"normal" aerobatics

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Jaybird180, May 12, 2011.

  1. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Which GA normal category airplanes can do simple loops and rolls (aside from the legal issues)?

    What would one need to do to get a (for example) C-172 to loop and roll? More power, or it just won't do it.
     
  2. DGlaeser

    DGlaeser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Any plane can do loops and rolls - power is not an issue, even gliders can do loops and rolls. Learning the correct techniques and energy management is the key (from a good aerobatic instructor of course). And of course there is the legal thing...
     
  3. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You need to know what you are doing because the airplane is not designed to let you eff up under those conditions.

    Other than that, it's been done.
     
  4. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Considering that Bob Hoover used to do most of his airshow in a Shrike (Aero Commander) twin with both engines feathered it should be obvious that as long as you have enough power to climb to a sufficient altitude, power isn't an issue at all.
     
  5. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yup. Bob Hoover did that sort of thing in all kinds of aircraft - but he was Bob Hoover. The rest of us ain't.
     
  6. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Based on my limited aerobatic experience, and the g's I pulled doing loops and rolls, I ain't doing them in any kind of normal category airplane or even in utility category. Nope, it's got to be aerobatic or nothing.
     
  7. ajstoner21

    ajstoner21 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't know much about aerobatics, but for at least a roll, I don't think it should pull excessive G's if its done correctly. But as already said, they havent designed it so you could F up doing one....
     
  8. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    And another example of "yes it can be done" is the Barrel Roll Tex Johnson did in the prototype 707 over Lake Washington during SeaFair. Google " Tex Johnson barrel roll " for the videos....

    -Skip
     
  9. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    A loop would be the same, assuming I could manage the energy there isn't any reason I couldn't just pull at say, 2g, hold it there and loop my normal category Cessna. At least so far as physics goes. The FAA would view it differently.
     
  10. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I don't think 2 G's would be enough to get a 172 over the top of the loop unless you started off really fast. One of the last things you probably want to experience is your first inverted stall at the top of a loop. 3-4 g's probably would get you over the top, and that is within the design limits for the utility category.

    In my RV, 3.5 - 4 G's allows me to go over the top at 60 knots or so, if I begin a loop at 140-150 knots. The altitude gain from entry to the top of the loop is about 1,000'. A slower airplane with a lower stall speed could pull a tighter loop with less altitude gain and lower required entry speed.

    With rolls, the issue is how far the nose drops. A C-172 has a pretty slow roll rate, so you'd be on knife edge and/or inverted for a long time. The nose will drop pretty far during that period unless you know what you're doing. That low nose will tempt you to do bad things, like a rolling pull-up, which is one of those assymetric G maneuvers that's bad on an airframe...
     
  11. Swampfox201

    Swampfox201 Line Up and Wait

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    At the flight school I used to instruct at we had an instructor who unknown to us was was rolling our 152's.

    He must of thought he was pretty good at it because when he got an airline job he rolled a Beech 99 at night at 1200 agl. At the completion of the roll he and his copilot were killed when they hit the ground.

    http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19930428-0
     
  12. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    We had some local instructors do the same thing with a Cherokee 6, IIRC. Its all fun and games until the airframe starts shedding parts...
     
  13. skylanerg

    skylanerg Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's scary dangerous thinking. Do not even think it. It's been done many times in a 172 by clueless individuals. Been deadly more often by guys with more time but less brains.

    "Hold my beer and watch this..."
     
  14. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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  15. 1200AGL

    1200AGL Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Then there was the guy that killed himself and 4 passengers trying to roll a Baron. From the NTSB report:
     
  16. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    The really stupid low-level stuff is an entirely different matter...but aerobatics are "utility", not "normal", and depending on the airplane, often outside even "utility".
    In the end, you have to ask yourself:
    Has this been done before with this particular airplane? If so, how many times?
    Are any/all structural ADs complied with?
    Do I want to be the pilot who brings about a new AD?
    Am I wearing a parachute?

    All of that stuff comes before good stick'n'rudder skills. Anyone who thinks Bob Hoover, for example, ever did something "crazy" with an airplane he knew nothing about is kidding himself. And anybody who thinks he should, at the spur of the moment, roll a Baron full of unwitting pax because it seems possible is a nut job, IMHO.

    Most pilots heed the mfr's warnings nowadays, but there are many older types that were not placarded against aerobatics, probably for the same reasons that they were not sold with POHs as we know them today.
    Most of us know somebody (or know somebody who knows somebody) who rolled or looped a (name any pre-1960 make/model here) and lived to tell about it. Some of us know pilots who did not live to tell about it. How many times can you load/unload a given airplane structure within 1/2 gee of its published limit, given all the maintenance/environmental factors for a particular airplane? Seems impossible to answer, yet pilots often bet their lives on some sort of intuitive answer to that question.

    Get them upside-down at your own risk... but first, have a look down the inside of the fuse for wrinkled bulkheads, and maybe take a good look at the main spar... if you can. And for heaven's sake, if you really don't know what you're doing, try it alone, with plenty of extra altitude, away from populated areas.
     
  17. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep. You can roll a 172... Slowly, I doubt it's much fun as they don't have much of a roll rate.

    And, you could do like the idiot on YouTube and attempt it, and split-S out of it and not reduce power in the pull-out... :frown2: I sure hope I never fly that 172. And that little bastard is lucky he didn't pull the wings off.

    I've done aerobatics in an Extra 300. FUN! But the Extra has so much power you can start your loop from level flight, and really don't have much to worry about at the top.

    I've also done aerobatics in a 115hp Citabria. Never got to the point where that was more fun than scary. To loop the Citabria, you push to 140mph and then pull hard, and you barely have enough oomph to make it over the top. While you're looking out at the wing and trying to make a nice loop, you suddenly realize halfway to inverted that you're really not sure if you're gonna make it over the top.

    Rolls, same thing. Cake in the Extra. Pull to to degrees nose up, go to neutral elevator and put the stick an inch or two to the side and she'll whip right over. FUN! In the Citabria... Well, with the pokey roll rate and lots of adverse yaw, and the fact that you had to push to 120 and pull up 30-40 degrees before starting the roll because of that, and then do a funky dance on the rudder during the roll to keep it going the right direction when 3/4 of the way through the loop both adverse yaw and gravity are pulling you hard towards the ground... Well, it just never got fun, so I quit doing it. Tried again in a 180hp Citabria, still didn't like it that much. I guess the Extra spoiled me.

    Either way, I don't think doing them in your average C-bird or P-bird would be fun in any way shape or form, and considering that you can easily mess up due to adrenaline and end up going downwards very fast with power on by accident and pull your wings off... Just not worth it.

    That hasn't stopped the attempts, though:

    And, of course, the Cirrus salesman who went splat on a hillside in California a few years ago after barrel rolling an SR22. It's just not worth trying.
     
  18. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Have you tried it in a Citabria with spades? They improve the roll rate considerably.
     
  19. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    I still haven't found the report from the disappointed military pilot of tried to loop a C141 or C5 (can't recall) with the brass on board and augered it in. He disagreed that he should be flying cargo and wanted to fly fighters.
     
  20. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    In a Super Decathlon, we dove to 160 mph then pulled 4 g's to do a loop. Rolling didn't really have too many g's unless I pulled a little hard on the roll-out. Unless you are Bob Hoover or a similarly talented/skilled pilot, my advice is to forget about aerobatics except maybe spins, wing overs, stalls, chandelles, etc. that the C-150 is rated for in the POH in utility category. The rest is pushing your luck.
     
  21. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Just don't do it. The airplane isn't designed for it. If you knew what you were doing it could be done but there is no margin for error. If you don't do it perfectly you may not walk away. Plus it's not legal.
     
  22. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Okay- here's the disclaimer: I have no intention of trying. Ok, there I said it and it's permanently in cyberspace. Sorry for the confusion if anyone thought that's what I meant. The question is purely academic.
     
  23. TripleZ

    TripleZ Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good to know. I was considering a Citabria in a partnership. The basic aerobatics capability looked intriguing, but since I've never done it.... would have to be trained..... wasn't sure it was something I'd like..... I passed for the moment.

    Nice plane otherwise. Gotta love tail draggers, which is next on my list of sign-offs.
     
  24. Bobcat1

    Bobcat1 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Actually a Citabria without spades is a very good trainer for basic aerobatics. Anything with marginal performance requires a thorough knowledge of energy mangement skills and control by the pilot. The Citabria will point out your mistakes more easily than anything else. The Extra will make a mediocre pilot look more capable than he really is, it's that fine an airplane.
     
  25. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Fair enough, but the point stays the same, play the energy game right and you can do it.
     
  26. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, I guess the answer to the question is... "Yup." Pretty much any airplane, flown by a well-trained, very skilled pilot, can do basic aerobatics like loops and rolls. The problem is that the ones that aren't certified for it have exceedingly small margins for error, and I'd bet that the well-trained, very skilled pilot would probably insist on wearing a parachute and doing them at a pretty high altitude. Just too easy to screw up.
     
  27. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cool! It'll definitely make you a more precise pilot, and wake up your feet. It opens up a lot of possibilities for airplanes to fly, too.

    Part of the problem with the Citabria I flew was that it had long-range tanks (on a Citabria? Uhhh... Kinda silly if you ask me) so me + full fuel put it pretty much at gross. Take out some fuel, and take away some of me, it'd probably perform better. In the 180hp one, there was an instructor on board too so the performance wasn't too different between the two.

    So, if you do go for a 7ECA, get some dual in a higher-powered Citabria first. Ideally, get the power loading the same as it would be for you solo in the 7ECA and you'll have a pretty good feel for how the 7ECA would perform with just you in it.
     
  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I was looking for the link to the C-182 that *got* rolled by a 757 at KSLC years ago... those guys had to continue the roll to land upright.

    Speaks volumes for why aerobatics training in a properly rated aircraft might save your butt and your pax someday...
     
  29. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    Heck, I almost got rolled by a 172RG. Knife edge at 50' wasn't what I was expecting!:hairraise:
     
  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This one?

     
  31. RickH

    RickH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Back in the mid-80s, I watched a local pilot do a 50' high-speed low pass followed by 2 barrel rolls in a fully loaded Aerostar 600.
     
  32. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    "Cutlass 12345 Heavy..." ;)
     
  33. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    No, that was the crew that wanted to put on a good show and ignored the stall warnings.
     
  34. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    [​IMG]
    Very heavy:rofl:
     
  35. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you've ever thought to yourself that you might roll or loop an airplane I would encourage you to go do it once in an aerobatic airplane with an instructor - and then ask yourself "How would that have turned out if I'd done it in my 172 by myself?"

    I'll just say that most high time experienced pilots i've flown with get their brains switched off by being inverted even briefly. And, that's just speaking to the mental aspect of acro. There's a list of significant other details that become important as well when you start flying acro.
     
  36. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Pitts- you have a way of making aero training seem more and more appealing...either that or I just have a predilection to it anyway.
     
  37. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    A 172 will do a loop just fine and within it's rated G tolerance. A loop can be nicely done working between +3 and +.5 Gs. It has plenty of power, not a problem. You can fly an entire aerobatic routine under 3.2gs which is entirely within the 172s abilities.

    What the 172 does not have is the structural reserve to come back from serious errors. You take an Extra 300 or similar, you cannot really break the plane in the air because you'll black out first. A 172 or other Normal category planes, you don't get that margin. Aerobatic is 6g minimum because they know you're gonna mess up every now and then and you need to be able to safely recover.
     
  38. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    The most interesting pilot in the world would never mess up.
    :goofy:
     
  39. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Absolutely!!!!!

    You need to see and experience it done correctly, first. Too many "HOLY CRAP" opportunities for your inexperienced brain to seize up during. I'm glad I did a bunch of crazy stuff in an Extra300L with a 15000hr military pilot in the backseat. Very eye opening, and I know my brain would have fried out if I had done it by myself, without experience. (Not so much the roll, that's easy and fun, but pulling Gs, and knowing what 3.8g feels like, skidded stalls, inverted spins, you know, that kinda stuff.)
     
  40. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sure he would - if only because of the fact that he shows no fear at being out of control due to his supreme confidence in his skill and judgement.

    Now, imagine what it would that would feel like. Go to a competent aerobatic instructor and buy a couple of hours and you'll no longer have to imagine it.