Another one for fun: Establish a climb
at climb power and climb airspeed. Now,
pull off the power and do a 180-degree
turn. Note your altitude loss in feet. Good
info to have in your pilot bag of tricks.
A couple more “for fun” things. Never
mind the names—chandelles and lazy-eights and all that. Just maneuver the
airplane to your comfort level. Nose up,
slow, 45-degree bank or so, turn, let the
nose fall through the horizon, and then
roll out 90 degrees—exactly—from where
you started (use a road or something). Do
it again the other way. What’s the purpose? Just to explore and become
comfortable with what your airplane will
do. And here’s the deal: The more you do
it, the more you’ll do it. Proficiency and
comfort increase confidence. You’ll
become a little more adventuresome each
time; you’ll want to better your performance. And you can because you know
you can—you’ve done it before and are
comfortable with it. And that, basically, is
what this discussion is really all about.
This was taught to me early on at Sean
D. Tucker’s aerobatics school, Tutima
Academy, in the Pitts. Because aerobatic
pilots so often have no horizon, they have
to be able to reference a point in space.
Here’s what you do to practice that: Pull
the nose of the airplane above the horizon
and scribe a square in the sky with it. As
in: nose right (rudder), nose up (elevator),
nose left (rudder), nose down (elevator),
then nose back right (rudder) to where
you started. Now draw a triangle. Now a
circle (that’s a little trickier). Make the
airplane do what you want it to do with
the precision you demand of yourself. It’s
about practice, and it’s about pride.
My airplane (an RV- 8) will do recreational aerobatics, so I do them. (None of
the twisting, tumbling, gyroscopic stuff
like the Pitts does, of course.) I’m not
going to go into a dissertation about aerobatics; I’m not qualified to do so. I just
want to mention something I do for fun.
I’ll come out of a loop with excess airspeed so I like to bleed off the speed by
pulling the nose to the vertical, slow, then
“walk” the nose around with the rudder
to a vertical downline, and pull out again.
And I’ll just keep doing that two or three
times in a row. What’s that called? Not
sure. It’s not really a hammerhead, per se.
It’s just something I do; it’s dancing…one,
two, three…float up, over, and down. It’s
just fun. And you can’t do it in an idiot
automobile. But I digress.
I’ll add this, though: When you want to
do an aerobatic maneuver to a standard,
check out the International Aerobatic
Club website, www.IAC.org. Lots and lots
One thing’s for sure: The more
you practice, the better you’ll fly.
That’s just how it works.
The altimeter needle needs another little nudge to get on the five.
of good stuff there about standards, aero-
batics, and flying in general.
Back in the traffic pattern now, pull off
the power opposite the touchdown point
and see if you can touch down on a prese-lected spot on the runway. I know,
sometimes traffic doesn’t allow it, but
when you can, practice it. It’s a very good
skill to have come engine failure time.
Note how fast the ground is coming up at
you when you can’t add power, if you find
yourself ending up short of your touchdown point. The tendency is to pull back
on the yoke—and you know that’s not
right. Just make a mental note of that.
Not for an exam, for you. That way you’re
less likely to be surprised and more likely
to do the right thing should, someday,
power be lost.
Just throwin’ it out there, m’friends.
Stuff to do, stuff to practice, stuff to think
about. One thing’s for sure: The more you
practice, the better you’ll fly. That’s just
how it works. You may not be able to fly
all you want, but you can sure make the
best of the flying you do. Also, it’s about
feeling good about your flying.
Lauran Paine Jr., EAA 582274, is a retired military
pilot and retired airline pilot. He built and flies an RV- 8
and has owned a Stearman and a Champ. Learn more
about Lauran at his website, www.ThunderBumper.com.