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Trivia Testers

The absolutely and undeniably first woman pilot in the whole world was...

Sixteen Candles
The instrument rating is how old?

  1. almost as old as powered flight: the first instrument rating was issued in 1918.
  2. not quite, but there are precious few pilots flying today who had an instrument ticket when they first came out...two-thirds of a century ago.
  3. half a century: the first instrument rating was issued in 1953
  4. forty-two

Answer: Instrument ratings for U.S. civilian pilots were first required in 1936 (August 15, 1936, to be exact). Until then, one could fly merrily along, in the clouds, beholden to no one. It wasn't exactly habit-forming of course, and the Bureau of Air Commerce thereafter required all non-airline pilots to get instrument ratings whenever the visibility was less than a mile. (Pilots could only fly federally licensed aircraft having two-way radios and approved instruments; the airlines and military flew under somewhat different rules.) It's choice B.

The Real First Female Pilot
The absolutely and undeniably first woman pilot in the whole world was

  1. Jackie Cochran, 1938
  2. Harriet Quimby, 1911
  3. The Baroness Raymonde de la Roche, 1910
  4. Aida d'Acosta, 1903
  5. Jeanne Labrosse, 1798

Answer: Jackie Cochran (choice A) was born in 1906, and won the famous Bendix race from Los Angles to Cleveland in 1938. (She was also the first woman to break the "sound barrier" in 1953.) She was however definitely not the world's first female pilot. Harriet Quimby (choice B), the subject of an earlier Trivia Tester, was the first female pilot all right, but only in the United States. She received her license on August 1, 1911. The Baroness Raymonde de la Roche (choice C) received the world's first pilot's license ever awarded to a woman on March 8, 1910. She too has been mentioned in an earlier question. But before there ever were pilot licenses, supervised solos, or anything else in the way of certificates and other official credentials, there were airships and balloons. (Who says someone has to have wings in order to be called a pilot?) On July 29, 1903 in fact, in Paris, over four months before the Wright Brothers, Cuban-born New Yorker Aida d'Acosta (choice D) soloed in a dirigible owned by Alberto Santos-Dumont. But crank up the Way Back for this next one: On June 4, 1798, one Jeanne Labrosse (choice E) made the first woman's solo balloon flight, in France. For the record, Mme. Elisabeth Thible, a French opera singer, made the first-ever balloon flight by womankind (as a passenger), in 1784 and thus, in a manner of speaking, she became what could conceivably be looked upon as the world's first female pilot. (But that's a bit of a stretch, now isn't it?) The best answer is choice E.

Eat At Joe's
Which of the following classes of aircraft are allowed to tow banners?

  1. any of them
  2. airplanes only
  3. airplanes and helicopters only
  4. any powered aircraft

Answer: Theoretically any aircraft that moves at a relative speed through the air which is great enough to allow a "readable" ribbon of useful size to remain extended behind it could do the job. But the only ones commonly used to convey aerial written messages (other than the moving marquees sometimes seen on the sides of a blimp) are airplanes and, believe it or not, helicopters. Section III of the FAA publication FS-I-8700-1, "Information For Banner Tow Operations" does mention the obvious considerations involving a helicopter's tail rotor, and 14 CFR Part 133 covers some these issues as well. The answer is C.

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