Aerobatic aircraft options?

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by QR30, Jan 5, 2022.

  1. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    You're right. But if you're trying to maximize roll rate, it'll probably boos the numbers a bit.
     
  2. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm trying to do all the right inputs at the right times, but of course that is easier said than done. It is hard to appreciate from a video the physical forces applied to your body, and not just the obvious G force. In a slow roll you go from upright to laying on your side to hanging upside down to laying on your other side. You are strapped in at the hips, so you are straining against gravity to keep your torso and shoulders centered. All the while you are arm wrestling the stick to keep full aileron deflection in, while trying to push and pull the stick and put in rudder at the right times. There's just a lot going on in 3 dimensions.

    Oh BTW I have a crappy 5 point factory harness without a ratchet, so until I upgrade to a Hooker harness I am also getting slung around due to the slack in the belts.

    I've never flown a super space age monoplane like an Extra with a 360 roll rate, but my impression is that all that happens so fast that you don't feel it so much. I don't believe you need much top rudder on knife edge or forward stick thru inverted, because you just don't spend enough time to lose altitude.

    With an airplane like a Super D, it takes a lot of top rudder on knife edge and a lot of forward stick while inverted to avoid losing altitude. And back to the physical forces, a roll takes me 6-8 seconds, so I am spending 3-4 seconds hanging upside down or at a weird angle, all while trying to keep the stick deflected, push the stick forward and then pull it back, and transition off rudder with my right foot and then add rudder with my left foot.

    Oh what the hell, here is my Sportsman Sequence today. It is VERY rough, but I've only been back in the saddle for 4 months after a 14 year break.



    sportsman 2022.PNG
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
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  3. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Yeah, that roll you started at 1:52 took 5-6 seconds, so that makes it 60-70 degrees per second on average. @nauga could tell you the sho-nuff correct way to measure roll rate, which I'd bet has you doing something like a 450 degree roll and not counting the time to roll the first or last 45 degrees. That way, the measurement only represents the fully developed roll rate.
     
  4. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Hey Ed, that was pretty solid! I see you are doing the classic Decathlon pilot hand hold of the cabane tube haha. Anyway this is easy stuff to clean up with a little help from the ground. Few notes, which you probably see as well -

    Consider the wing wags Figure 0 and be sure to do them on practice flights so you don't forget them on a real contest flight.

    On the spin entry, try getting the nose up at a slightly faster rate as you slow to the stall (climbing very slightly is perfect), and hold a slight bit of left rudder pressure before the stall to clean up the spin entry. Here, the nose dropped a good bit before the airplane yawed and rolled into the spin. You want movement on all three axes to occur simultaneously. Decathlons are notorious for mushing into the spin unless you're careful to control it.

    A little pendulum stopping the hammer, decent looking hammer though.

    On the Immelman it looks like you're dishing to the right during the last half of the 1/2 roll. Be sure to start the roll from inverted with opposite (right) rudder until you've passed about 30 degrees of roll when you start to transition to top (left) rudder. If you don't, you'll go off heading on the first half of the roll. Looks like you might be ending up back on your final upright heading, but there's a very large swing of the nose to the right through the last quarter of the roll. Can't tell if you're off heading and correcting, or if you need more left rudder after passing through knife edge and finish the roll. You actually have to increase your left rudder input after passing through knife edge, since you have to hold the nose up AND counter adverse yaw as the airplane becomes positively loaded again.

    On the Split S, don't pull the nose down quite so sharply. This will set an initial small radius that will be impossible to maintain as speed builds. Accelerate the pitch more progressively, but you still of course need to get G on the airplane relatively quickly to control your airspeed. Pull some power to control your entry airspeed if needed, but get the power back in before you begin the figure.

    Looks like you could hold your humpty upline a beat longer and fly over the top with slightly less airspeed, but again ground critiquing/coaching rules. Good luck, hope you can make a Spring contest. Eric
     
  5. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Fantastic tips, thanks. This is the first time I have flown with a camera, and it definitely helps see things I missed in the air. You hit on a few of my known weaknesses, so now I have a practice plan.

    The Immelman into a Split S was a point of stress for me. The first few times I tried it, I was too fast going into the S and pushing Vne at the bottom. That got me pulling too abruptly to load it up. On this video, I actually did a good job keeping the nose up during both of the half rolls, the result being I finished the S at the top of the green arc. I'll smooth out the initial pull a bit and tighten it up on the bottom quarter, and accept more speed at the end, which will improve the vertical on the humpty.

    At as minimum I will fly Sebring, which is only 30 minutes away. If work and contest schedules jibe, I hope to hit Ocala and Rome.
     
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  6. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Shoot me a note when you come to Rome. It is a hop, skip, and jump from my home field.
     
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  7. somorris

    somorris En-Route

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    Thanks for posting the video and sequence, Ed, despite your being a little hesitant. Not that my opinion counts like Wifferdill's does, but I thought it looked pretty good. I was really surprised the first time (as a totally inexperienced pilot) I watched a practice session and could see mistakes being made. I second the suggestion to get somebody watching from the ground.

    Good luck at Sebring!
     
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  8. QR30

    QR30 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for posting looked like alot of fun!
     
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  9. djpacro

    djpacro Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew that for the roll rate challenge on Facebook a while back. You can see the technique I used and airspeed. I have attached the roll rate summary chart for info.

    Seems that my old '79 Standard Decathlon (wood spar wings) is a bit slower

    SAE TP 700222 Loading Conditions Measured During Aerobatic Maneuvers (by NASA in conjunction with the Decathlon factory) shows 1.7 rad/sec or 97 deg/sec for aileron rolls at 117 kts.

    70222rollrate.png

    108632267_10158539563841665_705541927262151833_o.jpg
     
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  10. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I timed the Venture at about 100 degrees/sec. It feels more crisp than the roll rate suggest. From the videos I've seen I should be satisfied with my S1C but I do have some sparcraft S wings I can put on eventually.
     
  11. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looks like you have that camera mounted on your head? I can tell by the way it slings you around sideways. That's what I was trying to describe above.

    I previously had an older Decathlon with spades. Found a pair of used Olin Pash spades recently, but the STC only covers Citabrias so I passed on them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
  12. consnard

    consnard Filing Flight Plan

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    You must specify the number of seats and the budget
     
  13. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My suggestion is to take a flying vacation and go do an aerobatics course. Bud Davisson, Patty Wagstaff, and many others. Spend a week doing aerobatics and see how you like it.

    You may want to be hard core and get a Pitts or Extra or similar. Or maybe you just want to make the horizon go around at times and an Aerobat 150/152 or Aerobatic Bonanza might fil the bill.
     
  14. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Pattern Altitude

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    Budd doesn't teach acro, just Pitts pattern work. If you google "IAC aerobatic schools" you'll find a list that can get you started. Not all listings are up to date, some may no longer be in operation. Just start somewhere. Despite what some may think, you don't need to fly with a "famous" name at all. There are plenty who can teach the basics equally well. And you're not gonna figure out exactly where your interests will end up after some basic initial training anyway. Just get going and you'll figure out where you'll end up as you go along.
     
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  15. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd argue a composite monoplane or 6 cylinder Pitts is probably not a great trainer anyways, because the basic maneuvers come too easy. Not much energy management required. Plus nobody is going to cut you loose to do solo acro after you finish your 5 hours in an Extra, even if it was with Patty Wagstaff. Training in a Decathlon/Citabria, old school biplane, or lower powered Pitts is better preparation for going out on your own. The ideal situation is to get the training in an airplane you can later rent solo ... if such a thing exists any more.
     
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  16. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Totally agree.

    I once flew with a guy who started with an S-2A Pitts. He was very sloppy, as the airplane was so good. Like starting to drive in a F1 car. :D
     
  17. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Pattern Altitude

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    Well an MX-S would be the airplane for comparison with an F1 car. It has three times the performance of a Pitts S-2A. The S-2A two up is hardly a beast of a machine with the 4-cylinder engine. Roll rate is modest as Pitts' go and it's actually a decent aerobatic trainer.

    What all this 'ideal acro trainer' talk really boils down to is how well the airplane forces you to learn rudder skills. Just like an Aeronca Champ slaps you in the face if you don't use rudder well in turns, a Decathlon type slaps you in the face if you don't use the rudder well during rolls, especially precision (level) rolls. Someone who learned to fly in a Cherokee would probably not do well learning acro in an Extra 300, but someone who learned to fly in a Champ would probably do well learning acro in a Pitts S-2A since they already know what the rudder is for. The S-2A certainly rolls slow enough for an instructor to get across the rudder fundaments while doing rolls...especially if the student really cares about the detail, has studied the concepts and makes the effort. People who are highly motivated to fly with good technique are typically going to get there regardless of what they initially trained in.

    And a Pitts does not hide bad technique. I invite anyone to fly a Pitts at an aerobatic contest and see how many of your mistakes the airplane hides for you. :)

    Another nice thing about the Pitts is that it's much better suited for advanced aerobatic spin training than the Citabria/Decathlon...which all pilots should receive before doing solo acro. But it is true that the Decathlon is about the ideal trainer for learning the basic maneuvers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2022
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  18. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No, it doesn't hide things in competition, but it allows a pilot to be sloppy and not bite them in the butt.

    You can get by with things in a Pitts what would have you falling out of the sky in a Decathlon.
     
  19. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Pattern Altitude

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    Disagree. I think you're mostly talking about rolls. If you have terrible level roll technique, the Decathlon will show more deviation, but the same deviations and slop will be seen in a Pitts to a lesser degree. But the easy way to roll is just pitch up a little and throw the stick over for a little barrel roll. Anyone can easily do that in a Decathlon without falling out of the sky. There's a lot more to acro than rolls though. Anyone falling out of the sky in any maneuver is at the newbie learning stage. Newbie Pitts pilots have gotten sloppy plenty of times and spun out of hammers, snapped out of Immelmans, entered tumbles attempting snap rolls, and crossed over on spin recoveries...sometimes all the way to the ground. I've never heard of a Decathlon pilot ending up in an inverted flat spin after a hammer attempt, or crossing over on a spin recovery. Not that it's impossible, but the Pitts has more sensitive controls and is much quicker to respond to bad inputs, and will very definitely bite you if you are sloppy. In many ways the Decathlon is more forgiving in this regard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
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  20. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What I noticed was in slow rolls. The Pitts did a credible one with poor timing on the rudder and elevator. The Decathlon let you KNOW you were not doing a great job.
     
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  21. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Pattern Altitude

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    Ever flown a Giles? :D
     
  22. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nope.

    I have flown a Great Lakes. :D
     
  23. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Which is one of the main reasons it is such a good basic acro trainer, of course. You really gotta try hard to get in trouble in one. Not to mention entirely benign on the runway.
     
  24. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    All other things being equal, an aircraft with faster roll rate will roll easier, because less time spent on knife edge and inverted. An aircraft with longer wingspan will have more adverse yaw to counteract. An aircraft with high aileron stick forces will be more difficult to roll consistently. An aircraft with a non-symmetrical airfoil will require more pitch change thru inverted.

    An older Decathlon has all those negative characteristics, so of course it will take more effort to roll well.

    Metal spar Decathlons roll faster than wood spar Decathlons, and have spades as an option. ACA redesigned the ailerons in 2016 for significant improvement in roll rate and stick force. Greg Koontz says it is a whole different airplane.

    So it is entirely possible to have a Decathlon that rolls faster than a Pitts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
  25. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Cleared for Takeoff

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    I agree that is a big part of it, probably the biggest part. But I think being forced to learn energy skills is necessary too. I'm not experienced in Extra 300s and similar aircraft, other than beating them in Sportsman, but it appears to me that the power and roll rate make some maneuvers easy, while you have to work harder in a lower powered trainer.

    An Immelman is a good example. In a Citabria or Decathlon you have to dive for entry speed and get a good pull to avoid falling out of the top. The half roll is going to be at MCA, and you gotta be gentle as you finish or you will drop a wing.

    I get the impression that an Immelman in an Extra 300 can be done from level flight. Just pull, tighten, relax, then neutral and flick of the wrist to half roll. I think you miss out on an important learning process if you do not have to milk your energy to get over the top, because your aircraft has so much surplus power.

    Obviously all that power creates different challenges, so I'm not implying that Extras are easier to fly. I doubt most people could master everything an Extra can do in a lifetime of practice. Well, maybe Rob Holland could.

    Just pointing out I think it's a bit silly to do basic acro/UPRT courses in unlimited class aircraft. Could be Patty Wagstaff thinks so too, given she teaches her intro course in a Super D.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2022