Friday, March 2, 2012

Handy information from the 1942 Civil Air Regulations

This July 1942 edition of "Civil Air Regulations (Complete Examination)" once belonged to a York County, Pa., pilot.1

The bulk of the content is questions and answers, to be used in preparation for a student pilot's solo examination. It also includes a partial list of recent civil air violations (with their associated fines), other review material and a glossary.

The staplebound booklet was mimeoprinted by Carlton L. Wheeler of Penn Yan, New York.2 It originally cost 75 cents.

Written across the top of Page 2, in capital letters, is: "CIVIL AIR REGULATIONS MUST BE OBEYED!" As the United States was involved in World War II at this point, the text further states: "Violation of the Civil Air Regulations may result in a fine up to $500 or one year imprisonment, or both. Warning: Beware of flying over restricted areas! Guards at many defense plants, etc., are reported to be under orders to shoot at any plane flying low. Play safe and stay away from danger areas."

Here are ten interesting notes and tips from this 70-year-old guide:

1. Name the order in which aircraft in flight shall have right of way.
(a) Balloons (b) Gliders (c) Airships (d) Airplanes including rotor-planes.

2. What is "official sunset"?
As published in the Nautical Almanac, converted to local standard time for the locality concerned. This book is the authority for all officially designated time.

3. Name five items which would be classed as prohibited articles of transport in aircraft.
Arms, ammunition, explosives, munitions of war, and habit-forming drugs.

4. What are the minimum safe altitudes over various regions?
See illustration below:

5. Name the equipment required to be installed in an aircraft to engage in visual-contact day flight within 100 miles of a fixed base.
1 Altimeter; 1 Air Speed Indicator; 1 Tachometer for each engine; Oil Pressure Gauge; Oil Thermometer for each air cooled engine; Manifold pressure gauge for each altitude engine; Fuel gauge; Certificated4 safety belts for all passengers and members of the crew; Portable fire extinguisher in cabin planes; Position Indicator for retractable landing gear; Device for measuring amount of oil in tanks; First Aid Kit; Log-book for airplane and one for each motor; Rigging information.

6. What is the international radio distress signal when sent in Morse code? In radio telephony?
S.O.S. by radio; and the spoken word is "Mayday" in radio telephony.

7. What is the minimum legal altitude for acrobatic flight?
See (stomach-turning) illustration below:

8. What is the closest approach permitted to grandstand or spectators for any aircraft during an air meet?
200 feet.5

9. What do the letters "NX" signify?
That the aircraft bearing them is deemed to be safe only for experimental purposes.6

10. What should a pilot do if after taking off he finds that a passenger has with him intoxicating liquor?
Keep on flying. He has no authority to do otherwise unless the passenger becomes intoxicated. He should then land at the nearest airport and have the passenger removed by local authorities.

1. I detailed the acquisition of this book and several other related flight manuals in this October 2011 post.
2. Wikipedia has these interesting notes about Penn Yan, past and present: "The name of the village is said to have been contrived from the first syllables of 'Pennsylvania' and 'Yankee,' as most of the early settlers were Pennsylvanians and New Englanders (or Yankees). Many Amish and Mennonite families are recent arrivals to the area. Beginning in 1974, many Mennonite families moved to Yates County from Lancaster County, PA, seeking cheaper farmland."
3. A $500 fine in 1942 would be the equivalent of a $6,613 fine in 2010, according to The Inflation Calculator.
4. Certificated? OK, word mavens, here's an interesting article from regarding the difference between “certified” and “certificated.”
5. The distance is now MUCH greater than 200 feet, and has been such for decades. According to this recent Associated Press story on safety (or lack thereof) at air shows:
"Before the Reno accident, the last U.S. spectator fatalities were at an air show in 1951 in Flagler, Colo., where 20 people were killed. That accident led to significant changes in the way air shows are staged, including a requirement that grandstands are kept a distance of 500 feet to 1,500 feet from planes depending upon the aircraft.

"The requirements were strengthened after 67 people were killed and another 350 injured in 1988 at a U.S. Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, after the midair collision of an Italian Air Force team performing stunts. Wreckage from the collision landed on spectators. Planes are no longer allowed to fly over crowds at U.S. shows."
6. According to Wikipedia's entry on aircraft registration:
"An older aircraft (registered before 31 December 1948) may have a second letter in its identifier, identifying the category of aircraft. This additional letter is not actually part of the aircraft identification (e.g. NC12345 is the same registration as N12345). Aircraft category letters have not been included on any registration numbers issued since 1 January 1949, but they still appear on antique aircraft for authenticity purposes. The categories were:
  • C = airline, commercial and private
  • G = glider
  • L = limited
  • R = restricted (such as cropdusters and racing aircraft)
  • S = state
  • X = experimental
For example, N-X-211, the Ryan NYP aircraft flown by Charles Lindbergh as the Spirit of St. Louis, was registered in the experimental category.

1 comment:

  1. I think the use of the word "certificated" is certifiable. Just sayin'. Seriously though, it is interesting (in my opinion) to find, research, and study uncommon words and uses of words. Consider "commented" vs. "commentated". Sometimes these words are created through the linguistic phenomenon known as backformation. In other words, we create a new word--often unwittingly--because it seems that it should have already been in existence anyway due to an existing "real" word. Consider that the word "couth" did not exist before the word "uncouth". Seems counterintuitive -- how could the root word not have come first? You see? Interesting! For a long list of other similar words, check out this list: Enjoy!