Trivia Testers : Coffee, Tea, or Milk?

Question: Who was the first airline stewardess?

  1. Ellen Church
  2. Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  3. Margaret Bourke-White
  4. Jackie Cochran

Answer: A. She persuaded the president of Boeing that female crewmembers would convince reluctant fliers that air travel was safe. In 1930 she and seven other registered nurses became the first stewardesses (now of course, known as flight attendants). Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote many classic memoirs about flights with her equally famous husband, as well as many other things, but never served anyone other than her husband. Margaret Bourke-White was a famous photographer, and Jackie Cochran formed the Women’s Auxilliary Flying Squadron in addition to having made many other aviation firsts. (Serving coffee wasn’t one of them however.)

Subject: Another World of Cold

Question: What happens when it gets really cold, as in 60 degrees below zero?

  1. Your breath freezes as you exhale, making a soft hissing noise.
  2. Your eyelashes can freeze together
  3. The slightest wind (5 kts) can induce frostbite on exposed skin in under half a minute.
  4. all three

The answer is D.

Subject: The Original ‘Hump’

Question: What (and when) was the term ‘Hump’ first significant in aviation?

  1. Antarctica, 1929
  2. the Sahara Desert, 1932
  3. the Himalayas, 1942-1945
  4. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1951

Answer: A. It was the pass in the Queen Maud Range between Little America and the South Pole that Admiral Richard Byrd, Bernt Balchen, Harold June, and Ashley McKinley had to hurdle in the Ford Trimotor used during Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition, in 1929 (the lowest elevation of which was approximately 10,500 feet). This was the first ‘hump’ one will find referenced in aviation literature. Choices B and D are decoys. Choice C of course is what most people would think of first. World War II transport pilots rightly viewed that ‘hump’ as the most treacherous air route in the world.

After the occupation of China by the Japanese, the only link between India and China was a hazardous air route across the rugged Himalaya Mountains–the famed ‘Hump.’ The obstacles posed by terrain, extremes in climate, and attacking enemy planes all combined were difficulties never before experienced in mass operations of aircraft. Across this route, the US Army Air Force undertook and maintained the aerial resupply of China in the greatest sustained aerial transport achievement of WWII, carrying cargo ranging from bombs, gasoline, and medicine to spare parts, trucks, and K-rations.

Flights began in April 1942 when the US Army flew gasoline and oil to China for planned use by Doolittle’s Raiders following their attack on Tokyo. The India-China Wing of the Army Air Force’s Air Transport Command slowly increased its lift over the ‘Hump’ to more than 12,000 tons a month in early 1944 and 71,000 tons in July 1945. It cost the lives of some 800 flyers. The mission required thousands of flights over the highest mountain range in the world to provide more than one million tons of cargo and relief supplies to friendly forces operating in China and Southeast Asia.

That was a most noble and mighty effort, indeed. However, the crew in Admiral Byrd’s expedition also had quite unique, unusually harsh, and other-worldly hardships to deal with. On Thanksgiving Day in 1929, pilot Bernt Balchen and his crew aboard the ‘Floyd Bennett’ (after Byrd’s late friend, with whom he had flown over the North Pole, three years earlier) flew south from the ice pack at 90 mph and climbed to 8,000 feet. As they approached the Queen Maud range, they were forced to jettision everything, (including some food and emergency supplies) so that they could clear the glacial summits and reach the polar plateau. At 1:14 a.m. the following morning, Byrd and his men reached the Pole. (Byrd was the first to fly over both North and South poles, though there is some latitude–ha ha—regarding the former.)