How Much Do You Know About Aviation?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: skeeze

About This Quiz

We see them everyday flying through the air in the blue skies above us. And perhaps we take aircraft for granted, don't we? They have become such a daily occurrence in our lives, taking millions of people to destinations around the world that it is difficult to understand a time without them.

It may sound unbelievable, but the first human-crewed flight only happened just a touch over 100 years ago. It is incredible to think how quickly everything progressed from that day in December 1903 when the Wright Brothers flew for the first time. Just think about it. A mere 66 years later, and humankind had put a man on the moon! That's simply staggering.

It truly is a case of those magnificent people in their flying machines!

But just how much do you know about the world of aviation? Do you know the history behind human-crewed flight or the record settings in the pioneering days of aviation? Do you know the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic or the biggest aircraft ever made? What about the first person to break the speed of sound, or the name of the first jet ever invented?

Well, you can expect questions just like those in our aviation quiz. Do you think you could ace it? Let's find out!

From the options below, can you pick the oldest airline in the world?

Believe it or not, Dutch airline Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij or as we know it, KLM, is the oldest in the world. Formed in 1919, the airline now flies to over 130 destinations worldwide.


What was the original name of the John F. Kennedy airport in New York?

Opened in 1948, the airport serving New York was originally known as New York International Airport but was more commonly known as Idlewild Airport. Following the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963, the airport was renamed.


The Boeing 747 is one of the most famous passenger planes in the world. How much wiring does it have in it?

The Boeing 747 is a massive aircraft. In fact, the newest models are over 250 feet in length and have a wingspan of 224 feet. So you can just imagine that amount of wiring needed to keep all systems operational.


True or false? Food doesn't taste the same at altitude.

Tests have shown that food at altitude is not as tasty as when eating at sea-level. This is because around a third of your taste buds are numbed while flying at significant altitudes. Maybe that's why no one really likes airline food.


Who is credited with the first aircraft flight in 1903?

The Wright Brothers flew their aircraft, the Flyer, on December 17, 1903. The aircraft covered only a distance of a 120 feet on that maiden voyage.


Which of these does NOT affect an aircraft in flight?

There are many forces at work on an aircraft in flight. The most important are lift (provided by the wings), thrust (provided by the engine), drag (caused by the wind and the overall design of the aircraft) and weight of the plane. Color certainly plays no part.


True or false? The pilot and co-pilot on a long-haul commercial flight may not eat the same food.

Why? Well, it is simple really. On a long-haul flight, if both pilots were to get sick with food poisoning, then who will fly or land the plane? For this reason, the co-pilot and pilot eat different meals.


Of the options below, which is the world's smallest jet?

With a wingspan of just 21 feet, the BD-5 Micro is extremely small. It weighs just over 300 pounds and is capable of speeds of around 300 mph. The opening sequence of the James Bond movie, "Octopussy," features a BD-5 Micro.


In aviation, what is Harriet Quimby's claim to fame?

Harriet Quimby was the first female to be handed a pilot license in the United States. She qualified for one 1911 through the Aero Club of America. She also became the first woman pilot to cross the English channel. She died in 1912 when she and a passenger were thrown from the plane they were flying in.


Which of these female pilots was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean?

Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic. She managed the feat in 1928, just a year after Charles Lindbergh. Flying a Fokker Trimotor, Earhart and two passengers completed the feat in 20 hours.


From the list below, can you tell us which is the world's largest passenger aircraft?

Introduced in 2005, the Airbus A380 first flew in 2005 and entered service just two years later. It offers 40% more space than its next biggest competitor, the Boeing 747. In an all-economy class configuration, it can carry over 800 passengers.


True or false? The universal term for an help in an emergency, "MAYDAY" is derived from French?

Although it's not something a pilot wants to say while flying, "MAYDAY" is a universal term which indicates an aircraft in distress. It comes from the French word "m’aidez," which means "help me."


In what year was an online check-in first used?

The online check-in is used by travelers around the world and certainly has made the pre-flight ritual a lot easier. Interestingly, it was first used in 1999, and the airline to first do so was none other than Alaskan airlines.


Can you name the experimental aircraft that flew around the world in 1986 without refueling?

Designed by Burt Rutan, Voyager was an incredible piece of machinery. Just imagine what it took to come up with an aircraft that could circle the globe without refuelling. Pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed their epic journey in just over nine days, setting many records in the process.


Who was the first man to cross the English channel, a feat he managed in 1909?

In 1909, Louis Bleriot piloted his Blériot XI monoplane, an aircraft he had designed, across the English Channel. He achieved the feat despite bad visibility, landing in Dover, England after a flight of 36 minutes.


What is the name of the Australian national airline, the third oldest in the world?

Qantas, which stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services was formed in 1920, first flying locally. International flight became standard from 1935 onwards. Qantas is sometimes referred to as the "Flying Kangaroo."


Can you name the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight?

Although aircraft had broken the sound barrier in a dive before, it was Chuck Yeager who managed the feat in level flight. Yeager did so on October 14, 1947, flying a Bell X-1.


A fear of flying is known as _________?

Aviophobia, or the fear of flying, is a very real problem for some people. Believe it or not, but one in five people suffer from a real fear of being up in the air inside an aircraft.


The most dangerous time during an airline flight is the three minutes after take-off and eight minutes before landing. What is the percentage of accidents that happen during these periods?

If you think about it, these would be the most dangerous time on an aircraft. Take-off takes place under full power, placing the plane under stress while landing includes the aircraft flying at slower speeds, increasing the chance of a stall if something goes wrong, for example.


Can you name the first commercial jet airliner?

Introduced in 1952, the de Havilland Comet was the first commercial jet airliner. Within the first year, three aircraft were lost due to accidents and investigations found a structural weakness in the airframe as the cause.


How many people travel by aircraft in the United States each day?

That's right. Around 2 million people each day travel by aircraft around the United States. And how many flights per day achieve this incredible figure? 30,000!


Which of these is the busiest airport in the world?

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest in the world. It handles over 100 million passengers annually and beats out Beijing and Dubai into second and third place.


In the world of aviation, what was Otto Lilienthal's claim to fame?

Known as the "flying man," Otto Lilienthal made the first successful gliders ever flown. Lilienthal's gliders were able to keep a person aloft for long periods. He made over 2,000 flights but sadly broke his neck in a crash and died in 1896.


An absolute aviation classic, the Douglas DC-3 Dakota served as an airliner, transport, paratroop plane and in many other roles. What was its nickname?

The Douglas DC-3 Dakota entered service in 1936 as a commercial airliner. It was soon thrust into a military role during World War II and made a significant contribution as both a transport and paratroop drop plane, particularly on D-Day. Many examples of the DC-3 are still flying around the world.


Can you name the massive German airship that was destroyed in a fire in 1937?

On May 6, 1937, the German airship the Hindenburg burst into flames while moored at NAS Lakehurst, Manchester Township in New Jersey. Thirty-six people perished in the fire.


From the options below, can you name the biggest cargo plane in the world?

Built to transport the Soviet equivalent of the Space Shuttle, the Antonov AN-225. The "Mriya," as it is known, is 275 ft 7 inches in length and has a wingspan of 290 feet. It has a maximum take-off weight of 1,410,958 pounds.


Which is the fastest aircraft ever made?

Although there have been faster experimental aircraft, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the fastest aircraft ever put into production. It can travel at speeds of up to 2,193 mph.


Who was the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean?

Flying a modified Ryan M-2, Charles Lindbergh set off from New York on May 20, 1927. With just 450 gallons of fuel on board, Lindbergh had to reach Paris. He did so 33-and-a-half hours later to become the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


Although no longer in service, can you name the world's only supersonic jet airliner?

Concorde flew for the first time in 1969 and by 1976 was in service with Air France and British Airways. Capable of speeds of over Mach 2.0, Concorde could take passengers from London to New York in 3.5 hours.


True or false? Sitting at the rear of an aircraft increases your chances of survival in an accident by 40%.

Your best chance of survival should an aircraft crash is to be near an exit. Sitting near the tail puts you near a door. Also, a plane is likely to hit the ground front first, hence sitting near the back increases survival chances just a little.


Can you name the American fighter plane from World War II often called the "Cadillac of the Skies"?

The North American P51 Mustang is one of the most revered fighter planes ever built. With its ability to fly far into Germany, it provided escort for American bombers striking at Nazi installations from English bases.


Of the options below, who made the first helicopter flight?

French engineer Paul Cornu is considered to be the first man to successfully fly a helicopter type machine. He managed to get a design he created off the ground in 1907.


Can you tell us which of these aircraft is nicknamed the "Jumbo Jet"?

The Boeing 747 first entered service in 1970 and at the time was the largest commercial airliner in the world. Still a mainstay of airlines around the world, over 1,500 of these aircraft have been built.


What was the name of the aircraft that dropped the first ever atomic bomb?

Enola Gay was a Boeing B29 Superfortress tasked with dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. She was flown by Colonel Paul Tibbets who named the aircraft after his mother.


From the options below, can you identify the first ever jet to fly?

The Heinkel He 178 was a German monoplane jet that first flew on August 27, 1939 using a turbojet engine. At the time, German military leaders were unimpressed with this new design.


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