Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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0answers
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What's the altitude and velocity record for a ground-launched rocket plane?

Most rocket planes are air-launched but there were/are a few ground-launched rocket planes as well, such as the Messerschmitt Komet. What's the altitude and airspeed record for a ground-launched ...
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Data on the year that airports are constructed [closed]

I am interested in data on the year that airports are built. I am mainly interested in US based airports, though hints towards data sources that cover other global regions. Thank you!
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Why did Japanese aircraft carriers in WW2 carry both high and normal octane aviation fuels?

According to Parshall & Tully's Shattered Sword, the four Japanese aircraft carriers lost at the Battle of Midway (1942) carried both high and normal octane aviation fuel. Does anyone here know ...
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What is the vertical rod on this Swissair DC-3 drawing?

What is this large protruding rod in the frontal dorsal section of this drawing of a Swissair DC-3: The small rod extending from the nose I am assuming holds the pitot tube and serves as a mount for ...
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1answer
216 views

What were the typical military training aircraft of the mid- to late-1930s in USA?

I am writing a novel that includes 1939 to present. I am interested in what pilots in training first used when they were entering flight school during the mid-late 1930s in USA. Can you advise me?
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Did WWII fighters do a roll before engaging to identify themselves to radar operators?

There's some folklore in the radar world about the Nazi fighters doing a roll before engagement to mark them to a German radar operator. This makes a lot of sense because it allows you to change your ...
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Which was the first aeroplane to have fuel tanks within its wings?

Wings with substantial thickness start appearing after WW1, with Junkers pioneering all-aluminium aircraft such as the Junkers F 13 (1919). It as a far from universal trend, however; compare with the ...
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1answer
248 views

When in 1982 did ICAO start using three-letter airline codes?

All airlines have an alphabetic identification code issued by ICAO. From 1947, when ICAO was formed, until 1982, ICAO codes were two letters long;1 in the latter year, due to the increasing number of ...
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What did seat belts look like in 1940s aircraft?

I first flew back in the 1940s as a four or five year old. I have a vague memory of a seat belt locked with a wooden peg inserted into a webbing loop. The aircraft was probably a Vickers Viking, a ...
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1answer
274 views

What does it mean exactly when an aircraft is "35% unstable"? (aircraft stability factor)

CNN's Grumman X-29: The impossible fighter jet with inverted wings contains several interesting photos, and says: It was unflyable -- literally -- without a digital flight computer on board, which ...
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What sort of briefing and planning information would an airline pilot in the 1960-70s have used?

Slightly related: Do airliners get substantially different weather briefings from the rest of us? Highly related: How was the navigation managed on jetliners before having programmable routes? Highly ...
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1answer
171 views

Were there civilian female test pilots in the 60's?

In 1962, women couldn't become astronauts because NASA had a requirement that astronauts be experimental jet test pilots. In the 60's, were there any civilian test pilots that tested planes that weren'...
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External stores on the A-10 Warthog

I would like to understand the hardpoint use for the A-10A during the 1980s. From various official and model-building sources, there are eight wing and three fuselage pylons, all permanently installed,...
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Can anyone identify this 1920's era biplane bomber?

What is the aircraft in this photo? My great uncle is in the back row second to the right. He was born in 1900, so I think this photo is from around 1920. I think he was based at Kelly Field in San ...
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Why doesn't the -30% SFC fully account for the dramatic reduction in fuel consumption compared to the 1960s?

In looking at the specific fuel consumption (SFC) of some aero engines I find that for example, the Rolls Royce Conway turbofan engine had typical cruise SFC of 0.874 lb/(h lbf) whilst the most modern ...
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Why was the minimum turbulence intensity that commercial airliners have to withstand increased?

From 50 fps turbulence intensity at VC to 90-100 fps turbulence intensity at VC. The amended FAR design criteria was introduced in 1980 or 1981 for commercial airliners. What prompted this change?
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309 views

What is the origin of the following aviation slang terms?

I'm researching some aviation slang terms. I have difficulty in finding the origin of the following words and phrases. I would be grateful if you can help me. The words and the phrases and their ...
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Why is there a "-D" circling-only approach at an airport that does not have corresponding -A, -B, and -C approaches?

There are three instrument approaches at SEE (as of 17 June 2021): RNAV (GPS) RWY 09L RNAV (GPS) RWY 17 LOC-D The two RNAV approaches are straight-in to runways 09L and 17, respectively. The LOC-D ...
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1answer
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Why (and when) did people start meowing on guard frequency?

meow Some love it, some hate it, but we've all heard it - that's right, pilots meowing on guard frequency (121.5). When did it start? Does (or did) it represent something? Does ATC ever do it?
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1answer
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How much oil did Charles Lindbergh have to bring along to fly the Atlantic?

A study of the Wright Whirlwind 200 hp J5 made me wonder if it could be matched to a Cessna 172 airframe. Radials have the ability to run on much lower grade 50 octane gasoline and have great air-...
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9answers
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Were propeller airplanes significantly more "scary" to fly in compared to modern jet ones?

I've flown exactly once in my life. It was in 2004, with a commercial jet. Not a "jumbo", but a normal-sized jet plane in common use for cheap flights in that year. (Well, twice if you ...
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3answers
535 views

Did the jet stream really stop the B-29, or was it just bad luck?

The B-29 bomber, used in WWII, was designed as a high altitude bomber, capable of operating from altitudes in excess of 30,000 feet. However, starting with their first missions to Tokyo in Nov 1944, ...
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Is there an example of a classic aviation engineering moment when engineers had to discard all their work due to the wrong approach?

Is there any classic aviation/space engineering moment where the engineers had been working on a concept for months and then realised that their approach to the problem wasn't quite right and so had ...
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2answers
196 views

Could Sudden Decompression Cause You to be Shot Out of the Tunnel on a B-29?

One of the features of the WWII B-29 bomber was that it was pressurized. The aircraft had pressurized areas in the front and the back of the aircraft. Connecting the two was a pressurized tunnel over ...
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Does this Max Faget April 1, 1969 design for the Space Shuttle look familiar? Is it similarity to existing aircraft at the time?

This answer to Who are the actual lead designers of manned spacecraft? in Space Exploration SE says (in its entirety): Max Faget was involved in the design of every US manned spacecraft flown to date....
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Tail Warning Radar on the P-51

One of the "features" of the P-51 was a tail warning radar that was supposed to let pilots know if an enemy fighter was on your tail. However, a P-51 pilot told me that they generally ...
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1answer
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Did LeMay actually require crews to remove their guns on B-29s?

There is a persistent rumour/storyline that, during and after the successful low-level raids on Tokyo in March 1945, LeMay ordered that all B-29s remove their guns, except for the tail gun. However, I ...
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How did Soapy get to fly Hornets?

Allegedly, in early June 1983, while flying a Sea Harrier during a NATO exercise off the coast of Portugal, Royal Navy's Sub-Lieutenant Ian "Soapy" Watson found himself in a rather ...
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P-51 Supercharger Loops

A WWII pilot once told me that, for fun, they would sometimes take their P-51s up and perform what he called "supercharger loops". They would climb to an altitude below where the ...
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1answer
106 views

Is there independent evidence that the Wright brothers celebrated Roosvelt's election in 1904 by a flight of over 5 minutes?

In a letter addressed to Octave Chanute, Wilbur Wright made the following statement: Wilbur Wright, “Letter to Octave Chanute”, Dayton, November 15, 1904. “On the 9th we went out to celebrate ...
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4answers
388 views

Would this mechanical apparatus be a new means of creating aerodynamic lift? [closed]

I recently came up with a conceptual idea for creating aerodynamic lift which would use an unconventional centrifugal impeller. I would like to know if this conceptual design of mine is something that ...
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2answers
339 views

What is the altitude record for the F/A-18 Hornet?

Does anyone know how high (above MSL) the F/A-18 ever went? Its service ceiling is 50,000 ft, but when going up steeply, is it able to surpass 100,000 ft altitude?
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1answer
291 views

Need help identifying civilian small aircraft from old turkish movie

I need help identifying a plane from an older 1977 turkish comedy movie for a personal project, these are the best (and only) shots it can be seen. Flyby Front Angle Close up cockpit outside
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3answers
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Is there strong evidence that Clement Ader flew a plane on Oct. 9, 1890 or at any date before 1897?

About Clement Ader it is often said that on October 9, 1890, he flew a man carrying plane for a distance of about 50 meters. After searching the archives the best evidence I found, in support of this ...
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3answers
202 views

Did John Stringfellow ever build an aeroplane, powered by a steam engine, that really flew?

After doing some research, I found two apparently conflicting articles. The first, dated Sep. 23, 1848, describes John Stringfellow as marching through the air in a tent. The second, published about ...
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Was Stringfellow's 1848-1868 motor a revolutionary aviation engine or just a useless low efficiency toy which never powered a flying model plane? [closed]

I took a look at the 1848 Stringfellow's aviation steam engine and I do not really understand how it was capable to power a model plane in horizontal flight as long as the motor itself was just an ...
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61 views

Identification of control column spade

I have a control column head similar to that used on the Spitfire and Hurricane but with two levers for cables coming up from the stick. I would like to find out what aircraft used this type. Markings ...
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1answer
200 views

Since when did European regulations require the ability to suppress alerts?

Thanks to @Gerry's comment on a recent answer of mine, the 2011 ruling on the FAA's amended 14 CFR § 25.1322 mentions: Adopting this rule also harmonizes flightcrew alerting standards between the FAA ...
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3answers
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What engine of the period 1855-1865 would have lifted one of Wright brothers' aeroplanes off the ground?

On December 13, 1905, the Wright brothers sent a letter to Georges Besançon, the editor of L’Aérophile, a leading French aeronautical journal. L'Auto, a newspaper of Paris, published a part of the ...
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Is this vintage altimeter from the Cuatro Vientos?

My father who was a pilot, passed away some years ago and I have a vintage altimeter that he told me someone gave him. They assured him that it belonged to the Cuatro Vientos airplane, but I'm not ...
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1answer
7k views

Why do airplane indicators start at 12 (o'clock), unlike cars that start at 7?

A car's speed and RPM indicators usually start at 7, lower left, but airplanes' altitude and airspeed indicators start at noon. What's the origin of this convention?
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1answer
211 views

Did any metal airplane use a Maxwell slot?

The Douglas DC-8 used leading-edge slots. Unlike slots in light planes, this one was door operated. I thought Douglas must have patented it. But as far as I searched, they did not. So it must have ...
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2answers
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How exactly did engineers come to the final design of jets like the F-16 or SR-71?

I ask this question because I read somewhere that SR-71 was designed in 60's with hand calculations and drafters and when engineers later tried to improve the design with modern computers they found ...
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1answer
113 views

Was NextGen simulated/tested against alternatives?

Researchers in aviation usually test systems in simulated environments to find out the pros, cons, challenges, etc. Now ADS-B is a key component of NextGen and its European counterpart. And I've seen ...
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What justifies a biplane over a braced monoplane?

Biplanes became the first airplanes to enter service due to their structurally efficient design being more suitable for the weak materials then. This efficiency comes from the two wings acting as the ...
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How did the Wright brothers measure the maximum airspeed of their 1904 plane?

The Wright brothers used during their 1904 trials (105 in total, according with their claims) a Richard anemometer mounted on Flyer II (there are numerous pictures on the net with such a device). The ...
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1answer
2k views

Can someone identify the Make and Model of airplane that this fuselage belonged to?

This gutted fuselage remnant was photographed by my mother at Whaler's Bay on Deception Island in Antarctica in 1994. Deception Island is directly south of the Falkland Islands in the narrow area ...
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1answer
307 views

Can you identify this aircraft?

This photo, taken circa 1939, was taken of my uncle's aircraft at Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York. Lotar Munch and his partner operated "Munch & Romeo Flying Service" out of ...
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1answer
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Can anyone identify this pusher plane from apparently the 1930s?

I have performed two searches - a photo search and also an FAA NC number search and failed at both to identify this pusher airplane. My family photo says it was taken by my mother at the Chicago ...
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1answer
1k views

Identify this USAAF biplane

I have been unable to match this USAAF biplane with a similar photo mainly due to the cockpit canopy. I've found no other like it. I believe the photo was taken at Madison, WI or Chicago, IL in the ...

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