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Trivia Testers

When did the Smithsonian Institution first begin collecting flight-related articles? How many active air traffic controllers in the US are also active pilots? When you see the angle of a glide slope on an instrument approach plate, it is almost always incorrect, because...

How Old Is the Attic?
When did the Smithsonian Institution first begin collecting flight-related articles?

  1. No aviation artifacts were owned by the United States National Museum (its name, before 1911) until the year 1910.
  2. Not until 1948, with the acquisition (somewhat belatedly) of the Wright Flyer.
  3. It actually began with the 1931 deposit of the Langley Aeronautical Collection.
  4. A small selection of kites were donated by the Chinese Imperial Commission in 1876.

Both Sides Of the Mike
How many active air traffic controllers in the US are also active pilots?

  1. only about one in twenty
  2. about one in ten
  3. about one in four
  4. just over half

The Right Angle
When you see the angle of a glide slope on an instrument approach plate, it is almost always incorrect,

  1. because the TERPS criteria were expressed in percent, and not degrees, and the carryover was never followed by the FAA.
  2. because the glide slope is not actually measured to the point at which an aircraft actually touches down.
  3. because of the curvature of the earth.
  4. because the glide slope must be accurate only to a quarter of a degree, even though the implied precision is down to a tenth of a degree.

The Answers...

How Old Is the Attic?
Answer: In 1826, the will of the English scientist James Smithson left over half a million dollars to the United States for the purpose of establishing an institution "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." An Act of Congress established it in 1846, with a Board of Regents, and plans for building a museum with geological and mineralogical cabinets, a chemical laboratory, a gallery of art, lecture rooms, and a library. The answer is choice (D): 1876. Now, over a century and a quarter later, the National Air and Space Museum has about 325 aircraft, 30,000 items related to aviation, about 9,000 space-related artifacts, over 4,000 pieces of aviation art, 1,750,000 aviation and space related images, over 40,000 reference volumes, and among other things, a Space Shuttle.

Both Sides Of the Mike
Answer: According to information from the Civil Aviation Registry's Airmen Certification Branch in Oklahoma City, on a particular day in early December of 2003, there were exactly 627781 active US pilot certificates. And at that same point in time, there were exactly 47,332 controller certificates in the United States. However, most of them are not active and the number is believed to be more like 17,000. (So pilots outnumber controllers by, at a minimum, well over an order of magnitude.) But the statistic under discussion here is that (according to the same source) there were at that same point in time approximately 4,060 controllers with active pilot certificates. Although probably not all of those controllers were also actively working as controllers, most of them probably were, so that would put the proportion of working controllers who know both sides of the microphone at about one quarter (choice C).

The Right Angle
Answer: At a point where a glide slope is intercepted six nautical miles from the runway, the effective intercept angle is actually one tenth of a degree higher than the angle above a "flat earth". It's C.

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