Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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12
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1answer
2k views

Has there even been a case of pilot incapacitation due to food poisoning?

On commercial flights, pilots are usually required to have different meal, to reduce the chance of food poisoning affecting both pilots. Is this just a precautionary measure, or has this actually ...
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2answers
292 views

What ground-based, airline job in the 1940s could have involved radio communications?

My mom worked for United Airlines in the mid 1940s in some communications capacity: she communicated by radio with United aircraft only, and she wasn't an air traffic controller. She went to school ...
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3answers
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What is the largest plane ever to have been stolen by a single pilot?

This guy stole a few small planes like two c172s, a 182 and a Columbia 400. Also, in 2003 two persons stole a Boeing 727. Has there been other cases like this one where someone stole a large aircraft?...
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2answers
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What was the takeoff run distance of a Fw 200 Condor bomber/transport?

The Fw 200 Condor was a large plane of Germany during WW2. It was used in recon and bomber roles against convoys. Wikipedia lists several specs including max takeoff weight of 24.5 tons and 4 engines ...
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5answers
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Has there ever been a seaplane with inflatable airbags rather than traditional pontoons?

Traditional pontoons are big and cause a lot of drag. It would be nice to retract them like normal landing gear but they are just too big. Has there ever been a seaplane with inflatable airbags ...
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3answers
6k views

How did the gyro gunsights of WW2 get the range and lead of a target?

I just read this article on the gyro gunsight, but I don't understand how it computed range/position to the target and then calculated how much lead is needed. Surely it must have had radar to get ...
24
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1answer
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Was it possible to land a Boeing 707 with 300 feet cloud ceiling in the 70s?

In the movie Airplane! (1980), the main characters had to land a Boeing 707 in Chicago airport in low visibility. The dialog says the pilot "should be able to see the runway at 300 feet". Given the ...
7
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1answer
491 views

How did ATC procedures and airspace structure change after San Diego PSA collision?

In 1978, a Pacific Southwest Airlines aircraft collided with a Cessna 172 while approaching the San Diego airport in California. The GA aircraft was piloted by a student, and crossed the approach ...
32
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1answer
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Why did the DC-3 have wing sweep?

When looking at the silhouette of a DC-3, one can clearly see that the wings are swept. This design is from 1935, before the high-speed research work on wing sweep was ever implemented, and the DC-3 ...
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1answer
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What was the first commercial scheduled flight to Australia from another continent (except Asia)?

Australia has been a very isolated country, ships being the only possibility to get there from another continent if someone was not too much in a hurry. Aviation did add a new and radically different ...
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2answers
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What was the first monoplane airliner with a full cantilever wing (no struts)?

By Towpilot - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Image source By the mid 1930s, the gold standard of airliner construction was achieved: the DC-3 was a full aluminium aircraft with monocoque construction and a ...
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1answer
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What is this old US Army Air Corps plane?

This photo was taken by my Grandfather in 1918 at Rich Field in Wako, TX. I don't think that it is a Taube because of the front structure, engine type, 4 wheels, fuselage shape, etc.
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How were pilots selected and trained before the introduction of simulators?

I wonder, how were the pilots selected and trained before simulators were introduced. The simulators allowed to test the coordination and reaction time of candidates. And they allowed the students to ...
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1answer
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Why did some Caravelles have a very long dorsal fin?

(Source) Why did some Sud Aviation Caravelles have a very long dorsal fin stretching half the fuselage? Initially I thought it's to keep the fin low to fit in existing hangars as a selling point, ...
10
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3answers
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What is the purpose of a wing Yehudi? [duplicate]

Apart from covering the landing gear leg, the Yehudi also increases the wing root cord which allows the build height for the root to increase for the same wing relative thickness. This is useful as ...
10
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1answer
317 views

Are there known cases of an airline pilot's becoming incapacitated, while in command of the aircraft, during a critical flight phase?

Are there any reported cases in which the Pilot Flying of an airliner has become incapacitated during a critical phase of flight, so that the Pilot Monitoring has had to intervene to prevent a ...
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3answers
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Why did the F-104 Starfighter have a T-tail?

The F-104 Starfighter was launched in 1954, nine years after WWII. It had short stubby wings and a T-tail. According to wiki, the short stubby wings caused inertia coupling and the T-tail reduced this....
8
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1answer
390 views

Where can I find the full report of this controlled F-4 fighter jet impact?

I found the following video on YouTube They used an F-4 Phantom jet as a test article in a crash into a concrete wall at 500 mph. It wasn't actually a crash because ...
19
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3answers
8k views

Has anyone ever been penalised for buzzing a control tower?

Has there ever been a pilot who was caught and penalised for performing a "circus stunt fly-by" next to a control tower? To clarify the question: I mean legal actions took place; for example ...
8
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3answers
4k views

When did airlines start using seat belts for passengers?

When did airlines start using seat belts on passenger flights?
10
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1answer
490 views

How long has the term “situational awareness” been used in aviation?

I was puzzled to read (Wikipedia article on situational awareness) that: The term can be traced to World War I, where it was recognized as a crucial skill for crews in military aircraft. but in ...
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1answer
2k views

Has there ever been a plane with reversed flight controls?

Has there ever been a plane which at least one of the primary flight controls is reversed? For example, pulling back on the stick will cause a dive, or full throttle is achieved by moving the levers ...
3
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2answers
340 views

Why use a single engine plane instead of a multi engine one for a long range flight record?

Tupolev ANT-25 was designed specifically for setting flight range records. In 1937 two flights from Moscow, Soviet Union to USA via the North Pole happened - one covered 9130 kilometers and finished ...
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14answers
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What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

It's easy to find information about the fastest airplanes, in different categories (e.g. X-15, SR-71, the Concorde etc), but what is the slowest one? Which powered, manned airplane is capable of ...
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2answers
8k views

Is there an official record of the pilot with the most logged flight time?

We often hear about pilots with 10 or even 20 thousands hours. So I was wondering how much higher this number can go. Do we know which pilot has the most logged time? Is there any official number?
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4answers
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Which fixed-wing aircraft has the highest number of required flight crew members?

Most modern airliners require two pilots to operate. Older airliners require a flight crew of three: two pilots plus one flight engineer. Has there ever been an aircraft where the number of required ...
9
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1answer
669 views

Where can I find more information about my grandfather's crashed B-18a bomber on Mt. Redoubt Alaska?

My father and I have chartered a plane for late August to search for the remains of my grandfather's B-18a bomber, which crashed in the summer of 1942 in Mt. Redoubt Alaska. I am specifically ...
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1answer
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What model is this strange airplane-helicopter combination?

I'm a local historian in Fort Collins, CO and I'm trying to find out anything I can about the helicopter/plane image in the attached picture. The only thing I know is that it was parked in a early ...
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13answers
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Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

In the 1960's, it took three years to produce a flying prototype of an aircraft that flew faster than anything before, was built out of a novel construction material, used a new type of fuel, and was ...
9
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1answer
337 views

What is the origin of the practice of numbering runways by magnetic heading?

Today, runways are always named according to the magnetic heading. How did this practice start? When and where was the practice invented? Whose idea was it, and how did it catch on?
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1answer
732 views

What is the history and process of designing new waypoints and airways?

I am interested in what goes into designing new airways and navigation fixes, especially on international routes. For example, after WWII, there were no established international air service. Now, we ...
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2answers
368 views

What is the date of first use of the TAF format?

Unlike METAR and NOTAM, I cannot find any history on Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). Any hint as to the age of the format would be appreciated.
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2answers
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What noise reduction measures were taken in the time between hush kits and chevrons?

In older jets such as 727 hush kits are used in the engines to reduce noise. In very modern jets such as 787 or 747-8F, chevrons are used for the same purpose. What happened in between? The switch to ...
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2answers
6k views

What is the purpose of the glazed round area atop the Ju 87 Stuka G?

I haven't been able to find any pictures of this feature aside from models, nor any reference to what it is. I'm going to make a complete guess and suggest it's a searchlight for night-fighting to ...
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4answers
863 views

Was differential thrust used in the P-38 to improve turn performance?

In the P-38 Lightning could differential thrust be used to improve turn performance ? If so what was the procedure ?
5
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3answers
775 views

Was the F-4 Phantom the only fighter to be in service for the US Navy, Air Force and Marines?

As is stated here: Furthermore, the F-4 came in both ground- and carrier-based models and served in the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines. The only other frontline fighter to serve in all three ...
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1answer
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What were the 20 airspace classes in the US before 1993?

ICAO adopted the current airspace classification in 1990. The US followed suit in 1993. But, I found this: In case you didn't know, the U.S. had 20 different types of airspace designations prior ...
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2answers
318 views

What was the earliest plane in push-pull configuration that flew or at least took off?

I am looking for the earliest plane in push-pull configuration that flew or at least took off. I have found such planes ("Short Triple Twin" and "Short Tandem Twin") flown in 1911. So, I would be ...
6
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1answer
489 views

What alternative designs competed for the C-130 in the 1950s?

Which manufacturers and aircraft entered the U.S. government design competition back in the 1950s in which the Lockheed C-130 was selected? Were they all clean sheet designs, modified versions of ...
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3answers
673 views

What were the U.S. Air Force's first 2-crew fighter planes?

The Navy has had 2-crew planes since at least as early as 1944 with the Grumman F7F Tigercat but when did the U.S. Air Force adopt 2-seaters. Does the Navy prefer 2 crew and the Air Force prefers 1? ...
4
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2answers
173 views

What structural design methods were used for early turbojets?

I have had this question for long time. Can anyone please give me some references on early turbojet engine design methodologies? For example P&W J57 which was designed in early 1950's: How were ...
5
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1answer
372 views

When did pilots start making announcements to passengers?

It's common practice now, and maybe required for most airlines. But I don't think that earlier pilots made the same announcements that they do today. When did pilots start making in-flight ...
9
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1answer
703 views

What are the evenly-spaced “bumps” on Bell X-1 tailplane?

The tailplane of the Bell X-1 had four evenly-spaced "bumps" on each side--what was their purpose? (Screen shot from The Right Stuff.) Another image If they're hinges for the elevators, then how ...
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2answers
2k views

How did the 747SR fly from Qatar to London?

The following photo on the Boeing 747 Wikipedia article reads: Qatar Airways 747SR-81 landing at London Gatwick Airport in 1996. How did the 747SR manage this flight [on a regular basis]? The only ...
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5answers
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What is this ring-shaped device behind this DC-8's jet engine?

What is this ring-shaped device behind this Douglas DC-8's jet engine? (YouTube)
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1answer
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What is the largest aircraft that has been flown inverted successfully?

What is the largest aircraft that has been flown inverted? For the purpose of the question: Sustained inverted flight is not necessary, therefore barrel rolls and loops count The aircraft must be ...
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2answers
1k views

Did British aircraft fly at a specific speed while returning from missions during WWII?

I remember reading a whole lot ago (so I am currently unable to find the reference, sorry) that during WWII, British aircraft would return from missions at a specific speed that was unattainable from ...
14
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1answer
918 views

Did the contemporaries of the F-14 also have automatic swing wings?

The F-14's Central Air Data Computer was a innovative design, using microprocessors for its implementation. This computer was used to control the swing wings of the F-14. How did the contemporary ...
21
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1answer
4k views

Is this really a British Airways 727?

I came upon this clip on YouTube this week: It appears to depict a Boeing 727 in British Airways livery. My first thought was that it's a Trident, but it is ...
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2answers
1k views

Was “the right stuff” ever really the right stuff? [closed]

In the history of the culture of aviation, to what extent has the popular image of "the right stuff" required of a pilot ever matched the characteristics actually sought in aviation? In this popular ...

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