Questions tagged [aviation-history]

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

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9
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1answer
749 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 ...
9
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1answer
259 views

When was the concept of V1 introduced?

When was V1 speed first introduced? Was it the result of a particular accident or series of accidents?
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5answers
2k views

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 ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Can anyone identify this pusher plane from apparently the 1930s?

I have performed two searches - a photo search and also an FAA NC number search and failed at both to identify this pusher airplane. My family photo says it was taken by my mother at the Chicago ...
8
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3answers
3k views

Why do ATC instructions to change level include the words “climb” or “descend”?

ATC instructions to change level include the words "climb" or "descend" depending on the direction of the vertical maneuver. For example, "Descend to 2500 feet" or "Climb to FL70". For comparison, ...
8
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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 ...
8
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2answers
425 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 ...
8
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1answer
3k views

Which was the first pressurized aircraft?

Which aircraft was the first one to fly pressurized? High altitude breathing apparatus, 1918 (source) I mean an aircraft which didn't require to don an oxygen mask above a certain altitude, ...
8
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2answers
675 views

Can anyone help me with the Make, Model (version), and Unit of this WWII army trainer. Appears to be an AT-6 version

Location: Madison, WI Municipal Airport on May 21, 1939. Notice the straight bottom on the vertical stabilizer, crest emblem, pitot tubes, landing gear, exhaust location, antenna, etc. I have two ...
8
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1answer
512 views

What is this c. 1930 beautiful monoplane seen in Oakland?

Photo from Denny Wright's album. He piloted for Clyde Sunderland. This photo has no stamp or markings. Anyone recognize this aircraft?
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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?
8
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1answer
1k views

Has anyone attempted to board a flying aircraft mid-air?

A few movies (e.g. Air Force One, Executive Decision) feature a story where people board a flying aircraft from another flying aircraft. Has anyone ever attempted, either via docking two aircraft ...
8
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2answers
547 views

Were there any folding wing biplanes?

Given that several nations had operational carriers by 1920 and biplanes were still in military service, were there any folding wing biplanes? Wikipedia: United States first purpose built aircraft ...
8
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1answer
996 views

Why did it take so long for helicopters to be developed/in use?

The Sikorsky_H-5 was made in 1943 but used an engine released in the 1930's. It seems to me that the used that applied to helicopters, specifically in warfare, could have applied much earlier. Things ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Were early military planes not pressurized?

I just heard that 1930s-40s planes such as the B-17 were not pressurized. Is this true? If yes, then how did the military men survive at heights of 30k ft?
8
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1answer
2k views

Did Japan actually use any production aircraft with inverted gull wings during WW2?

The anime film The Wind Rises presents a fictionalized account of Jiro Horikoshi and the development of the Mitsubishi A5M. Throughout most of the anime, Jiro visualizes the plane with this shape: I ...
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2answers
741 views

Why did the Mercure fail?

The Dassault Mercure was a French regional jet that first flew in 1971 and received its type certificate in February 1974; it resembled an enlarged, shorter-range 737-200, and was designed to serve ...
8
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2answers
378 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 ...
8
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2answers
686 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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1answer
276 views

Was the foil in older FDRs reused when it ran out, or replaced?

Before magnetic tape became the standard recording medium for flight data recorders, most FDRs used a long strip of metal foil that had altitude, airspeed, etc. traces scratched into it by a set of ...
8
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1answer
541 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 ...
8
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2answers
135 views

On old sectional charts, what was the purpose of the domestic ADIZ regions and what was the difference between a “Defense Area” and an “Open Area”?

Looking at an old US sectional chart from 1956, I noticed a few oddities around where Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZs) were placed. Compared to modern airspace where the US ADIZ is strictly ...
8
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1answer
421 views

What daily commercial flight is the oldest / has been running the longest?

Out of curiosity, what flight, currently still operating, has the earliest inception? There are several ways to define this, and I expect available information will determine what definition is most ...
8
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1answer
912 views

Is there ATC audio from the Sled Driver Speed Check story?

I love this story, like a lot of people, but is it possible to find the actual ATC recording from that story? Excerpt: Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the ...
8
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1answer
453 views

When did the military/Air Force start measuring fuel in pounds instead of gallons?

Watching a training film for the B-47 from 1951, they mention (around 12:30) that the fuel is now measured in pounds instead of gallons on the instruments. Was that a new concept with jet aircraft? ...
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1answer
2k views

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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1answer
2k views

What made 800 feet and later 1,000 feet attractive as the standard traffic pattern altitude?

The value of a commonly understood traffic pattern altitude is obvious, but what is the history behind TPA of eight hundred feet in particular? Why not 700 or 900? Was the later move to 1,000 AGL ...
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1answer
2k views

Are there any aircraft that were grounded and later approved for flight?

Last year the Boeing 737 Max 8 was grounded after two fatal crashes. Historically, are there any other commercial aircraft which were grounded (due to safety issues), and later “fixed” by ...
7
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3answers
708 views

What happened to the Ju 52 (“Aunt Ju“)?

I remember when I was a child, my parents and me often saw the Aunt Ju flying. But about 5 years later it disappeared. We never saw it again. Does anybody know what has been the use of the Ju 52 ...
7
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5answers
2k views

Were WW2 American fighters designed to operate from dirt airstrips?

Fighter or fighter-bomber planes built in America during WW2, such as the P-36, P-39, P-47, P-51. Were these designed to takeoff and land on dirt airstrips? My impression, and correct me if I'm wrong,...
7
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1answer
3k views

Has an unauthorized civilian ever tried to land on an aircraft carrier?

Has there ever been an attempt by a civilian 'daredevil' to land a plane on a US aircraft carrier? I came across the Red Square Landing and coupled with this video it made me wonder if there was ...
7
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4answers
2k views

How did ww1 pilots handle G-forces?

The wikipedia page on G-forces, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-force, lists that WW1 aircraft encountered 4.5-7g during dogfights. This made me wonder, how did pilots in the early days of aviation ...
7
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1answer
505 views

What is this closed cabin / open cockpit biplane from the 1910s?

This photo was taken when Lieutenant Marix RNAS visited his old school, Radley College in Oxfordshire on 30 May 1914. Marix was awarded in October 1914 the DSO for bombing the Zeppelin sheds in ...
7
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2answers
724 views

Why do older planes not have a middle hand luggage compartment?

Why do older planes not have a middle hand luggage compartment? Where are the oxygen masks for the people in the middle rows? L-1011 Interior: 777 Interior:
7
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2answers
250 views

Do “Civil Aviation Regulations” and “Aeronautics Bulletins” still have any legal authority today?

This is a history of the FAA from their site. In the U.S., we had the original set of aviation laws known as aeronautical bulletins back in the 1920's and 1930's. Later (in 1938) we had the Civil ...
7
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2answers
469 views

Why was the A340 developed with four engines?

The predecessor to the A340 program begun in 1982, when Airbus released the first specification of the designated TA9 and TA11 programmes and in 1986 the TA9/TA11 programmes were officially launched ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Who was the oldest pilot ever so far?

Based on any historical records, who has been the oldest pilot ever? "Pilot", I mean, somebody who managed to take off, return to the airport and land without help. That much is probably not possible ...
7
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1answer
648 views

Can you identify this plane?

Can you identify this plane? Unknown airplane I have just found the photo on a CD together with many other planes and helicopters. I have no clue regarding the place where the picture was taken, the ...
7
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1answer
524 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 ...
7
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1answer
1k 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 ...
7
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1answer
1k views

How did aircraft flying in formation use flares to communicate with each other?

The image shown in the question Which aircraft had such a luxurious-looking navigator's station? (also below) shows a flare gun with several flares. A comment below the question says: On the ...
7
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1answer
578 views

What is this aircraft from ca. 1925 (crash included)?

I recently found the following family pictures from ca. 1925 and have been trying to identify the aircraft in them: A second picture of the same aircraft was taken shortly after the first one: Both ...
7
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1answer
480 views

What was the first aircraft fitted with both an FDR & CVR?

What was the first production aircraft to be fitted with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) as standard by the manufacturer?
7
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1answer
2k views

How much did Avgas cost in 1940?

I am interested in historic fuel prices; How much did Avgas cost in 1940?
7
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1answer
295 views

How did the service ceiling certification change in the 70s?

According to this video (at 4:30-4:45) the "later" Cessna T337 and P337 were limited to 20,000 feet whereas the older models "had no such limitation - a quirk in changes in the certification standards ...
7
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1answer
615 views

What are these wheel-chocks made of and what color do they most probably have?

I found a new hobby of mine: Colorizing black and white photos. My first project was a B-17 and now I'm working on a He 162 Volksjäger. The plane is on ground and fixed with wheel-chocks. Now the ...
7
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2answers
909 views

What instruments were “standard” in WWI aircraft?

What instruments made up a typical panel of a WWI airplane? Did any country regulate the required cockpit instruments prior to the United States "Air Commerce Act" of 1926?
7
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1answer
213 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 ...
7
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1answer
268 views

What uses for flight did early aviation pioneers envision?

Between 1903 and 1914, what did the aviation pioneers think flight would be used for, besides military purposes? Did they envision anything like crop dusting, commercial transportation, charting ...
7
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0answers
212 views

Who is this flyer seen in Oakland c. 1929?

Looking for identification of the man on the left. Second from left is W.A. "Sandy" Sanders, third is Denny Wright, and fourth is Clyde Sunderland. Oakland, around 1929.

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