Plane & Pilot
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wingipedia, Part II

In this edition, “Jenny” through “roll”

wingipediaLast month, we brought you the first installment (“acrobatics” through “induced drag”) of Wingipedia, our aviation-based encyclopedia. Here, we present the second installment. If you think that something’s missing, log on to to contribute your own additions.
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The lift-over-drag ratio of an airplane is a measurement of its ability to glide, power-off. Ten-to-one (10 feet forward for every foot lost) isn’t an uncommon general aviation glide ratio. Some sailplanes have a 40-to-one glide ratio.

Lindbergh, Charles
Lindbergh was to his generation, and those that followed, what Neil Armstrong was to later ones. The first to fly solo across the Atlantic, he ushered in a new era in which the airplane was viewed as having unlimited transportation possibilities. He tried to keep us out of WWII, but then became a strong supporter of the war effort and taught pilots long-range cruising techniques and other useful skills.

The localizer is an electronic beam that defines the centerline of the runway and can be followed accurately by onboard avionics during an instrument approach.

Supposedly an adaptation of the Czech word for “headache” or “hangover,” the Lomcevak is the appropriate name for the first in an entire family of tumbling maneuvers in which the airplane does the impossible and tumbles end over end. Don’t try this in the family Cherokee.

Don Luscombe was an aircraft designer and producer who, beginning in the early 1930s, was active for more than two decades. He developed a number of models, but today the word “Luscombe” refers to his Model 8, a spritely, two-place, high-wing machine with 65 to 90 hp that’s still one of the cheapest ways to get into aviation.

The Mach number (named after its creator Ernst Mach) is the ratio of an airplane’s speed compared to the speed of sound at that temperature and altitude. So Mach .92 is 92% of the speed of sound and Mach 1.1 is 110%. At sea level and 15 degrees C, Mach 1 is 761 mph.

Supposedly a contraction of météorologique (“weather”) and aviation régulière (“routine”)—the French first proposed the format in 1968—the acronym in pilot briefing language just means “aviation routine weather report.”

Another French-derived term, monocoque literally translates as “single shell.” A monocoque structure has few, if any, internal braces, and all of the load is carried by the skin. Most structures are semi-monocoque as they have stringers and bulkheads. A Cessna rear fuselage is semi-monocoque.

The North American P-51 Mustang is considered by many to be the best fighter of WWII, although that’s a controversial claim. Originally designed as a ground-attack machine, the addition of the British Merlin V-12 engine with its two-stage, intercooled, super charger gave it high-altitude performance and range few other fighters could match.


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