Trivia Testers : Not A Good Day

Question: What unlucky pilot was shot down on May 13, 1917, again on March 13, 1918, and yet again on August 13, 1918?

  1. Roland Garros
  2. Rene Fonck
  3. Lothar von Richthofen
  4. Oswald Boelcke

Answer: C. Lothar, younger brother of Manfred von Richthofen—yes, there was another one—had been a cavalry officer but transferred to the German Air Service in 1915. Considered by his older brother to be somewhat of a hothead, Lothar scored 24 victories in 47 days, and survived the war with 40 kills (only to die in an airplane crash in 1922). His older brother incidentally shot down exactly 80, twice that number of allied aircraft. (Also, Oswald Boelcke, choice D, who was the elder Richthofen’s mentor, had the exact same number of kills as the Red Baron’s younger brother.)

Subject: Taking General Aviation To the Top

Question: The first person to fly alone to the true North Pole in a light aircraft was

  1. Richard Byrd, 1926
  2. Shiela Scott, 1971
  3. Gustavus McLeod, 2000
  4. Roald Amundsen, 1926

Answer: Ladies first! It’s B. On June 11, 1971, Shiela Scott of Great Britain became the first person (and one having the distinction of being female) to fly alone to the geographic North Pole in a small aircraft. (It was a Piper Aztec.) She published her autobiography ‘Barefoot In the Sky’, in 1973. Not only did she fly over the pole, but she did so starting and ending at the equator. Admiral Byrd flew with Floyd Bennet in 1926 (and flew over the South Pole, though again not alone) three years later, though there is still some contention that Byrd and Bennet might have missed the actual North Pole by some distance (however he hit a bulls-eye with his Antarctic flight). Gus McLeod was the first person to fly to both the magnetic North Pole as well as the geographic North Pole (on April 17, 2000) however his distinction is that he was the first to do so in an open cockpit 1939 Stearman biplane! Roald Amundsen attempted to overfly the North Pole (and succeeded) in a dirigible in May 1926 (at about the same time as Byrd), flying from Norway to Alaska along with Lincoln Ellsworth and Umberto Nobile.

Subject: Just Hanging Out

Question: What is the world’s record for the longest single hang-gliding flight?

  1. eight hours, in 1994. It was also the longest, at 307 miles, between Rock Springs, Wyoming and Stoneham, Colorado.
  2. nine and a half hours, Torrey Pines, CA, 1988
  3. 34 hours and three minutes, 1986, Oahu
  4. two days, three hours, and 12 minutes, Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada

Answer: C. In June 1986, American James Will hung out for 34 hours and three minutes over Oahu’s Makapuu Point, a ridge enjoying nearly ideal ‘lift’ conditions because of the trade winds. (The FAI however no longer considers hang glider endurance records for any subclass of hang glider.) And if you guessed D, come on now!