Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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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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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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4answers
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What was the inflight entertainment in the early seventies?

In her 1970 song "This Flight Tonight", Joni Mitchell sings I'm drinking sweet champagne Got the headphones up high Can't numb you out Can't drum you out of my mind They're playing Goodbye ...
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4answers
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What would happen if a plane lost half of its weight instantly?

During the Second World War the RAF had a 10,000 kg bomb, the "Grand Slam", which was dropped from a Lancaster bomber. I assume that when this was dropped the plane would lurch upwards. Is there any ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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?
21
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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, ...
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What was the first flight instrument ever used in an airplane?

It's not magnetic compass, turn coordinator, stopwatch, wind meter, VVI, and airspeed indicator. I want to know what is the first flight instrument.
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Is this a famous aviator / airplane?

This may be a little off topic but I could not find a better community or website. I have two photo postcards with a man in front of a plane. Pretty sure it's Charles Lindbergh but an exhaustive ...
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Why are airships not more popular?

There is this question but I am hoping for more general answers to why airships are not more commonplace. The previous question does bring up the cost of production (mainly because of hi-tech fibers ...
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4answers
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What is the smallest manned jet aircraft?

In the movie Spy Kids (2001), there is a scene where the characters board a small jet aircraft "built for one passenger". The aircraft is about 2 meters tall with a 3 meters wingspan, and features a ...
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What aircraft could make non-stop transatlantic flights in 1958?

According to Wikipedia: TWA flew to Europe nonstop from O'Hare starting in 1958 The Great Circle Route distance from ORD/KORD to LHR/EGLL is 3953 miles. Other major European airports would have ...
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Is Doppler navigation still in use for civilian aircraft?

Is it possible to find an airliner nowadays with Doppler radar used for navigation purposes?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Which airplane designs have the greatest longevity?

What airplane designs have been around the longest, from first flight through last retirement from active commercial or military service? My guess is that the DC-3 will win, since it has been around ...
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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 ...
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How did aircraft communicate during early air travel?

During the initial era of air travel how do the pilots/Navigation officers would communicate with ground stations? Do they use radio communication? Or Telegraph was used?
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2answers
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What is this aircraft with pipes at the flight deck windows?

This image comes from a site about aircraft tractors: What could be the reasons for this old aircraft to have pipes at the flight deck windows and to be moved near a forest?
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Can anyone identify this 1910s era biplane?

I tried a number of searches with absolutely no luck. I remember a few that looked sort of similar without that smooth aerodynamic nose and body. I did try at least. If this helps, the individual ...
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How did night fighter aircraft manage to shoot down their foes in World War II?

I know that those plane had radar to acquire an approximate location of the enemy, but how did they spot them after that? You need to be accurate when you try to shoot down an enemy plane, and ...
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2answers
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Why is the de-icing fluid sprayed on jets coloured orange?

On a cold night or if it's been snowing, jets are sprayed with orange de-icing fluid: But why is it orange? If it's to see where's been sprayed and where you've missed a bit, black would be the most ...
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3answers
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What did they do before on-board toilets?

I was researching Jimmy Doolittle this morning, and I found this on History.com: To aid his record-breaking 1922 coast-to-coast flight, U.S. military strategist Jimmy Doolittle invented a funnel-...
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What lifting gas was used for barrage balloons during the world wars?

During the world wars, various barrage balloons were used to protect targets from low-flying aircraft or similar threats (e.g. V-1 flying bombs), in particular by Britain. What lifting gas was used ...
18
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1answer
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Why are there so few aircraft that had inhabited wings?

According to an answer by John Frazer The only successful plane with inhabited wing might have been the Ju-38 Is this true? In the whole history of aviation there was only one aeroplane with ...
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1answer
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What is this old pusher propeller aircraft?

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 ...
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990 views

What is this old biplane?

Can anyone identify this aeroplane? Location is Cordoba, Argentina.
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3answers
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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 ...
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What would be the general steps for making a flight in a biplane?

I'm a writer, the story I'm writing is set in 1942. It's an alternate history of sorts, so there's no pesky WW2 to worry about, but technology has developed in roughly the same way. As part of an ...
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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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2answers
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Why are there different number of propeller blades on the inboard and outboard engines?

The Junkers G 38 has four propeller blades on the inboard but only two on the outboard engines. What's the reason for this special arrangement and is there any benefit?
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What is this biplane?

What is this biplane shown above?
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Where does the term 'greased landing' come from?

I've heard this term used a few times to describe a really smooth landing (one where you hardly feel a bump). But where does this term actually come from? I'm not sure how grease (a lubricant) came ...
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5answers
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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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Who said “A little of all of us goes with every pilot we lose”?

The only attribution I’ve ever seen for the quotation below is “Anonymous FAA Inspector.” Whenever we talk about a pilot who has been killed in a flying accident, we should all keep one thing in ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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Did people really hand-start big bombers in WWII?

I am not a pilot so I don't know anything about hand starting propeller aircraft. But I wonder how easily can the propeller fire up unexpectedly during the procedure even if it's done right. Whenever ...
16
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2answers
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What are these three indentations on the SBD's wing?

I was looking at pictures of WWII planes and noticed that the SBD Dauntless had 3 indentations towards the tip of the wing. What were these for?
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1answer
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What is this board given to world war II pilot?

What is this board given to world war II pilot?
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2answers
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What was Boeing's competitor to the C-5?

Doing some of my airplane learning, I have come across a point many times that the engines for the Boeing 747 (at least partially) came from Boeing's competitor to the C-5 Galaxy. What was this plane ...
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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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1answer
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Why does Boeing name its aircraft B7x7 and Airbus names theirs A3x0?

Airbus and Boeing use this special naming scheme for their civilian aircraft models. All Boeings built today are B7x7. (In the past, also other numbers were used: the shortened version of a B707, the ...
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885 views

When were civilian aircraft first directed between aerodromes by air traffic control?

I feel fairly certain that when the Wright brothers flew, they did not need to contact air traffic control for clearances. These days, it isn't uncommon for the entirety of a flight to be under ATC ...
15
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Why do older airplanes have a wing on both the top and the bottom of the aircraft?

The first airplane by the Wright brothers had a double wing. This concept continued through World War 1 and into the 1930s - why was this concept popular?
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Did Clement Ader make the first flight even before the Wright brothers?

Clement Ader invented in the late 1890s, a plane that looked like a bat. It had a steam engine. Witnesses said it went airborne at least once and recorded a distance just over 50 meters. The Wright ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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What is currently the longest commercial flight in terms of distance?

Flightradar24 has announced few hours ago, that Qantas QF7 is taking off for its 13,804 km long flight and named it the longest commercial flight (by distance). Is that correct? I was more than sure, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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Did Flight Engineers progress to be pilots?

When 3 man cockpits were common place on commercial aircraft what was the career progression of a Flight Engineer like? Did FE's normally transition to be pilots? I'm not trying to insinuate here ...
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Can biplane or triplane designs be revived with modern materials?

With the new-age technologies and cutting-edge composite materials etc available currently, is it possible that biplane and triplane designs will make a comeback in the near future?

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