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Week of 7/6/98:
Q: Why is a modern aircraft fuselage like a Gothic cathedral? Yes, the famous European Gothic cathedrals with vaulted stone ceilings and flying buttresses!
A: They are both examples of stiffened, thin-shelled structures. In most modern aircraft fuselages, internal "stringers" and other stiffeners deal with longitudinal loads, while the skin supplies the necessary torsional stiffness. In a Gothic cathedral, the relatively thin stone walls are the structure's "skin." The major load in a cathedral is a lateral thrust produced by the weight of the vaulted stone ceiling. That load is dealt with by structural stiffeners: the elegant flying buttresses. Unlike today's aircraft structures, the 12th and 13th century cathedrals were designed and built without the aid of modern mathematical analysis -- a truly remarkable engineering feat.
No one got the correct answer!
- The Aeroquiz Editor


Week of 7/13/98:
Q: Peregrine falcons dive at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, striking their prey with traumatic force. Their diving speed potentially makes the falcon the fastest animal on the planet, and faster than the diving speeds of many airplanes. Amazingly, they dive at speeds faster than their terminal velocity. How?
A: They power themselves downward by flicking their wings as they fall.
No one got the correct answer!
- The Aeroquiz Editor


Week of 7/20/98:
Q: The U.S. expression "the whole 9 yards" may have come from the world of aircraft. What was its specific origin?
A: Although there are indications this explanation may be an "urban legend," the expression may have originated with World War II fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards."
No one got the correct answer!
- The Aeroquiz Editor


Week of 7/27/98:
Q: Near the end of his Apollo 14 moon walk, Al Shepard attached a 6-iron club to the end of a sample collecting tool, hit two golf balls, and became the first person to golf on the moon. Although his bulky space suit forced him to take awkward, one-handed swings, he joked that the second ball traveled "miles and miles." If he wasn't encumbered by a suit and was able to get "good wood" on the ball, could he have taken advantage of the moon's low gravity and no atmosphere and put the ball into orbit? Assume he could hit it tangentially to the horizon, avoid mountains, put it into a circular crater-top level orbit, and achieve a record-setting 250 foot-per-second club speed!
No one got the correct answer. The question stands another week!
- The Aeroquiz Editor


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