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Test PilotTest Pilot

July Briefing1. After making an inadvertent gear-up landing and skidding to a stop, what is the first action such a pilot is most likely to take?

2. What popular, post-World War II airplane had models known as the Standard, the Trainer, the Inter-City Commuter, and the Patroller?

3. From reader John Schmidt: A hiker is walking through the woods in Estonia and discovers a field where vertical fins of Russian aircraft appear to rise out of the ground. They look like a squadron of aircraft burrowing through the ground with only their fins visible above the surface (like shark fins breaking the surface of the ocean). What is this all about?

4. Cabin heat in most single-engine airplanes is obtained by using hot exhaust gasses to heat ambient air flowing through a muff. Considering that many light twins have cabins that are no more voluminous than many of these singles, why are they instead equipped with expensive, gasoline-fired heaters to achieve the same result?

5. E. Hamilton Lee was a flight instructor in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I, taught tail slides below 500 feet, retired from United Airlines in 1949 with 27,812 hours, never had an accident, and was referred to as “the flyingest man in the world.” He also is known for what famous quotation that remains popular with pilots today?

6. What famous pilot was the first person killed as the result of an in-flight bird strike?

7. From reader David Franklin: If a given helicopter has a best rate-of-climb airspeed of 60 knots, its best angle-of-climb speed would be _____ knots.

8. When an American pilot flies in England, he is likely to hear some unusual nomenclature. What expressions might a British pilot use when referring to

A. a wet-cell battery?
B. fuel?
C. a horizontal stabilizer?
D. landing gear?
E. leveling off (at the end of a climb or descent)?
F. a propeller?
G. a wing?

Test Pilot Answers

1. He most likely will move the landing-gear selector to the Down position.

2. The Cessna 150. The Cessna A150 is known as the Aerobat.

3. This is the Ämari Cemetery. The fins serve as grave markers for many fallen pilots who flew under Estonia’s Soviet regime (until 1991).

4. Ducting heated air for such a lengthy distance (from the nacelle of a wing-mounted engine to the cabin) would result in excessive and unacceptable heat loss.

5. “Don’t be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots.”

6. Cal Rodgers, first to fly across the United States, was killed in 1912 after a seagull became jammed in the flight controls of his Wright biplane.

7. Assuming a no-wind condition, zero knots of airspeed would result in a 90-degree climb angle. This would be neither safe (near the ground) nor efficient but certainly would be effective.

8. A. accumulator
B. petrol
C. tail plane
D. alighting gear (or undercarriage)
E. flattening out
F. air screw
G. main plane

Barry Schiff

Barry Schiff

Barry Schiff has been an aviation media consultant and technical advisor for motion pictures for more than 40 years.

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