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Questions about aviation history, starting from kites, balloons, airplanes, helicopters and rockets.

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1answer
93 views

What was the first aircraft designed with a plug-system fuselage, and why?

Nearly all modern transport aircraft are designed with a plug-system fuselage, allowing longer and shorter variants to be built by adding or removing plugs. In addition, the plug system simplifies ...
2
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1answer
180 views

Why wasn't Saint-Exupéry able to cover more distance before his 1935 desert crash?

Is there any source that provides more details on Saint-Exupéry's desert crash in 1935 than Wikipedia does: On 30 December 1935, at 2:45 a.m., after 19 hours and 44 minutes in the air, Saint-...
6
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1answer
258 views

When did the military/Air Force start measuring fuel in pounds instead of gallons?

Watching a training film for the B-47 from 1951, they mention (around 12:30) that the fuel is now measured in pounds instead of gallons on the instruments. Was that a new concept with jet aircraft? ...
1
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1answer
137 views

What was the first control room--used for flight test--established in aerospace history?

The control room for space missions in Houston is probably the best, most widely known example of a control room. It is an operations center used in support and execution of flight and space missions....
2
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1answer
128 views

What would have been the other stops of Amelia Earhart's ill fated last voyage?

Having just watched Amelia - A tale of two sisters, I wondered whether, had she landed successfully on Howland Island, what, or where, would the remaining subsequent stops for the rest of her ...
8
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1answer
271 views

How did the term PAN PAN originate?

Where did the phrase " pan pan" when declaring an emergency originate?
3
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4answers
479 views

Which fonts were used in old (1930s) aircraft cockpit displays and instruments?

This is probably more of a graphic design question than aviation but maybe a few hangar rats around here know the answer. What type fonts were used on the old instruments in aircraft from the 1930s ...
13
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2answers
459 views

What was the flight route from New York to Paris that Air France took in 1955?

I have a photograph of me and my sister in 1955 or 1956 boarding Air France to Paris. I seem to remember the route was: New York - Gander Gander - Shannon Shannon - Orly Is that correct? I know the ...
9
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1answer
2k views

What did the “gear warning horn” on the North American P-51 sound like?

I'm working on a sound project for a P51 simulation and I'm having real trouble trying to find a reference on how the P51 gear warning horn sounded like. What mechanisms were used in the '40s to make ...
1
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1answer
162 views

How much extra weight is added by strengthening a piston-prop fighter for carrier landings?

To land on a carrier, an aircraft must be strong enough to withstand sudden deceleration by the tail hook catching the arresting wire. I think it also requires strengthening the undercarriage to ...
4
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3answers
393 views

Did WW2-era aircraft have constant-speed or variable-pitch props?

This is slightly related to my other question on variable-pitch controls. I want to know if WW2-era aircraft typically had variable-pitch or constant-speed propellers. Variable-pitch lets the pilot ...
12
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4answers
699 views

Has an airplane ever been launched from a train?

Presumably helicopters have landed and lifted off railroad flat cars. Has an airplane ever been launched from a train? (my artwork) F-84 during project ZELL testing (info provided by jwenting)
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5answers
8k views

Why, until recently, were smooth nose sections not popular?

Why, until recently, were smooth nose sections not popular? By smooth I mean without a break between the nose and windshield. (The question focuses on airliners.) Seeing the Starliner (left) and DC-7 ...
1
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1answer
136 views

Are there any airliner crashes that can be definitively attributed to Mach tuck?

Mach tuck (the tendency of aircraft to develop an increasingly nose-down pitching moment at speeds above its critical mach number) caused a number of crashes of high-speed fighter aircraft before the ...
4
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0answers
116 views

Who is this flyer seen in Oakland c. 1929?

Looking for identification of the man on the left. Second from left is W.A. "Sandy" Sanders, third is Denny Wright, and fourth is Clyde Sunderland. Oakland, around 1929.
7
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1answer
359 views

What is this c. 1930 beautiful monoplane seen in Oakland?

Photo from Denny Wright's album. He piloted for Clyde Sunderland. This photo has no stamp or markings. Anyone recognize this aircraft?
3
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0answers
245 views
5
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1answer
282 views

How big was the F-14 fleet compared to other US carrier-based aircraft in 1981?

Back in the 80's I was away jesting about the F-14 are here to protect the carriers and the carriers to deploy F-14. I know there are a number of other aircraft here for other purposes but I really ...
4
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1answer
178 views

Were there any folding wing biplanes?

Given that several nations had operational carriers by 1920 and biplanes were still in military service, were there any folding wing biplanes? Wikipedia: United States first purpose built aircraft ...
16
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1answer
1k views

What means of navigation did commercial Soviet airplanes use in the 50s-90s?

Nowadays, practically all Western commercial airplanes use some kind of GNSS/GPS as primary means of navigation, sometimes paired with inertial navigation systems and user-friendly computer interfaces ...
4
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0answers
91 views

What uses for flight did early aviation pioneers envision?

Between 1903 and 1914, what did the aviation pioneers think flight would be used for, besides military purposes? Did they envision anything like crop dusting, commercial transportation, charting ...
7
votes
2answers
364 views

What instruments were “standard” in WWI aircraft?

What instruments made up a typical panel of a WWI airplane? Did any country regulate the required cockpit instruments prior to the United States "Air Commerce Act" of 1926?
28
votes
4answers
4k views

In the early days of flight, were there any cockpit control schemes other than the modern one?

Back in the early days, what kind of control schemes were invented for aircraft, other than the modern one? (pedals to yaw, yoke to pitch and roll). I'm only interested in control schemes that can be ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

More information on PanAm's first trans-Pacific flight

I have came across this answer, about PanAm's first trans-Pacific flight (SFO-MNL route via HNL, MDY, AWK and GUM). For the text, I'm working on, I was wondering, if there is any source that can ...
12
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3answers
3k views

Why didn't early jetliners use turbofans?

For subsonic operation, high-bypass turbofans seem to have essentially only advantages for efficiency, noise and takeoff thrust, at least until they reach the size where ground clearance or LP/fan ...
6
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3answers
430 views

Airport Security Pre-1970-s?

I just accidentally discovered a few pictures on the web, that seem to imply, that there were some sort of airport security checks on passengers all the way back in the 1960-s. It was always my ...
5
votes
1answer
133 views

How did the windshield technology evolve?

I would really appreciate it if someone could please explain the differences and similarities between the cockpit windows of a Boeing 747-400 and Douglas DC-3. I am just trying to figure out how the ...
7
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1answer
363 views

What is this closed cabin / open cockpit biplane from the 1910s?

This photo was taken when Lieutenant Marix RNAS visited his old school, Radley College in Oxfordshire on 30 May 1914. Marix was awarded in October 1914 the DSO for bombing the Zeppelin sheds in ...
5
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2answers
908 views

What material is used for the floor panels in the main cabin for Boeing 747-400?

Just conducting some research into materials used in construction for Boeing 747-400 and Douglas DC-3. I just found out that in a DC-3 the floor panels in the main cabin and companionway are of ...
4
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1answer
246 views

What is this WW1 era plane?

I'm trying to identify this plane from an old family photograph. Is it possibly a DH4? The tail number doesn't bring any success (well, at least not that I can find). Any info would be much ...
11
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6answers
2k views

Has there been an aircraft with multiple type of engines? [duplicate]

Has there ever been an aircraft that can fly using at least two different type of engines? For example, a piston engine and a turbine engine, or a piston engine and a electric motor. To clarify the ...
3
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2answers
153 views

Would an Area-Ruled fuselage improve MiG-15 and MiG-17 performance?

The top speed range of these Mig 15-17 airplanes is in the close trans-sonic region, but when first drawings came, Area Rule was unknown. Even if owning a jet fighter is not exactly 'Maintaining pilot'...
11
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2answers
491 views

What is this old biplane?

Can anyone identify this aeroplane?
19
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5answers
643 views

Which aircraft have fought against its own type in active combat?

The criteria for this question are The aircraft has to be the same type (but not necessarily the same mark) The two opposing sides are actively hostile; but not restricted to nation states (so civil ...
3
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2answers
288 views

What is a typical altitude for a dogfight?

At what altitude(s) do dogfights typically occur? How has this changed from World War I up to now?
14
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1answer
510 views

What is this pusher?

I am researching the history of pusher aircraft and came across this photo. Any information or guesses as to its history? Country, designer, mfg, pilot, etc? It looks to me like perhaps a 1920's ...
9
votes
1answer
613 views

What clues would have indicated KAL 902 was off course?

Korean Airlines Flight 902 was shot down by a Soviet fighter in April 1978 after the pilot turned through 150 degrees and entered Russian airspace. The New York Times reported it happened around 8.30 ...
9
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2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of the letters on the side(s) of WWII British aircraft?

WWII British Spitfire and Hurricane had identification letters on the side of fuselage. Do they have a specific meaning? How are the letters chosen?
8
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2answers
610 views

Why are airplanes called ‘she’?

What is the reason that airplanes in English have a female gender? Please illuminate the historical or scientific reason.
0
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1answer
213 views

Have there ever been any JATO bottles using only kerosene?

I've been reading about the early rocket work during WW2. They tried all sorts of fuels, hydrogen peroxide, hydrazine, red fuming nitric acid... Just in the scope of JATO/RATO, has there ever been ...
20
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3answers
6k views

In WW2, were self-sealing fuel tanks really cost-beneficial?

I just read this question and answer, which seems to confirm my fears that an incendiary bullet will still destroy you if it hits your fuel. In other words, a self-sealing fuel tank will not protect ...
15
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3answers
6k views

Why did the turbojet replace the piston engine?

Many people say that this was because aircraft powered by turbojet engines were faster during WWII. However the Grumman F7F-4N Tigercat, a fighter powered by a piston engine, flew at a maximum speed ...
2
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1answer
102 views

Where can I find blueprints for the Wright Model HS?

I'm looking for the Wright Model HS blueprints. Can someone help me?
7
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1answer
188 views

How did the service ceiling certification change in the 70s?

According to this video (at 4:30-4:45) the "later" Cessna T337 and P337 were limited to 20,000 feet whereas the older models "had no such limitation - a quirk in changes in the certification standards ...
10
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1answer
277 views

When was the pitot-based ASI first used on aircraft?

The pitot was first invented well before aircraft, yet early aircraft lacked an airspeed indicator (ASI). What aircraft first had a pitot-based ASI, and when?
30
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3answers
6k views

Has there ever been an aircraft with three sets of flight controls?

On every aircraft I know, there is either one set of flight controls if it is single-pilot operated, or two sets of flight controls allowing either the pilot or copilot full control. Has there ever ...
11
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1answer
1k views

What is this abandoned plane?

Does anyone knows what type of plane is this and its model? (Source: YouTube channel AssombradO.com.br)
5
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1answer
214 views

How was the 'steer' bearing given? [duplicate]

From the USAF c. 1955 training film No Sweat, there is a technique called 'steer'. By pressing the PTT button for a few seconds, the tower controller is able to determine the pilot's bearing. What ...
7
votes
1answer
678 views

What is Mode B on the transponder?

Mode A selected on the transponder provides identification of the aircraft to the secondary radar; Mode C will add an automatic height read-out of an aircraft. Mode S is a selective addressing. But ...
2
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1answer
130 views

How to find out what engine a plane had in the past?

I want to find out what engine a specific airplane had in the past. For example for the Airbus A320. The sources which I've found tell me there were different engines. CFM56-5A, CFM56-5B, IAE V2500 ...