Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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11
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2answers
12k views

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
2k views

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
885 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 ...
11
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1answer
998 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
1k 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
417 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
3k views

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
6k views

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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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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2answers
11k views

What is the meaning of the letters on the side(s) of WWII British aircraft?

WWII British Spitfire and Hurricane had identification letters on the side of fuselage. Do they have a specific meaning? How are the letters chosen?
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1answer
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What did the “gear warning horn” on the North American P-51 sound like?

I'm working on a sound project for a P51 simulation and I'm having real trouble trying to find a reference on how the P51 gear warning horn sounded like. What mechanisms were used in the '40s to make ...
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2answers
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What was the first commercial aircraft to have a 'built-in' oxygen system?

(Source) Boeing 307 of TWA, the 307 was the first pressurized passenger aircraft. The 307 (c. 1938) flew as high as 23,300 ft, lower than the jets of nowadays, and did not have a built-in oxygen ...
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2answers
743 views

Why were turbojets the first kind of turbo-engines, instead of turboprops?

During WW2, the first jet engines appeared en mass in combat aircraft. Britain and Germany made the first ones. But why were turbojets first? Why not turboprops, which are easier since the turbo-...
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5answers
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When was the first rudder on an aircraft used?

I have seen pictures of World War I-era airplanes that have rudders much smaller than today. When did the first rudder come out?
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3answers
2k views

What data did the earliest HUDs display (for fighter jets)?

Ideally I'm looking for a screenshot with a bullet list of data. I started my search at the obvious encyclopedic site and was surprised to learn that the earliest HUDs (on fighter jets) go all the way ...
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1answer
324 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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1answer
389 views

What is this extension at the tip of the Supermarine Southampton's wing?

Looking at this Wikipedia image of the Supermarine Southampton flying boat, I noticed what at first looked like a small wheel. But then I thought it couldn't be, as a wheel would be pointless in a ...
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2answers
608 views

How far could the Wright brother's catapult have thrown their unpowered plane?

I know that the Wright brothers started to use a catapult in September 1904 to help their Flyer II take off easily even when no headwind was available. Assuming the propellers did not turn, or they ...
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1answer
3k views

How was the high-bypass concept invented?

(Source) Wikipedia says: After [the Ryan XV-5 Vertifan demonstrated] that large amounts of air could be moved through a lift fan, an 80 in (2.0 m) tip drive fan turned through 90 degrees, driven ...
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2answers
3k views

When were flares first used as IR countermeasures, and by whom?

I've been trying to find the history of flares (as countermeasures to heat-seeking missiles), but have not had much luck. Closest thing has been this wiki article which has but a single sentence in ...
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1answer
2k views

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
3k views

How did Charles Lindbergh use dead reckoning over the Atlantic ocean?

Wikipedia and other sources assert that Charles Lindbergh used dead reckoning on his historic flight from Long Island to Paris but—likely being aimed at a broader audience—are short on specific ...
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1answer
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When was the pitot-based ASI first used on aircraft?

The pitot was first invented well before aircraft, yet early aircraft lacked an airspeed indicator (ASI). What aircraft first had a pitot-based ASI, and when?
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1answer
581 views

Are there any documented example usages of film (ie, film film, not video or digital) for in-flight entertainment?

Regarding this excellent question: What was the inflight entertainment in the early seventies? There's a mention that the "TRANSCOM 8mm film cassette" (that was film-film, ie the plastic stuff you ...
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1answer
2k views

Who invented the cabin chime? What aircraft was the first to use it?

While looking for one to set as my ringtone, I became interested in the history of the cabin chime - the "bing-bong" noise heard on practically every commercial airliner today. I've found tons of ...
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1answer
701 views

What is the history of Concorde motto “May Concorde bring people closer” and medal?

I found this image of a medal figuring Concorde and a globe with two contours of continents, before and after Concorde, expressing the new speed of air transport with a motto "May Concorde bring ...
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1answer
556 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
505 views

What was the Trim Problem on the Brabazon's First Flight?

In this video, starting at 18:15, the copilot on the Bristol Brabazon's first flight recounts that the aircraft became airborne a little sooner than its pilots expected, and that despite the captain ...
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7answers
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Why are there so few Lancasters still flying?

According to Wikipedia there are 54 airworthy spitfires in the world (30 in the UK alone), yet there are only 2 airworthy Lancasters (Lancaster B X in Canada & Lancaster B I in the RAF's Battle of ...
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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:
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3answers
1k views

Was any Russian design feature incorporated in modern US fighters jets or vice-versa?

US has bought or sourced many Russian fighter jets. Was any Russian design feature incorporated in modern US fighters jets or vice-versa?
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2answers
5k views

Why are airplanes called ‘she’?

What is the reason that airplanes in English have a female gender? Please illuminate the historical or scientific reason.
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4answers
2k views

What was the first jet-powered supersonic aircraft?

Just to clarify: I am explicitly not referring to the Bell X-1, or any other early experimental supersonic aircraft that were rocket-powered. I'm curious as to the first supersonic aircraft powered by ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
6k views

Why did the early versions of the Me-109 use a braced stabilizer?

The Messerschmitt Bf-109 had struts holding the stabilizer in place up and including the E version. I marked it with a red circle in the picture below of the 109 E-3 of the Flying Heritage Collection. ...
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4answers
960 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 ?
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2answers
2k views

How did ICAO SARPS come to include the 250 knots speed limit for aircraft below 10,000 feet?

In certain airspace classes, a speed limit of 250 knots IAS is imposed for aircraft flying below FL100/10.000FT, according to the airspace classes defined by ICAO. How did this limit find its way into ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a time limit for a line-up and wait?

So this was from a barrage of History Channel documentaries celebrating the century of flight, some 13 years ago. In one of the shows, I recall it being said that an airliner has a time limit for a ...
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2answers
703 views

Comparing the Lilienthal and Wright gliders, which one had a better glide ratio?

Where can I find reliable figures about the best glides of Lilienthal and the Wright Brothers (1902 - 1903)? From the sources below it would appear that Lilienthal's most advanced glider was far ...
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1answer
3k views

What is Mode B on the transponder?

Mode A selected on the transponder provides identification of the aircraft to the secondary radar; Mode C will add an automatic height read-out of an aircraft. Mode S is a selective addressing. But ...
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2answers
1k views

What impact did the Concorde have on business of other sub-sonic airliners?

The Concorde was anyways a technical marvel of its time, and a status symbol for society. Its fares were well above the rest, costing USD2999 + taxes for a JFK-LHR journey. But, at the same time there ...
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1answer
860 views

Why do Czech Airlines have the airline code (IATA airline designator) “OK”?

Is there any specific reason why Czech Airlines have OK as the IATA airline designator? According to an urban legend: Urban legend says that when airline names ...
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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-...
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1answer
5k views

How did the term PAN PAN originate?

Where did the phrase " pan pan" when declaring an emergency originate?
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1answer
676 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
598 views

Could the filming of the 747 in “Awakenings” have taken place during the 747 flight testing?

In the 1990 film "Awakenings", the main character Leonard awakens after suffering from a catatonic illness for 30 years. There's a scene where Leonard watches a 747 landing in New York at JFK. This ...
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2answers
2k views

When did the color orange enter flight test?

When did the color orange enter flight test? As early as the Bell X-1, pictured here, aircraft were painted orange to enhance visibility. Later, in 1959, a study was conducted that suggested the ...
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1answer
342 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
691 views

What clues would have indicated KAL 902 was off course?

Korean Airlines Flight 902 was shot down by a Soviet fighter in April 1978 after the pilot turned through 150 degrees and entered Russian airspace. The New York Times reported it happened around 8.30 ...

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