Why fly Aerobatics? A good question and here are two very good answers.
“Speed is life. Speed is fun, and so is tumbling and floating. One essential to all who fly aerobatics is love of cutting through the air in way that most never experience, seeking a freedom in release, in motion for its own sake. Reactions have to be split-second in timing, demanding the most from the person in control. Being tuned to the inner melody, the heartbeat of the airplane, the engine, gives us the quality of being in the moment. In the midst of an aerial performance I am elevated into the dimension of space and I feel more than a person, an integral person-machine with powers greater than I possessed on the ground - a bird , winged human – in reality, a fusion of fire and air."
Wagstaff, Fire And Air, 1997 Chicago Review
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Why General Aviation Pilots Should Get Aerobatic Training
by Budd Davisson
We're going to climb out on a limb here and make a flat statement: Anyone who flies an airplane of any kind and doesn't know how to recover quickly from an attitude involving a bank angle approaching or exceeding 90 degrees is depending on luck to get them to old age. All aircraft, ultralight on up, are absolutely capable of being forced into bank and pitch angles exceeding 90 degrees by either the pilot, or much worse, by outside forces. This is especially true of many sport type aircraft. In the main, sport aircraft are smaller, so are more easily upset by outside forces. They are also possessed of some of the attributes we label high performance, which means they roll fast and may have quick, sometimes unannounced, stall characteristics.That being the case, sport pilots are depending on the inherent stability of their airplane and their own luck to avoid bad situations.
Unfortunately, a majority of the pilot population considers aerobatics to be a highly specialized skill. However, those versed in the skill of aerobatics don't view it as a different skill at all. It is simply the basic art of flying carried to its logical extreme so it applies to all flight attitudes rather than being limited to an extremely narrow band represented by limited bank and pitch attitudes. To many pilots, it simply does not make any sense to drive a machine which is entirely capable of getting them into difficult situations and not know how to either avoid or rectify those situations. It would be like driving a car and not knowing how to control a skid. It doesn't happen often, but, when it does ...
In the real world, the skills learned from aerobatics could be separated into two completely different categories of application. The most obvious would be in performing aerobatic maneuvers. However, that's far from being the most important value to taking aerobatic training. Being able to do a flawless four‑point roll is not actually necessary to be a good pilot. The second category where aerobatic skills fit and where they are necessary is in preventing dangerous situations from developing, chief among them being stall spin accidents and attitude upsets (the infamous airliner vortex scenario).
This last category is where aerobatics makes the most sense. Granted, gaining proficiency in doing perfect loops, rolls, may be where the fun lies, but they aren't the benefit. The benefits are subtle, almost unseen changes that take place in the pilot during training which result in a tremendous increase in his or her safety.
There are a huge number of areas in the pilot's skill package that expand rapidly while learning aerobatics but some of the most notable are:
Not a single one of these points is addressed specifically by the akro instructor, although they may be mentioned in the course of teaching maneuvers. Instead, the student develops the above traits without being told because it makes sense and because they are seeing how things actually work. The world past 90* is no longer an unknown to them so they begin to look around in it and learn things much the same way they did in the "normal" part of aviation.
airlines see value in this kind of training, it would seem logical that
every other pilot should too. An airplane is a cork floating in a fairly
placid sea and there is nothing to say it can't hit white water or be
pulled under by a passing boat wake. Anything can happen up there and a
pilot who isn't completely comfortable in all attitudes is a pilot who
is trusting the god's to keep him out of trouble. Why not give the gods
a hand and get enough training that you can help in determining your
fate. The gods will thank you. But not half as much as your family will.
**Reproduced from Sport Aerobatics Magazine, August 1997
Below is a link to Budd Davisson's website: