Aerobatics and Gyro-Instruments

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by apr911, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. apr911

    apr911 Pre-Flight

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    So question for the Aerobatic pilots and instrument mechanics out there:

    What is the short, medium and long term impact of performing aerobatic maneuvers on gyro-based instruments?

    I had access to a C150 Aerobat that was nicely equipped with a full 6-pack, dual glideslopes and a Garmin GPS; it was IFR certified. The flight school did not like and strongly discouraged (bordering on outright prohibiting) any aerobatic maneuvers due to the impact of the maneuvers on the instruments and presumably the impact on the IFR certification. I never really questioned further about what impact they were referring to and the long term effects of the maneuvers on the instruments as I also had access to a Citabria which had no working gyro based instruments (a turn coordinator was installed but except for the gravity ball, it did not function) that I used for all my aerobatic flights.

    I understand aerobatics will tumble the gyros and they might not fully, partially or accurately recover in flight and thus be unusable for the duration of that flight but does it do any damage to the instrument?

    I'm looking at purchasing my own Citabria or other aerobatic capable tailwheel and many of them have had full functioning 6-packs. Considering the school's prohibition in their very capable Aerobat which was fully capable, I was wondering what I was missing in relation to instrument panel.

    Thanks!
     
  2. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Put in a Garmin G5 and be done with it.
     
  3. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    I can only write about what I have read, but Rich Stowell said in one of his books that the "modern" gyros were okay for aerobatics, and would recover from being tumbled.
     
  4. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    The kinds of aerobatics you'd be doing in a Citabria would not necessarily trash gyros, but it's reasonable to expect you may shorten their life somewhat.

    However, step back for a sec and consider a Citabria with a 6 pack. Why do you need this? Even if you equip a Citabria for IFR flight, the type certificate is limited to VFR. And if it was IFR certified, the range and speed is so poor they make poor choices for cross country flying if you are trying to maintain any kind of schedule. I used mine occasionally for "travel" and tired of seeing the cars on the highway below passing me. Different story if you're retired or otherwise puttering around on your own schedule.

    Putting a 6 pack in a Citabria also involves a vacuum system and the associated cost, complexity, and most of all weight. You are already payload challenged, so why make it worse? I equipped mine with one of the early solid state gyros (temporary mounting, not permanently installed) to give me a little peace of mind for inadvertent VFR into IMC. I found that quite sufficient.

    The only reason I can think of to put IFR gear in a Citabria is to do be able to do IFR proficiency flying from time to time. Too little payback, IMO.
     
  5. apr911

    apr911 Pre-Flight

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    I dont. I'd be happy with just an airspeed indicator and altimeter but several of the planes I've looked at recently have had full 6-packs or at least a few gyros. Hard to say if everything was functional or not but it seemed a waste to remove it but if it were damaging the instruments or making them unusable (except after tumbling) I wouldn't want to keep them in either...