Trivia Testers : Almost Famous Airplanes

Rod Machado is always using poor hapless Two-One-Three-Two-Bravo in his aviation anecdotes. Was there really such an aircraft having that tail number?

  1. Yes, but old 32B has long ago been scrapped. He uses that number specifically to avoid referring to any currently certificated aircraft.
  2. No, there never was.
  3. Yes, it is the same 1949 Luscombe in which he soloed, although it no longer exists.
  4. Yes, it is a Luscombe, and 32-Bravo began its “rise to fame” when Rod flew it in about 1972. It still soldiers on, and is now owned by a Texas pilot.

Answer: D. According to the FAA database, it is presently owned by a student pilot in Houston, Texas.

You’re visiting Canada and flying over northern Manitoba in mid-winter. Your OAT reads -30 degrees Centigrade. What should you be worrying about?

  1. Your altimeter could read much higher than your actual altitude.
  2. Your fuel could freeze.
  3. The wings and propellers would get a better bite out of the denser air, but it requires a higher power setting.
  4. A and B

Answer: A. Flying into cold air is like flying into a low pressure area: you’ll be lower than your altimeter says you are. The problem is that our altimeters cannot be corrected for temperature errors. On an instrument approach in actual IMC, this could be serious! Canadian pilots consult government-provided charts to determine how much altitude to add to those listed on approach procedures. (The U.S. Defense Mapping Agency also has an altitude correction table for military pilots.) At higher elevations and even colder temperatures, such corrections can approach 1000 feet! As to choice B, it would have to be below minus 55 C before you’d need to start worrying about choking your fuel lines with 100LL slurpee. (Most likely, it would start in the fuel lines leading from your tanks.) According to specifications on world aviation fuels from ExxonMobil, the freezing temperature for Grade 80, 100, and 100LL is either -58 or -60 degrees C (depending on issuing agency and specification). One important note regarding this is that if there is any water suspended in your fuel, it is still subject to freezing at 0 C and below–another related hazard you should also remember. As to choice C, in winter, engines and airplanes climb better on less power (not more).

The word ‘fulgurite’ is used for which of the following:

  1. any basic truism regarding weather, used in honor of Robert Fulghum’s basic precepts on life
  2. water which is dropped, usually from an airplane, in freezing air, and which freezes in curtain-shaped formations
  3. another form of precipitation, only much more rare: rock… Fulgurites form when lava is explosively ejected and the molten spray cools before reaching the gound.
  4. the instant formation of glass when lightning strikes a beach or desert floor

Answer: D. Sometimes thought of as “fossilized lightning bolts”, they often take on tube shapes (like this one). Actually, two separate phenomena can make natural glass: meteorites and lightning. Glass made from a meteorite’s collision with the Earth’s surface is called meteoritic glass or tektite. Fulgurites can also take on the form of a glassy crust whenever lightning strikes a bare rock surface, such as often occurs on mountain peaks. Although fulgurites are fragile, being glass, they last a long time, and are actually used as paleoenvironmental indicators. (For example, many have been found in the Sahara, where there is now little precipitation and lightning activity, confirming that very different conditions existed there in prehistoric times.)