Trivia Testers : Chasing the Blues Away

Question: Which extreme measures have actually been taken, with regularity, to dispel fog at airports?

  1. wind tunnel fans (to blow it away)
  2. sawdust AND fans (to dry it up and provide condensation nuclei)
  3. heat (to lower the relative humidity)
  4. high explosives (all three)

Answer: C. During WWII, in an effort to find ways of ensuring that bomber crews returning to fog-plagued England would make their home fields, research scientists at another location having equally persistent fog, Arcata, California, explored a very unusual technique to dissipate fog. Burning 60-octane gas under pressure, as well as from trenches along the sides of the runway, they created walls of flame 15 feet high. When it was ‘W0X0F’ (the old pre-METAR surface aviation observation reporting sequence denoting ‘indefinite ceiling, sky obscured, visibility zero, fog’) they turned up the heat, which brought ceilings up to the needed 200 feet.

Subject: I’ll Huff, And I’ll Puff

Question: The highest microburst wind speed ever recorded occurred at what location?

  1. Mount Washington, NH
  2. Manhattan, KS
  3. Houston, TX
  4. Andrews Air Force Base, MD

Answer: D. It occurred at 2:11 PM on August 1st, 1983, at Andrews Air Force Base — six minutes after president Reagan landed in Air Force One. Wind speeds reached about 120 knots.

Subject: Stop Da Music!

Question: In July 1990, on a very hot day, all operations stopped at Phoenix’s Sky harbor airport. It was a scorcher, but the density altitude increase of over 4000 feet wasn’t the reason. What was?

  1. MILSPEC requirements for an asphalt surface do not specify that they remain firm above a temperature of 165 degrees F. (Although the air temperature was over 120 degrees, the surface was much hotter.) Several airliners were stuck fast, like a modern day replay of the La Brea tar pits.
  2. The air conditioning systems in all three terminal buildings overheated.
  3. No airliner’s performance charts went up to the 122 degree F temperature.
  4. It was July 4, and the airport was closed.

Answer: It was C.