Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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14
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2answers
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Is it common for aircraft tugs to work from under the aircraft?

I came across this photo showing a tug attached in a way I have never seen before. I assume it was used to allow the aircraft closer to the terminal. Did this require special equipment or ...
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5answers
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Why was the Boeing 377 “Stratocruiser” frequently landed nosewheel first on touchdown?

Why was the Boeing 377 "Stratocruiser" frequently landed nosewheel first on touchdown? In the mid-1950's I had often observed Northwest Airlines' B377's frequently being landed that way at the old ...
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1answer
829 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" ...
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3answers
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What is the origin of the term “pax”?

Pax in commercial transport is used as something like persons or passengers, in the context of counting people, e.g. 150 pax onboard. (Amadeus capture, source) I observed that in German writers tend ...
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1answer
934 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Why did some aircraft use hand-crank instead of gravity for alternate gear extension?

I wondered whether the final scene in The Memphis Belle where they hurry to extend the gear by hand crank (because their electric system failed) is realistic, but according to this answer the B-17 ...
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1answer
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Has a C-130 ever been designated as “Air Force One”?

Near the end of the movie, "Air Force One", Harrison Ford is transferred to a C-130, which then changes its call sign to "Air Force One". My question is, has a president of the US ever flown in a C-...
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Airline safety: what happened between 1959 and 1962?

The graph on page 17 (PDF page 18) of this Boeing air safety publication shows the fatal accident rate for commercial jets in the US and Canada dropped from about 40 per million departures in 1959 to ...
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1answer
701 views

How were the graveyard spiral and other sensory illusions discovered?

The graveyard spiral has an infamous reputation for killing even experienced pilots which only have visual flight experience. What the wikipedia article does not mention is how and when the spiral and ...
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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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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 ...
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2answers
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Why did Boeing choose to give the Boeing 720 such a designation?

The Boeing 720 was a modification of the Boeing 707. Why was it given the unusual number of "720" instead of a "707-xxx" or "7x7" designation?
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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....
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3answers
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How did old autopilots work?

With fly-by-wire and computers between pilot's command and flight control surfaces, it is easy to imagine the implementation of an autopilot inside the computer, but I read somewhere that autopilots ...
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1answer
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Which airplane has had the longest production run?

An earlier question received interesting answers on what airplanes have been in service the longest; this question asks about airplanes in production the longest. By this, I mean from earliest ...
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1answer
750 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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1answer
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Were civilian aircraft allowed to overfly the Soviet Union?

The great-circle route from Western Europe to, say, Japan involves putting in a lot of miles above Russia, for example like this (London Heathrow–Tokyo Narita; map from gcmap.com). Would routes ...
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1answer
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What operational differences were there in WWII for constant speed vs. fixed pitch propeller warbirds?

I have read about the operational differences between constant speed and fixed pitch propellers. Being a World War II buff, I was reminded of reading once about both principles being used in period ...
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2answers
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Where did the terms QNE, QNH, and QFE come from?

In the aviation community (at least outside North America), the terms QNE, QNH, and QFE are used to describe standard pressure, local altimeter, and field elevation, respectively. But what is the ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Has there ever been a diesel-electric helicopter?

Occasionally I come across the diesel-electric (DE) design for submarines and freight trains. They say something like "a diesel engine powering an electric drive lets the two operate at their most ...
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4answers
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What is the oldest aircraft still in production?

What is the oldest aircraft still in production? I Googled it but only got the answer to the oldest military aircraft still in production.
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4answers
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What was the first plane that allowed walking during flight?

What was the first plane that allowed crew members and/or passengers to stand and walk during flight? P.S. I mean walking inside the cabin, as part of normal operation intended for by the plane ...
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3answers
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What is the history of glass cockpits?

All glass cockpits seem to have the same basic setup for the primary instruments. Altitude tape on the right, air speed tape on the left, turn coordinator on top and an artificial horizon in the ...
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3answers
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Which came to be first - bigger airplanes, or longer runways?

I'm generally speaking about airports with runways long enough for airliners, be historic or still in use. In order not to turn this question to a chicken-egg discussion, here are my points: Would ...
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2answers
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Why are there 4 hands on the throttles of this B17 during takeoff?

I watched a video of a a B17 taking off, and as you can see on the attached image, there are 4 hands on the throttles: the PF's right hand, both PNF's hands, and even the F/E has his hand under the ...
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1answer
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Was the Hughes H-4 Hercules capable of flying out of ground effect?

According to the wikipedia article the Hughes H-4 Hercules (Spruce Goose) reached a maximum altitude of 70 feet on its flight. At this altitude the aircraft was still in ground effect. Would the H-4 ...
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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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
223 views

What year did the seat belt sign come in to use?

What year did commercial airlines start using a lighted seat belt sign?
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4answers
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Why was the engine of the Ju-87 Stuka not replaced with a more powerful one?

Related to this question Why did the Ju-87 Stuka have a siren? I would like to know the reasons why they have not changed the engine of the Stuka when they realised it was easy prey for Hurricanes ...
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1answer
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What is this abandoned plane?

Does anyone knows what type of plane is this and its model? (Source: YouTube channel AssombradO.com.br)
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3answers
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Has the “Foote takeoff” technique really existed, and how did it work?

Reading The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters by Christine Negron, I came across the following description, in relation to some early de Havilland Comet ...
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3answers
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Is it possible for a plane to accelerate easily from 30 to 45 mph in flight while it struggles to reach 30 mph (the engine runs at constant power)?

In two letters sent to Dr. G. A. Spratt (an aviation enthusiast), Wilbur Wright reported the progress he and his brother had made, up to September 10, 1904, regarding Flyer II, a plane powered by a 16-...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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How did the Wright plane takeoff/land?

I don't understand exactly how the Wright brothers handled takeoff with the first gliders and powered plane. I know it has something to do with an elevated rail track. Also, if the flying position was ...
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1answer
963 views

Can anyone identify the plane in this old photo?

It belonged to my uncle. May have been 1930s vintage.
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2answers
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Did the Stuka Ju-87 really have a radio altimeter? If so, when?

This is what Wikipedia says near the end of its radio altimeter article: The radio altimeter first showed up in the German Junkers Ju-87 "Stuka" dive bomber which was equipped with one for ...
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2answers
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Why were there pneumatic headphones on airliners in the 70's and 80's?

I remember listening to the on-board program with headphones that consisted of hollow hoses as a kid. You plugged them into small holes in the arm-rests. The program was the same for everybody. Why ...
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1answer
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How are aircraft controlled that have no forward view out of the cockpit?

Modern aircraft tend to have quite reasonable cockpit visibility. But throughout history there were some that had literally no visibility directly forward. The best known example is probably Ryan ...
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1answer
788 views

What aircraft had the first pilot-assisted controls?

This question about regulations regarding hydraulic flight controls got me thinking about the history of hydraulic or pilot-assisted controls. As aircraft get larger the control surfaces must grow ...
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1answer
962 views

Who was the first black person (in the world) to go airborne in an aircraft?

Who was the first black person in the world to go airborne in an aircraft? Surprisingly, google fails me in this so I don't think it falls under the closeable category of trivial trivia. (I do not ...
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1answer
805 views

What is the longest time after which plane crash survivors were rescued?

I found: Aviator Bob Gauchie retains the record for solo arctic survival by a downed airman, enduring 58 days of arctic weather before his rescue in Canada 1967. After 72 days on the glacier, 16 of ...
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1answer
404 views

What is the history of the aircraft logbook?

I need to know when the mandate to maintain a logbook started. Was it a US requirement, or was it from another regulator in the world? Did the aircraft logbook start at the same time as the pilot ...
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5answers
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Why didn't Boeing or Douglas make a jet airliner before the British DH Comet?

I was looking at the history of commercial aircraft and was wondering why UK-based De Havilland was the first to produce a jet powered airliner (the DH 106 Comet) when the US had a much bigger civil ...
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2answers
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Which airplane types never crashed? [closed]

Is there an airplane that never crashed? Or more specifically, without any crash history on any database. By crash, let's say any accident / incident which resulted in damage to the airplane and/or ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Did Kai Tak have a straight-in approach to runway 13 for higher-performance aircraft?

Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport (closed in 1998 and replaced by the current airport at Chek Lap Kok) had a hideously difficult approach in which pilots would fly in from the west, following ...

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