The Royal Air Force Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of Britain's "Junior Service." Pro tip: It may help to take the Royal Air Force's motto to heart: per ardua ad astra — "through adversity to the stars."

When was the British Royal Air Force (RAF) founded?

The RAF was founded on April 1, 1918, by combining the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service.


True or false: The RAF was formed as a subdivision of the British army.

The Royal Air Force was formed as a separate military service with its own ministry.


Which war was underway when the RAF was formed?

The RAF was formed during World War I and is the oldest independent air force in the world.


Which airplane served as a RAF long-range bomber during World War I?

Delivery of the Handley Page 0/400 began in 1918.


How many opposing aircraft did RAF pilot Edward Mannock shoot down during World War I?

Mannock shot down 73 enemy aircraft, the most of any Royal Air Force pilot during World War I. British pilot William A. Bishop was close behind Mannock — he shot down 72 opposing aircraft.


Which aircraft was used by the Royal Air Force as a single-seat fighter in World War I?

The Sopwith Camel appeared over the Western front in 1917.


Why did the Royal Air Force lose several squadrons of aircraft on April 1, 1924?

Several squadrons of Royal Air Force aircraft were commandeered to become the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy.


What is the motto of the Royal Air Force?

The motto of the Royal Air Force is "<i>per ardua ad astra</i>." The motto was first adopted by the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 and translates as "through struggles to the stars."


Which aircraft made its maiden test flight on March 5, 1936?

The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire stayed in front-line service until 1954.


When did the ranks used for Royal Air Force officers begin to differ from other British armed forces?

In August 1919, Sir Hugh Trenchard instituted a new rank structure for officers of the RAF.


When did the Royal Air Force begin World War II operations?

On Sept. 3, 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany, and the Royal Air Force began operations the same day. Flying Officer Andrew McPherson piloted the first Royal Air Force aircraft across the German frontier in a reconnaissance mission.


True or false: The first Royal Air Force World War II bombing mission ended without bombs being dropped.

On Sept. 3, 1939, the first Royal Air Force bombing mission of World War II included a search for German naval targets. No targets were found, and the fleet returned unharmed.


Which event ended Royal Air Force daylight bombing operations during World War II?

During the attempted raid at Wilhelmshaven, 12 out of 24 Wellington bombers were shot down, and many others were damaged by Germany's Luftwaffe fighters.


How many crew members were needed to fly the Lancaster Bomber?

The Lancaster bomber required a crew of seven and was used in more than 156,000 missions in World War II.


What was the heaviest bomb used by the Royal Air Force in World War II?

The Grand Slam weighed 22,000 pounds (10,000 kilograms) and required bomb bay modification of most Royal Air Force bombers.


What was unique about the Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons?

The Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons were formed by American volunteers before the United States entered World War II.


What was the nickname of the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron of World War II?

The elite unit nicknamed "the Dambusters" was formed to conduct a bombing raid on Germany's Ruhr valley dams and flood a downstream industrial complex.


What was the first jet fighter put into service by the Royal Air Force?

The Gloster Meteor became the first jet fighter used by the Royal Air Force in July 1944. The Meteor also was the first operational jet fighter of all the Allied forces.


True or false: Sir Hugh Trenchard was the Royal Air Force commander who initiated the controversial tactic of "area bombing" during World War II.

Sir Arthur Harris was the commander who instituted area bombing. The tactic involved bombing civilian targets to destroy enemy morale in the hopes of ending the war sooner.


What was the code name for the Royal Air force operation during the Berlin Airlift?

Operation Plainfare began on June 28, 1948, and was completed on May 11, 1949, when the Soviets lifted the blockade off West Berlin.


Which aircraft was the first bomber used in the Royal Air Force's nuclear strike force in 1955?

The Vickers Valiant was retired in 1965.


Which Royal Air Force base maintained a fleet of Blue Steel nuclear missiles throughout the 1960s?

The RAF Wittering station maintained a fleet of more than 50 Blue Steel nuclear missiles throughout the 1960s.


What limited role did Royal Air Force aircraft play in the Vietnam War?

On March 10, 1975, Royal Air Force Hercules aircraft were used to evacuate civilians from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


What is the southernmost Royal Air Force station in the world?

RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands is the southernmost RAF station in the world.


Why is the Royal Air Force known as the "Junior Service"?

The Royal Air Force is known as the "Junior Service" because it was the last military branch to be formed. The Royal Navy is the oldest of Britain's military services and was founded during the reign of Henry VIII. It is known as the "Senior Service."


In 1994, Flight Lt. Jo Salter became the first female Royal Air Force jet pilot. Which aircraft did she fly?

Flight Lt. Jo Salter piloted the Panavia Tornado. She now conducts workshops and seminars.


How many tons of food did the Royal Air Force deliver each day of the Berlin Airlift?

The Royal Air Force delivered 1,340 tons of food every day during the Berlin Airlift.


How many personnel were in the Royal Air Force during World War II?

During World War II, the Royal Air Force consisted of 1.2 million personnel. Today the Royal Air Force has around 35,000 personnel.


True or false: The Royal Air Force has a separate strike command, fighter command and bomber command structure.

There once were separate commands for each of the three British armed forces. Now there is just one Air Command.


Where is the Air Command of the Royal Air Force headquartered?

The RAF High Wycombe station motto is "<i>non sibi</i>," or "not for ourselves."


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