Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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8
votes
1answer
2k views

What was in the noses of airliners before the weather radar?

At the time of the first Lockheed Constellations, airliners fitted with a weather radar were not common, and the navigator was not placed in the airplane nose. Thus, the nose seems to be mostly dead ...
5
votes
1answer
914 views

What is this aircraft and its submarine?

I got this picture from an anonymous source and I'm curious to learn more about its mission and I want to know if it's a genuine picture. It happens to be a submarine aircraft carrier.
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0answers
79 views

Who was Penrose's mystery pioneer?

In his autobiography Adventure with Fate, test pilot Harald Penrose records an undated meeting with a "remarkable old gentleman" at Burton Bradstock in Dorsetshire, England: Directed to a decrepit ...
3
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1answer
325 views

Was destruction of SR-71-related tools really extraordinary?

While reading about Lockheed SR-71 on Wikipedia I was baffled by a piece of information regarding Robert McNamara's order to destroy tools used to create Blackbirds, which took place in 1968 (at the ...
5
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1answer
176 views

When were commercial pilots first allowed to use glasses?

Currently, pilots with defective (but correctable) vision are allowed to pilot airliners if they have at least two pairs of their corrective lenses (typically glasses) with them on board. Was there a ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Can anyone identify the aircraft in the background of this photo?

This photo was found in some family belongings and we're trying to date it to identify the family member who may have been in his tri-service imaged. So, can anyone identify the plane in the ...
1
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4answers
180 views

Why are early wing planforms mostly rectangular?

I am looking at the history of wing planforms, and I am having trouble finding reasons for why the wright flier and other early aircraft were built with rectangular wings. I thought it was due to ...
4
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4answers
203 views

Keeping the engine under the wings, doesn't hurt the lift as the airflow speed is higher under the wings?

To create a lift, the airflow speed on top of the wings should be higher than the airflow speed on the bottom of the wings. But when you keep the engine on the bottom of the wings, wouldn't it hurt ...
4
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1answer
265 views

Can you identify the plane with number NC 14959 photographed in Boston in 1937?

I have a photo of a plane with the number NC 14959 taken in Boston on December 31, 1937. The hanger behind it says "Occidental Airlines". I am trying to find out what kind of plane this is? I am ...
3
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1answer
126 views

Why was a CFM56 conversion never offered for the short-body DC-8s?

A major part of why the DC-8 hung on well into the 21st century (albeit almost entirely in cargo service) was the late-1970s/1980s conversion of 110 DC-8-60s (out of a total of 262) into DC-8-70s; the ...
14
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3answers
509 views
+50

Where does the 90 seconds limit for plane evacuation come from?

New airplanes have to confirm that all passengers have to be evacuated within 90 seconds or they wouldn't be certified by aviation authorities. But where does the 90 seconds limit come from? Why isn't ...
30
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10answers
10k views

How could “aggressor” pilots fly foreign aircraft without speaking the language?

Context I watched a couple documentaries recently and found one where they were mentioning the training of American forces against Mi-24 that were captured and brought back to the US to test fly them....
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1answer
121 views

Aviation history. My dad PM of F-14 [closed]

My father was Prog mgr of F14. Where can I sell or donate his memorabilia or where is site to help?
0
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1answer
158 views

How did the term 'Buttered the bread' originate?

I've heard this term used a few times to describe an exceptionally smooth landing
9
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3answers
4k views

What is this WWII four-engine plane on skis?

I've seen this plane but I don't know its name:
7
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1answer
147 views

Why were the ailerons of the Fokker Dr. I (Red Baron) located on the top wing?

Photos' source are here: Fokker Dr. I (Red Baron), and here: a Sopwith triplane. They are probably not the actual airplane but only (claimed) authentic models. It makes sense to me that the Sopwith ...
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0answers
102 views

What airplane model was this historic propeller attached to?

I have a 9-foot historic wooden biplane propeller with brass edges. It does have a serial number, but it is tough to read. 2250 DN 152 6' 6" is what it appears to say. I am attaching a photo of it. ...
5
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1answer
526 views

Is this WWI movie scene realistic?

In a poignant scene of 1933 WWI film The Eagle and the Hawk (not to be confused with the same-name 1950 western film), while the pilot played by Fredric March performs a loop-the-loop in his – I ...
3
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2answers
195 views

Where did the SOE agents sit in the 161 squadron Short Stirlings?

I asked this question on history.se, where it was recommended I repost here. During World War II Special Operation Executive (SOE) agents were dropped into occupied Europe by No. 161 squadron of the ...
15
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3answers
9k views

Was a six-engine 747 ever seriously considered by Boeing?

The Boeing 747 can carry a fifth engine on the side. As the airframe looks quite symmetric, I think that it would not be big work to hang a sixth engine on the side as well. From here, we seem to be ...
8
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2answers
272 views

What methodology did ICAO use to create the overall code nomenclature for airports?

If an airport is from North America, then it starts with K and so on. How did ICAO get the letters from? Why does the Philippines region starts with A? Why do airports in Izmir have LTBx prefix? Did ...
8
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2answers
340 views

What was the first aircraft equipped with a RAT?

RAT are common in airliners today to provide emergency electrical and hydraulic power. Yet, firsts airliners (prior to WWII) may not require the same amount of power than today's airliners (which are ...
-3
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1answer
517 views

What is the aircraft type in the movie 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

The new movie Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood has a few scenes in a Pan American Airways aircraft. The movie is set in the late 60s, looking at their fleet from that time, it looks like it was either ...
7
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1answer
160 views

When were checkerboard fiducial markers first used in aircraft development?

It's common to put checkerboard fiducial markers on aircraft to help analyze rates and orientations from photographs and film. When was this practice first used on aircraft? Flight test versions ...
2
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0answers
58 views

Why did Curtiss put his Model F's ailerons on the interplane struts?

Glenn Curtiss's 1912-1918 Model F biplane flying boat has large ailerons on the struts between the wings, not contiguous with any other flying surface. Did this aileron position have any advantage? ...
25
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1answer
3k views

Why are electric shavers specifically permitted under FAR §91.21

This struck me as a bit strange, 91.21 which covers electronic devices that can be used during IFR flight has some exceptions, one through three make logical sense (not really sure why portable voice ...
3
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0answers
58 views

Expendable wingspan, long range early airplanes

Reading this question, I was wondering if, at some point early in aviation history there may have been airplane designs or concepts replacing or anticipating variable swept wing by "expendable ...
14
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1answer
1k views

How much maintenance time did it take to make an F4U Corsair ready for another flight?

A coworker I worked alongside once told me that during his time in the Navy, he was responsible for taking care of maintenance on F-22s. He stated that every F-22 required 10 hours of maintenance for ...
3
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3answers
202 views

What are the abandoned technologies in aviation industry [closed]

And technologies has come to end of to their life cycle Especially technologies that developed for aviation. This could be a manufacturing technology or an engine rather than avionics or sensors.
6
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2answers
327 views

Any biplane flying wings after 1914?

Were any biplane flying wings built and flown after the 1912-1914 variants of the Dunne D.8? If not, why? Wikipedia mentions merely that this type was too stable and insufficiently controllable, but ...
3
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2answers
247 views

Historical gap in high aspect ratio wing transport aircraft

Reading about recent Boeing's high aspect ratio wing concepts for commercial aircraft, such as TTBW and SUGAR, I couldn't help but think of the Hurel-Dubois aircraft, where similar aerodynamic choices ...
39
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13answers
8k views

Other than a swing wing, what types of variable geometry have flown?

We're well familiar with swing wings, on small and large aircraft from both the east and west. What other types of variable geometry have been tried?
5
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1answer
332 views

What is this old biplane on a float?

I'm hoping for some help in identifying the plane in these two photographs I found in my father's collection.
9
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1answer
1k views

What's the story behind U-2 flying from aircraft carriers?

This video from the CIA YouTube channel shows U-2 aircraft launching via catapult and trapping with a tailhook: The description only offers this: After stopping U-...
2
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1answer
151 views

What is the typical sink rate during a well-executed carrier landing at the moment the main wheels touch the deck?

What is the typical sink rate during a well-executed carrier landing at the moment the main wheels touch the deck? And how has this changed over the decades?
2
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1answer
326 views

Was the F4F-1 Wildcat ever built?

The original design for the F4F Wildcat was as a biplane, but with the -2 model, it was redesigned as a monoplane. I am wondering if the -1 model was ever actually built, or did it remain as a ...
56
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13answers
13k views

Have any large aeroplanes been landed — safely and without damage — in locations that they could not be flown away from?

And, what was done with them subsequently?
8
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1answer
448 views

Did the Douglas SBD Dauntless have a second set of controls?

In the book Never Call me a Hero, the author mentions that there were controls in the rear seat of the Douglas SBD Dauntless. However, I don't recall ever hearing this before, though I know the TBD ...
8
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1answer
428 views

Why was the An-225 built when the VM-T Atlant already did the job?

The Soviet Buran program decided to use a carrier aircraft to move their orbiter and Energia tanks similarly to the American Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. However, the Soviet Union built two types to do ...
2
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0answers
38 views

What is the best reliable weight/power ration achieved by a pre-1911 plane?

From the article "DAYTON BOYS EMULATE GREAT SANTOS-DUMONT" that appeared on December 18, 1903, it can be calculated that the apparatus, which took off one day before, flew 700 lb / 16 hp = 19.84 kg / ...
4
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1answer
405 views

Are requests for an emergency landing ever refused?

Under what circumstances might it happen that a pilot's request to make an emergency landing is refused? Is such a thing known to have occurred?
2
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3answers
181 views

What are some of the longest flights without modern navigation systems?

Context: As a private pilot, I enjoy preparing my flights with a mix of paper charts and iPad apps. In flight, my navigation is now often very assisted by the G1000 or iPad, relegating the paper maps ...
6
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7answers
6k views

What is the largest (size) solid object ever dropped from an airplane to impact the ground in freefall?

What is the record for the largest single solid item that has ever been dropped from an airplane at free fall to the ground? Here, "free fall" means falling vertically, or nearly vertically falling ...
21
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1answer
3k views

Why were early aviators' trousers flared at the thigh?

For example, these dapper outfits: (Credit History Bunker) What purpose does the extra volume down to the knee serve? Why don't modern pilots wear similar jodhpurs?
5
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2answers
358 views

Has a small airplane ever been air launched from a heavy-lift helicopter?

I would like to know if a small airplane, like a Cessna, has ever been air launched from a heavy-lift helicopter, perhaps as a stunt or as an aviation experiment? I think it would have been a simple ...
31
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2answers
8k views

Has a commercial or military jet bi-plane ever been manufactured?

Are there any, or have there ever been any commercial/military jet bi-planes? What would be some of the major advantages vs disadvantages if one was built? Electric radio controlled ducted fan model. ...
4
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1answer
338 views

When was Kai Tak permanently closed to cargo service?

Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was closed to both passenger and cargo service early in the morning of 6 July 1998, with all flights moving to the brand-new airport at Chek Lap Kok. However, shortly ...
14
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1answer
660 views

Did the FAA order the installation of “Cooper vanes?”

On November 24, 1971, a man hijacked a Boeing 727 and parachuted away, never to be found. According to Wikipedia, this prompted (together with 2 other hijackings) the installation of "Cooper vanes" ...
7
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1answer
951 views

Is it unprecedented for an F-16 to get hit by its own bullet(s)?

According to Dutch state broadcaster NOS, an F-16 was hit by its own bullet(s) in a training exercise: De F-16 die in januari aanzienlijke schade opliep tijdens een oefening boven Vlieland blijkt ...
4
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1answer
330 views

What safety issues led the FAA to ban Constellation flights into/out of the U.S.?

Although the Lockheed Constellation (like the other late, large piston airliners) was superseded in the 1960s and 1970s by newer jets (plus turboprops for shorter/lighter routes), it hung on into the ...