The computer generation has come to depend on digital explanations for everything courtesy of Wikipedia (and, no, we don’t know where the name came from). That being the case, we thought we’d come up with our own, more common sense, aviation-based encyclopedia, hence “Wingipedia.” If you think something’s missing, add your two cents through the link at the end of this article.
|Photo by Jessica Ambats|
Acrobatics/aerobatics is the art of controlling an airplane in all dimensions and conforming to preplanned geometric figures. Competition aerobatics are performed, and judged, in an aerial box, 3,300 feet by 3,300 feet, ranging in height from 2,000 to 3,000 feet depending on the category (Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, etc.).
In Airport, Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin dealt (in a hyperserious manner) with a bomb onboard and a closed airport. A decade later, Airplane, with Leslie Nielsen and Robert Hayes, did the ultimate send-up of the trapped-in-the-air movie and gave us dozens of memorable quotes, e.g., “Don’t call me Shirley.”
The terminal part of any flight in which a prescribed track is flown to position the aircraft for landing. VFR patterns are generally rectangular and supposed to be economical in their use of space but seldom are.
The first man to step on the moon has done his share of dramatic airplane exits, including bailing out of a combat-damaged F9F Panther in Korea and getting a T-33 stuck in a not-so-dry lake bed along with another icon, Chuck Yeager. Each blames the other.
|Photo by Jessica Ambats|
B-17 Flying Fortress
The B-24 Liberator outnumbered the B-17 (18,482 to 12,731) during WWII, but it’s the B-17 that most symbolizes the wartime bomber effort. Made famous in movies such as Twelve O’Clock High, the airplane used turbocharged 1,200 hp Wright R-1820 engines.
Bach, a fighter-pilot-turned-author-extraordinaire, has penned some memorable prose, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which is named after legendary 1930s race pilot Johnny Livingston. Bach’s Stranger to the Ground should be required reading for any pilot.
The biennial flight review was created to ensure that all pilots take at least a little refresher training every other year. This is to include an hour of ground review and an hour of flight review. There’s no pass or fail, but the CFI giving the training has the option of recommending more training.
Bush (plane, pilot, flying)
A 2,000-foot grass runway is close to bush conditions for some, but serious bush flying uses semi-flat spots in the 500- to 1,000-foot category or shorter. The king of the bush airplanes is the Piper PA18 Super Cub, especially those outfitted with mods by F. Atlee Dodge.
|Photo by Lynn Lunsford|
Although Clyde Vernon Cessna had been building airplanes of his own since 1910, he got serious about it when he teamed up with Walter Beech (later of Beechcraft) and Lloyd Stearman (yes, later of Stearman aircraft) to form Travel Air Aircraft in 1925. Two years later, he left to form Cessna Aircraft.
Certified flight instructor: the hardest-working, lowest-paid person in aviation. They’re there to get you started at the beginning and, through BFRs, keep you on track for the rest of your flying career.
Because of landing problems, old “hose nose” didn’t qualify for carrier duty until well into WWII. That didn’t stop USMC pilots, like Greg Boyington’s famous Black Sheep (VMF-214), from taking it ashore and doing what fighter pilots are supposed to do.
The original Piper Cub was neither designed nor built by Piper. It was the brainchild of C.G. Taylor who, after being bailed out by financier/oilman Bill Piper, developed the E-2 Taylor Cub. Then it was redesigned by chief engineer Walter Jamouneau in 1935 and dubbed the J-2 Cub. It became the legendary J-3 when the Continental A65 engine came on board.
Davis Aircraft Corporation
Walter C. Davis was one of many aviation entrepreneurs who had really bad timing. He formed Davis Airplane to build a parasol-wing airplane, the D-1, now a valued antique. The year was 1929. He went bankrupt in 1930.
Davis, Benjamin O.
Among the first students to get his wings at Tuskegee Army Airfield in 1942, Davis became the commanding officer of the 332nd Fighter Group during WWII and flew 60 combat missions. He eventually became the first African-American General in the U.S. Air Force.
Although known as “the Boneyard,” Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., is actually a storage and reclamation center that strives to recycle as much of each airplane as it can. Sometimes they recycle the complete airplane for a foreign government; other times they salvage components.
The “bent-wing” appearance of the dihedral gives aircraft more stability in roll. Because of the angle, as a wing goes down, it gains “projected area” while the other wing loses it. The increased projected area has increased lift, which causes the low wing to come back up.
This is a computer that calculates arrival and en route times, wind-correction angles, true airspeed and everything else pertinent to navigation. It’s purely digital (you use your fingers) and has no batteries to fail.
Experimental Aircraft Organization: an upstart organization built around the outlandish notion that flying should be fun and that it’s possible for mere mortals to build (and/or restore) both new and ancient flying machines. It’s not likely to succeed as only a few (hundred thousand) have joined. ☺
This 1930s aviatrix will always head the “Unsolved Mysteries” list because of her 1937 disappearance in the Pacific. Best guesses are that she was within 100 miles of Howland Island, when she ran out of fuel searching for it.
The French were leaders in aircraft development prior to 1910 through 1912, so many of our aircraft terms are in that language, including aileron, longeron and “empennage,” which originally meant the feathers on an arrow, hence “tail feathers.”
As would be expected from Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is the standard by which all other sims are measured. It lets the pilot sit in an office chair and run procedures that transfer knowledge from pixels to neurons while keeping fuel burn to a minimum.
This referred to German fighter squadrons during WWI because of the colorful paint schemes applied to their aircraft. The most famous was Jagdstaffel 1, originally led by the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, himself.
As used on Cessnas, these flaps move back at the same time they move down, thereby increasing the wing area and, equally important, creating a gap between the flap and the wing. Air accelerates through the slot keeping the boundary layer attached so the flap is still generating lift at a greater deflection.
Fuel is the commodity that always seems to be running short when ceilings are coming down, nightfall is upon us and we’re not sure where our destination airport is.
Gann is the writer we all wish we could be but can’t even approach. He was a true aviator, in every sense of the word, who also had a terrific command of the language. If you haven’t read The High and the Mighty or Fate Is the Hunter, turn in your pilot’s license.
G-force is a function of the speed of the aircraft and the effort put into the control stick. If slow, no matter how hard the pilot pulls, he won’t get much G before it stalls. If he’s fast, it takes little effort to put lots of G on it. The graphical representation of those limits is known as the V-n Diagram.
Every medium-sized company’s CEO feels that once the company logo is on the tail of a Gulfstream, he or she will know the company has made it. Although there are now bigger, faster bizjets, the Gulfstream still wears the crown.
In a gullwing design, the wing is canted sharply up, or down (inverted gull), as it leaves the fuselage, then abruptly resumes a more normal dihedral angle. A Corsair is an example of an inverted gullwing, and a Stinson SR-9 (and, of course, the Pulawski-designed PZL P.1) is an example of a normal gullwing.
Properly known as a “rotary wing” aircraft, helicopters depend on changing the pitch of the blades (their wings) for lift and the tilt of the rotor for directional control.
The Helio put the S into STOL (short takeoff and landing). This mission-specific airplane was aimed at working nonexistent runways. It uses lots of wing area, huge flaps and slats for near-hovering approaches.
The Grumman F6F Hellcat was the top dog in the Pacific during WWII. Production began in the summer of 1942, and more than 12,000 were produced before war’s end. Loved by pilots because of its forgiving nature and tanklike structure, it accounted for more than 5,100 enemy shot down.
The opposite of low-wing and the subject of the “which is best controversy.” And the answer is that there’s no “best.” A high-aspect-ratio airplane, however, can be built lighter if it’s high-wing and strut-braced, but it will have more drag.
|Photo by Cindy Rousseau|
If you have the gauges and the training, IFR means “instrument flight rules”; if you don’t, it means “I follow roads.” Continued flight into IMC conditions is one of the leading causes of fatal aircraft accidents, so draw a hard line between the two and don’t cross it.
The angle of incidence is the angle at which the wing is attached to the fuselage and is the measurement between the airplane’s centerline and the wing airfoil’s chord line (not bottom of the wing). Most airplanes have one to three degrees of wing-up attachment angle.
The concepts of “incident” and “accident” loom large in every pilot’s life, and often something is reported that doesn’t need to be, which is sure to cause heartburn. Familiarize yourself with FAR Part 830.2 and save yourself some grief.
Absolutely nothing is free in aviation, and that applies to lift as well. To produce lift, an airfoil must have an angle of attack. This tilts the lift vector slightly back so part of the lift is holding the airplane back. It’s known as induced drag—drag induced by lift. Of course, the alphabet doesn’t stop with “I.” Another edition of Wingipedia is in the works.