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Trivia Testers

During the month of March, in which of these states are you most likely to see a tornado?Subject: You Mean We're Not In Kansas Anymore?

Question: During the month of March, in which of these states are you most likely to see a tornado?

  1. Oregon
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio
  4. Kansas
Answer: B, Alabama. Actually, different parts of the US have their own peak seasons for tornadoes. In the first three months of the year in fact, tornadoes are most common in the Southeast. This is where there are more confrontations between cold and warm air masses, and that is what helps to create the thunderstorms that produce tornadoes!

Subject: Dippy Compasses

Question: The earth's magnetic field runs parallel to the earth's surface at the equator, but in northerly latitudes it dips downward 'into' the earth. This is what is responsible for the familiar turning errors, introduced in ground school. To a very rough first approximation, what are the magnetic dip angles at 30 degrees and 60 degrees North? (The field is not radially symmetrical about the poles, and so there is also a longitudinal influence.)

  1. one and a half degrees down at 30N, four degrees down at 60N
  2. three degrees down at 30N, eight degrees down at 60N
  3. 12 degrees down at 30N, 18 degrees down at 60N
  4. 50 degrees down at 30N, 75 degrees down at 60N
Answer: D, believe it or not. (The approximate formula is tan(d) = 2 tan L, where d = dip angle and L = latitude.)

Subject: Tail Numbers and Call Signs

Question: True or false: It is possible for an amateur radio operator to reserve his or her ham radio call sign for the tail number of their aircraft.

Answer: True. Yes, it is theoretically possible, but it would be unlikely. Most amateur radio call signs begin with a letter, many (but by no means all) of which start with the letter 'N'. They can also start with K or W, or two letters. Most classes of amateur radio licenses end in three letters. (One exception is the amateur extra class, which usually has a two letter suffix. The problem is that Title 14 CFR Part 47.15, sub-part b, states that registration numbers can be made up of from one to five symbols, only the last two of which may be alphabetical. (If either of your initials is an I or an O you're out of luck; to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0, they're not allowed.) There's a special FAA form for reserving N numbers, and it's about $10 per year, until you have an airplane to put it on.

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