My Unusual Attitude/Aerobatic Training Experience...

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by CC268, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    ***Long read, but worth it I think.

    Well, today marked my last aerobatic flight in the Great Lakes 2T-1A-2. It also marks my 80th hour of flight time (I know...I am a newb). I did 6 flights, all about 1 hour each. What an incredible and life changing experience. In the past few months I have had some great flying experiences with flying the Great Lakes, flying my Cherokee 140, and also getting to fly with a 20 year F-16 pilot in his RV-8.

    I got my PPL last year, but I didn't fly for several months after getting my ticket (it was middle of summer and my dad and I were searching for an airplane). In October we picked up a beautiful 1965 Cherokee 140. However, in those past few months I had really lost my confidence. Despite being - what I think anyways - a fairly competent pilot (albeit "green"), I just didn't feel completely comfortable flying. I felt like my Private Pilot training had left a lot to be desired in terms of experiencing the full flight envelope of an aircraft. They say you only see about 5% of an aircraft's flight envelope during your PPL, about 11% after your commercial (correct me if this is wrong). That is a lot of unknown territory that you haven't seen as a pilot.

    I had always been pretty uncomfortable with power on stalls and unusual attitudes during my PPL training. I was competent enough to do them and demonstrate them on the check ride, but they were truly nerve racking at the time. I had never seen a spin, but the stories of pilots killing themselves on base to final had really made me nervous. What would I do if I got into an unusual attitude? A spin? A situation I had never seen before? Looking back I realize being so nervous about stalls and spins was simply a lack of experience. Falling leaf stalls - I don't know why every instructor doesn't teach this. What an incredible and informative exercise.

    I posted on here a while back about possibly doing the aerobatic training - the peanut gallery on PoA had mixed opinions about what it would do for my flying. "Flying an aerobatic plane won't do anything for you right now", "Dude you should give up flying, it isn't for you", "You should be flying straight and level, never exceed a bank of 2.56 degrees" (no one actually said that one)...you get the point.

    I started this course to change those feelings of nervousness into confidence. It truly transformed my flying and made me a more confident and competent pilot. My day to day flying in the Cherokee has changed tremendously. I have learned to be assertive with the airplane. Fly the airplane. Look outside. The front seat of these Great Lakes has an airspeed indicator, an altimeter, vertical speed indicator, and an oil pressure gauge. That's it. You learn to fly the airplane by feel and by looking outside. I found myself looking inside the cockpit more than I should have when I was doing my PPL - I think this is fairly common habit for most new pilots. Although I won't be doing any aerobatics in my Cherokee (haha), I have found my patterns to be much tighter/cleaner. I'm not afraid to bank more than 10 degrees in the pattern anymore. I had always been really timid in the pattern, because I didn't want to be the guy who spun his airplane into the ground on base to final. Turns out my lack of understanding was causing this fear.

    I wasn't going to post this on here, as I am sure members of the peanut gallery will be here soon with something negative to say, but if your a new pilot, struggling to find complete confidence in your flying, I highly recommend you take an aerobatic course. It transformed my understanding, confidence, and abilities in many ways. Most importantly I am always learning. It is a lot of fun.

    One thing is for sure, this won't be my last aerobatic rodeo. I will go back for more training - maybe some day own an aerobatic airplane. Who knows, maybe some day fly some competitive aerobatics for fun?

    Wish I had some video, but photos will have to do!

    Here is a list of all the maneuvers we did:
    Stalls, turning stalls, steep turns, slow flight, dutch rolls, aileron rolls, loops, spins, accelerated spins, spin reversals, loops, hammerheads, snap rolls, slow rolls, half cuban eight, falling leaf stalls, hands off spin recoveries, inverted flight, vertical rolls, split-s, clover leaf loops, immelman variation (not exactly sure what to call it), simulated skidding turn base to final into a spin (this is actually really difficult to get the Great Lakes into). I am sure I am missing a few things from the list.

    If anyone has any questions, let me know! Onto my tailwheel endorsement and instrument rating!
    IMG_0605.JPG IMG_0608.JPG IMG_0612.JPG IMG_0610.JPG IMG_0653.JPG IMG_0703.JPG IMG_0740.JPG IMG_0758.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  2. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Line Up and Wait

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    That looks like fun. :)
     
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  3. azblackbird

    azblackbird Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Do you feel like you're walking on air after you hop out of the plane. :cool:

    Just curious, what kind of chute are they giving you to wear? Just an FYI, make sure it is rated for your weight. I'm 6'2" at 250 lbs. and require a larger canopy than normal.
     
  4. WannFly

    WannFly Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    First of all, a huge SALUTE. this is coming from someone whose definition of medium bank turns was 5 degrees. The reason is pretty much what u said, lack of confidence, gear of unknown, would be able to handle if I spin? It took quite a while to get over it. If I remember correctly u posted here about unable to gain confidence in cross wind situations and some people said give up etc. There will always be people like that, just ignoring and proving them wrong gives immense pleasure to me, I am sure u feel the same way. Spin and aerobatics is in my wishlist too, currently have to wait till I get PPL.

    Thanks you sir for posting this and asserting the fact that u got over your fears. Everybody have some fear or another, it's what u do with the fear makes a world of difference. Kudos to you and keep us posted on future endeavors

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  5. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Well, CC268, I guess I am in the peanut gallery here, but I think it is great that you took the course. I believe there are a lot of pilots who would benefit from an unusual attitude and/or aerobatic course just like you said that you did. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and it sounds like your lunch stayed where it was supposed to be!
     
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  6. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I love it. I can tell the airmanship lightbulb came on bright from your experience.

    Impressive what an airplane will actually do, isn't it? Three dimensions... who knew it isn't all square patterns and tracking to VORs?! Heh heh.

    As far as falling leaf stalls, let me share your exasperation that all instructors don't teach them (in aircraft well-behaved at such things).

    Brain? Meet feet. Feet? Brain. Now that we've introduced you two...
     
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  7. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-Flight

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    If I were King for a day, I'd make basic acro part of the PPL course.

    Well done, great to hear that it has increased both your confidence and airmanship!
     
  8. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    You know, I couldn't tell ya...in all honesty you would have a hell of a time getting out of that front seat if something really went wrong. I am 6'1" 190 lbs so I assume the chute would be just fine.
     
  9. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for the feedback! I've learned to treat the PoA advice with a grain of salt, although I have learned a lot from here and it has been a valuable resource. Overall it is a pretty entertaining site, for multiple reasons haha.
     
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  10. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thankfully I have never been motion sick in my life, this type of stuff has never bothered me!
     
  11. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks - yea it was a blast, I will really miss it. Time to start flying the hell out of my personal airplane though (I have already been flying quite a bit - although my time will be limited in the summer since it is so miserable). Instrument ground school this summer and starting the instrument flying after summer. I may try to get my tailwheel endorsement squeezed in there somewhere as well. The falling leaf stall is so great...
     
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  12. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Pattern Altitude

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    Every time I fly up to Chandler, those planes are always parked in front of the diner and someone is always getting in them. Maybe it should be me someday.

    How many portraits of dead presidents does it take?
     
  13. yhuubert

    yhuubert Pre-Flight

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    Very similar to the experience Sean Tucker, who was afraid of flying, has told many times. Here is one variation:

    "Years ago, when he started flying in his home state of California, Tucker was -- as he put it -- "the most fearful flier you've ever seen."
    He panicked while practicing stalls -- a basic maneuver every pilot is required to know. "In an airplane, if you panic and freeze at the controls, you're in big trouble and so are your passengers."
    Frustrated, he asked for help from an aerobatic instructor named Amelia Reid who "took me under her wing," and went flying with him. "I remember the first time she rolled that airplane. We didn't fall out of the sky. We didn't crash. She rolled it again a second time. The third time, she let me do it."
    That experience flipped a switch inside Tucker. "I fell in love with what I was so afraid of. I fell in love with the dance.""
     
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  14. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wow that is interesting I never knew that!
     
  15. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I flew 6 times at about $250-$275 a lesson
     
  16. Yeti Niner Five

    Yeti Niner Five Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How were the vertical rolls in the Great Lakes? What was your entry speed and were you able to make a full roll and still get over the top?
     
  17. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route PoA Supporter

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    @CC268 i noticed that all of the photos you posted were taildraggers. After the PP ASEL checkride is complete, I think the most valuable endorsement you can get is the tailwheel endorsement.

    I took my checkride in a PA-28 and except for braking on the ground. my feet were pretty much flat on the floor. The DPE was not happy (although he said it was a common problem) and he spent time teaching me the falling leaf stall. It sounds like the fears you had prior to the acro would also have been solved by a tailwheel endorsement. Feet, meet Mr. Rudder!

    Acro got the job done, too, so congrats.
     
  18. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    It was a blast - probably one of the more disorienting maneuvers in terms of tracking where your at and stuff. All these maneuvers we dove down to 130 mph, leveled off very briefly and then performed the maneuvers. I believe we did half a roll then over the loop and half a roll again to finish out...but I could have that wrong so take it with a grain of salt.
     
  19. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have actually never had much issue with using my rudder, in fact I have always been pretty good about that. When we were doing dutch rolls in the Great Lakes my instructor noted that my rudder skills were a lot better than most people he had instructed. My fears were really unusual attitudes (thus the acro)...the tailwheel endorsement would make me a better stick and rudder pilot (and I do plan on getting it), but I am glad I did the acro first.

    I always knew if I kept things coordinated I didn't have to worry about a spin...but I don't like that mentality....it's like...well you don't have to worry about it until you have to worry about it. That is the thing about the PPL...you learn the basics, but you have never had a visual representation of what its like to be outside of that normal PPL flight attitude. Nothing wrong with that....but the aerobatics has been incredibly invaluable.
     
  20. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well done! I agree with the previous poster that acro should be required for ppl.

    Are you hooked on the biplanes yet? They are addicting!


    Thanks for the write up by the way. Great job.
     
  21. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Line Up and Wait

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    I'm sure the motivation to get out would be there if something went wrong! I used to have my friend roll his Great Lakes upside down and I would fall out! It was just a good way to get out of the plane for a skydive, but startled more than a few people on the ground.
     
  22. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    The biplane is definitely fun, although I like the Vans RV8 better because of the visibility it provides. Funny I see your forum name is Acrodustertoo - my instructor owned an Acroduster Too for many years. I am amazed at the prices on those things - there is a beautiful one (brand new) on Trade A Plane for 50k. That would be a fun plane!
     
  23. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    My instructor said he has taken quite a few skydivers up in the Great Lakes - like you said they would get up and sit right in front of the back wind screen and he would roll inverted and they would fly away haha.
     
  24. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    They are extremely fun! Once you get he biplane bug, it is an itch you cannot scratch.

    The Stardusters and Acrodusters are just about as pretty as an airplane gets, they got more curves that Jessica Rabbit!
     
  25. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yea my dream is to one day trade our Cherokee 140 out for something aerobatic capable. I would love to continue flying aerobatics, it is such a blast and a unique experience.
     
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  26. Stearman

    Stearman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That is really awesome, CC268. I sent you a message (I think they call it a "Conversation" on here?).....just FYI.
     
  27. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Pattern Altitude

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    I feel the same way. I'm not so timid as to only make 10-degree turns in the pattern, but it's definitely a disconcerting feeling not knowing where the "line in the sand" is. I'd love to see what it looks/feels like to be in those unusual attitudes, both leading up to and pushing through the maneuver. It would make identifying a potentially dangerous/deadly situation much easier when you know what it looks/feels like at that portion of the flight envelope.
     
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  28. colojo

    colojo Line Up and Wait

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    Well, that settles it. I've been thinking of doing this ever since I bought my RV-8 and now I'm DEFINITELY going to do it. Dagmar Kress, a very gifted aerobatic pilot, is based one hangar row away from me and gives similar instruction in her Pitts S-2C. I'll be ringing her up once the weather improves.

    Thanks for posting, CC268, and congratulations on your outstanding achievement!
     
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  29. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    If I win the lottery, I will buy a Gamebird GB!. Those are just pretty cool!
     
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  30. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Great pics.
     
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  31. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Absolutely. I've realized the "line in the sand" is far out (of course this changes from plane to plane). In the Great Lakes it was not easy to get into a spin from a skidding turn (simulating base to final)...you would have to have very little self awareness to get yourself in a situation like that.
     
  32. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    That is awesome you have an RV8. What an incredible airplane...would love to have one some day. The aerobatics will open up a whole new world of flying
     
  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Dagmar is awesome. I haven't had the pleasure of flying with her yet, but I can't think of more than one hand worth of fingers of other aerobatic instructors who can keep up around here with her. And she's a hoot in person.

    Everyone I've talked to who's been up in her Pitts has come back with a huge smile on their face.
     
  34. jbrinker

    jbrinker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, this looks super interesting to me for so many reasons. All of your reasons (learning more about the 'edge of the envelope') as well as improving skills and especially biplane time! Where did you do this? Anyone know of anyplace near Central NY I could do this - or a "fly in and spend a few days" type of place (like people do for float ratings etc)?
     
  35. CC268

    CC268 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Chandler Air Service in Chandler, Arizona - I know there are plenty of places all across the US to do this type of thing though.
     
  36. Stearman

    Stearman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You da man! Do it!

    And let us know how it goes. Jealous of your RV-8