reader Arnold Cohen: What was the first airline to offer transcontinental passenger service, and what type of aircraft was used?
- From reader Dan Murphy: Pilots know that temperature generally decreases with altitude in the troposphere. Why does it increase with altitude in the stratosphere?
- From reader Richard Somers: The Terrafugia is the latest attempt to market a roadable airplane (or flying automobile). What was the first such vehicle to be certified?
- From reader Dave LeTourneau: The Lockheed L–1011 was the first airliner to incorporate direct lift control. What is DLC?
- What was the longest-duration, nonstop passenger flight ever made by an airline using an airplane powered by reciprocating engines?
a. almost 21 hours
b. almost 25 hours
c. almost 29 hours
d. almost 33 hours
- From reader Joe Barber: What gesture of kindness helped Charles Lindbergh to become first to fly nonstop from New York to Paris?
a. Admiral Richard Byrd, a competitor, allowed him to use Roosevelt Field.
b. Amelia Earhart gave him a St. Christopher medal.
c. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia waived a traffic citation that otherwise would have required his appearance in
Manhattan the day after the day of his departure.
d. Local politicians waived a regulation that banned flights over their township before 9 o’clock on Sunday mornings.
- Who was the first and perhaps only pilot given formal permission by the U.S. Navy to fly any of its aircraft at any time?
a. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington
b. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle
c. Charles A. Lindbergh
d. Edward V. “Eddie” Rickenbacker
TRUE OR FALSE
- Ejection seats have yet to be incorporated in military helicopters.
- Chicago is called the “Windy City” because it is so windy there.
- Although there have been human-powered airplane flights, there has yet to be a human-powered helicopter flight.
- When operating an aircraft in Russia, all altitude assignments are given in meters. When cleared to descend to and maintain 1,500 meters, for example, a pilot is expected to descend to and maintain 1,500 meters above the airport, not above sea level.
Test Pilot Answers
- Bananas taste the same coming up as they do going down.
- Actor Jimmy Stewart recited that line when playing Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis while attempting to attract financial support for his proposed flight to Paris.
- Harrison wanted to repair his airplane but finding parts was difficult. This inspired him to develop a buy/sell publication for aircraft and parts consisting only of advertisements (no editorial content). He called it Trade-A-Plane.
- Transcontinental Air Transport, TWA’s predecessor, inaugurated 48-hour, coast-to-coast service on July 8, 1929. Westbound passengers went by night train from New York to Columbus, Ohio, then by Ford Tri-Motor to Waynoka, Oklahoma, then again by night train to Clovis, New Mexico, and finally to Los Angeles by air. Charles Lindbergh flew the first leg of the eastbound inaugural flight.
- While the troposphere is heated from below by the Earth’s surface, the stratosphere is heated from above by the relatively hot ozone layer, which absorbs solar radiation like the Earth’s surface.
- In 1950, the Fulton FA-2 Airphibian was certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. It was conceived, test-flown, and manufactured by Robert Edison Fulton Jr., who had no aviation experience and designed the Airphibian using information from a pamphlet, Aeronautics for Pilots.
- As the flaps are extended fully, a set of spoilers is partially and simultaneously deployed. Moving the control wheel fore and aft modulates these spoilers to increase and decrease sink rate during an ILS approach, for example, with minimal pitch change.
- (c) During World War II, Qantas Empire Airways operated “Double Sunrise Flights,” Consolidated PBY Catalinas that carried a handful of passengers and mail between Perth, Australia, and Galle, Ceylon, a distance of 3,580 nm. Average flight time was 28 hours.
- (a) Byrd had the exclusive right to use Roosevelt Field, the best runway from which to make lengthy, heavy-weight takeoffs, and made it available to his rivals, Lindbergh and Chamberlain. Only Lindbergh used it.
- (c) The permit read, in part, that “the commanding officers of all Naval units are authorized to place service equipment at [Lindbergh’s] disposal, either for local or cross-country flying.”
- False. The Russian Zvezda K-37 seat system is used in the Kaman Ka-50 Black Shark and Ka-52 Alligator helicopters. Thankfully, the system first fires explosive bolts to jettison the rotor blades.
- False. Chicago got this nickname because of its reputation for being the home of blowhard politicians. The windiest major city is Boston, which averages 12.5 mph. Chicago averages 10.4 mph.
- False. The first human-powered helicopter, da Vinci III (aka Leonardo III), first flew on December 10, 1989. The flight lasted for 7.1 seconds and rose to a nose-bleed height of eight inches.
- True. An altimeter setting that provides altitude above sea level is called QNH; a setting that provides height above an airport is called QFE.
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