В данном случае не имеется в виду какой-то конкретный самолет, поэтому употребляется неопределенный артикль: "I can't [cannot] fly without an airplane [a plane]"
I'm not so sure. A sentence about airplanes in general would be a more common thing to say. But you could think up less likely examples where someone would talk about a specific plane and could use "the" (eg a rich person dramatically insisting on flying in their own private plane). I think the Russian translation would be the same.
It's possible a specific plane would be indicated via word order: "Без самолёта я не умею летать," but my hunch is that this is probably pushing the logic of Russian word order a bit far. Hopefully a native speaker will comment.
Well, there are no articles in Russian. When you translate from Russian to English, you have to understand what the Russian phrase implies, so you can properly sprinkle the English equivalent with articles. :) This particular sentence implies "one of many planes, any plane", so it should be translated as "a plane".
Since Russian uses declensions, you can change the order of words rather freely without losing the meaning. You can play with the building blocks of this sentence -- "я", "без самолёта", "летать", "не умею" -- like below:
Я не умею летать без самолета.
Я без самолета не умею летать.
Я летать не умею без самолета.
Я летать без самолета не умею.
Без самолета не умею летать я.
Без самолета я летать не умею.
Без самолета я не умею летать.
Без самолета летать я не умею.
Летать не умею я без самолета.
Летать я без самолета не умею.
Летать без самолета не умею я.
Летать без самолета я не умею.
All these sentences deliver the same meaning in Russian, with slight stylistic differences. I hope this helps. :)
You mean like a helicopter, glider, drone, hot-air balloon, blimp, and dirigible - those are all aircraft.
"Уметь" is somewhere between "know how" and "physical possibility". The former is "знать как", the latter is "мочь". "Уметь" in the other hand is more like "have the knowledge and the skill to" rather than just theoretical knowledge. It's not regional differences, it's just that the English language doesn't have a direct counterpart to "уметь", so different native Russian speakes try to explain it differently to the best of their understanding of what "can" and "know how" mean :)
It's just different methods of expressing the same concepts. English just uses different grammatical structures, though when we come across a foreign word which can't really be adequately translated into simple English, we just steal the word, or it comes in with immigrants. The most recent addition to our lexicon: компромат - spelled in English letters, though, as kompromat, regarding Mr. Trump.
"I can/am able to fly an airplane" means "I have the knowledge and skill to fly an airplane. "I have the skill to fly an airplane" implies having the training and theoretical education to fly a plane.
"I know how to fly an airplane" is more theoretical - it doesn't necessarily imply I have the skill to do so. Someone could have spent many hours "flying" a simulation aircraft without ever having actually flown the real thing.
I don't believe you can have the ability to fly an airplane without knowing how to do it.