Ask the pilot quiz answers

We have an ace! Actually, we have a whole squadron of aces.


Patrick Smith
November 6, 2002 7:30PM (UTC)

Congratulations to Joel Bashore of Patuxent River, Md., winner of a Salon Premium subscription for being the first to submit a perfect score on last week's aviation quiz. Others earning accolades are:

Anand Narayan, Boulder, Colo.
Steve Reilley, Houston, Texas
Samuel Pozel, Denver
Craig Jordan, Dallas, Texas
Jeremy Blachman, Princeton, N.J.
Layton Freeman, Coppell, Texas
Tom Howard, Colleytown, Conn.
Robert Stamers, Mississauga, Ontario
Michael Shaw, Singapore

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Those above answered all 25 questions correctly. And special thanks to all the non-Googlers who gave it their best without benefit of an Internet search. But please, everyone, watch your spelling of "Colombia."

1. Which airline was first to fly the Boeing 747 in 1970?

Pan Am inaugurated the Boeing 747 between New York and London on Jan. 22, 1970. (The aircraft used for this flight, the Clipper Victor, was the same one destroyed at Tenerife in 1977.)

2. You are flying from Schiphol to Narita to Kansai to Kimpo. Where are you going, exactly?

These are the airports for Amsterdam, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul. With the opening of the new Incheon International, however, Kimpo is now the domestic airport for Seoul, so arriving there from Osaka would not be easy. A weather diversion, let's say.

3. What was the world's first commercial jetliner?

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The British-built de Havilland Comet, which debuted between London and Johannesburg in 1952, was the first jet airliner. The Soviets came next with the Tupolev TU-104, and the Americans later followed with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.

4. Two well-respected national airlines, each in existence more than seven decades, declared bankruptcy and ceased operations in the past year. What were they?

Swissair and Sabena (the latter was the national carrier of Belgium) recently ceased operations after more than 70 years of service. (Yes, Ansett Australia and Air Afrique also shut down, but they do not meet the other criteria.)

5. What widebody jet did the FAA ground in 1979 following a terrible crash?

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All McDonnell Douglas DC-10s were grounded after a crash at Chicago O'Hare, one of two infamous 1970s accidents that helped checker the DC-10's reputation.

6. Which of the following is not one of the world's four largest airlines?

Most of you picked Delta and most of you picked wrong. American, United, and Delta are the world's three largest carriers, in that order. British Airways ranks ninth both in passengers and fleet size.

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7. Before it became John F. Kennedy International, what was this airport's name?

Idlewild Airport (also called New York International) is the old name for JFK.

8. Which of the following is the oldest airline?

A. American
B. Mexicana
C. United
D. Lufthansa

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Mexicana began flying in 1921, at least a decade before United, American or Lufthansa.

9. Republic, Piedmont, New York Air. Name the three present-day carriers that absorbed each of these smaller ones.

Northwest, US Airways (itself called Allegheny Airlines until 1979), and Continental (one of Frank Lorenzo's toys) respectively.

10- 20. Match the international airlines with their respective countries:

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Avianca / Colombia (Not "Columbia.")
LOT / Poland
Air China / China (Beijing)
Varig / Brazil
Malev / Hungary
Garuda / Indonesia
Asiana / Korea
Iberia / Spain
CSA / Czech Republic
Cathay Pacific / China (Hong Kong)
China Airlines / China (Taiwan)

21. What famous American artist was commissioned in the mid-1970s by Braniff International to paint murals on the sides of selected aircraft?

An airplane by Jackson Pollock? It would have looked like one of the old Ecuatoriana jets. The answer is Alexander Calder, who painted the liveries of selected aircraft for Braniff, including an American flag motif for the Bicentennial.

22. What architect is responsible for the TWA terminal at JFK (recently closed, but with a place on the National Register of Historic Places) and also built a famous landmark in the American Midwest?

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Finnish architect Eero Saarinen designed the terminal, and also the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

23. Your itinerary says you're traveling from DXB to GRU. Where are you going?

You're going from Dubai to Sao Paolo. (No, I don't believe any airline actually makes this run nonstop.)

24. In 2001 this airline had 81 Boeing 747s on its roster, more than anybody in the world. Can you name it?

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Japan Airlines (JAL) operates the world's largest fleet of 747s, with 81 as of last year.

25. What well-known U.S. actor/celebrity is certified to fly both the Boeing 707 and 747?

John Travolta flies -- and owns -- his own 707, and is also first-officer qualified on the 747.


Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is an airline pilot.

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