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Test Pilot

Illustration by John Holm
Illustration by John Holm
  1. From reader John Schmidt: EAA hosted its first fly-in during September 1953. It was held at Curtiss-Wright Airport (now Timmerman Field) in Wisconsin. Estimate the number of people and aircraft in attendance.
  2. A pilot is on a long straight-in approach to a runway at night. During his descent, the tower controller very gradually turns down the intensity of the runway lights. The most likely result is that the pilot would unwittingly
    A. descend below the normal descent profile.
    B. rise above the normal descent profile.
    C. The descent profile would not be affected.
    D. The result cannot be determined.
  3. True or false? Cessna never produced any single-place airplanes in the post-World War II era.
  4. A canard aircraft is one on which the horizontal stabilizer/elevator is mounted ahead of the wing and near the nose of the aircraft. Why is such an aircraft referred to as a canard?
  5. From reader Tom Nagorski: When does a pilot have to deal with an oil gauge rod?
  6. True or false? Thirteen flights carrying 91 people crossed the Atlantic Ocean before Charles A. Lindbergh did it in the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927.
  7. From reader George R. (Rick) Lewis: The hilarious 1980 motion picture Airplane! was based on the more serious film,
    A. 12 O’Clock High.
    B. Fate is the Hunter.
    C. The High and the Mighty.
    D. Zero Hour.
  8. Who was the first woman to fly solo around the world?

Test Pilot Answers

  1. There were about 150 people and 22 aircraft (as compared to last year’s attendance of 608,000 people and more than 10,000 aircraft).
  2. The correct answer is B. Similarly, pilots tend to descend prematurely when the lights get brighter or when visibility is unusually good. Bright lights make an object appear closer than it really is.
  3. False. Cessna built almost 4,000 single-place Cessna 188s, a family of agricultural aircraft produced between 1966 and 1983. Many 188s were acquired for use as towplanes for gliders.
  4. Canard is French for duck. The aircraft is so named because the aft location of the wing makes it look like a duck in flight. (A duck’s wing also is at the rear of its body.) The 1903 Wright Flyer was a canard design.
  5. A pilot uses an oil gauge rod whenever he checks the oil quantity of a Continental engine. Continental refers to their oil dipsticks as oil gauge rods.
  6. True. Lindbergh was first to fly nonstop between two major cities (New York to Paris), and he did it alone.
  7. The correct answer is D. The 1957 film Zero Hour starred Dana Andrews and much of the dialogue and character names are used in Airplane! Ted Stryker, the fighter pilot reluctant to take command of an airliner after the captain and first officer were stricken with food poisoning, is featured in both movies.
  8. In 1964, Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock, a housewife from Columbus, Ohio, flew a Cessna 180 to complete the 23,103-statute-mile circumnavigation in less than 30 days.

Barry Schiff

Barry Schiff

Barry Schiff has been an aviation media consultant and technical advisor for motion pictures for more than 40 years. He is chairman of the AOPA Foundation Legacy Society.

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