04 November 2013

Sportsman Known Flight at KHWY

Video of my 2nd and final flight in the 2013 East Coast Aerobatic Contest at KHWY:

See if you can spot all the mistakes! Thanks to Julie for posting.

28 September 2013

Still Alive (and flying)

It is not hard to believe that it has been over a year since my last post. Many things have conspired to keep me from flying as much as I'd like, but I have resolved to fly (and write) more this fall and winter.

I've continued to gain aerobatic experience--however irregularly--and have flown 3 IAC contests this season in the Sportsman category. I flew the beloved Super Decathlon in two contests and competed once in the Extra 200 at KWWD. Currency breeds proficiency, and I've had a rough time with both in competition this season. My flying really sucked in the first two contests!

I was absolutely giddy to fly the Extra in June, a one-time opportunity; I pored over the Pilot's Information Manual in advance of my first flight. While some consider it to be a dog when compared to other composite monoplanes like the Giles 202, the Extra 200 has the highest performance in every dimension--roll rate, etc.--of anything I've had the good fortune to fly a sequence in an aerobatic box.

The stick forces in the Extra are extremely light and provide little feedback, in stark contrast to the Super D where my right arm is usually exhausted after an hour of acro. That made it easy to high-speed stall or load the wings more than optimally during pulls. I was advised not to judge the g-load by how it felt in the seat. This is because the pilot sits reclined, and what felt like a 4g pull in the Decathlon is really close to 6g in the Extra.

The roll rate was startlingly quick--so rapid that my hands and feet were far behind the airplane. With very little practice time before the contest, I elected to slow the level roll down in order for my body to keep up. Friends later accused me of flying it like a Decathlon when they saw that. Yep. So it goes. I made several large mental blunders in competition which caused me to get overloaded. My IQ dropped at least 50 points, and I reverted to flying the airplane with Decathlon-like control inputs. The results were embarrassing and humbling, but I am grateful to have gotten the experience to fly such a cool airplane.
Yours truly

I flew better in the local contest earlier this month. I put up a couple of good rolls, but the judges caught me "scooping" the nose up during the first 30 degrees of roll. I need to work on that. I also flew the best hammerhead of my short acro "career."

Thanks for reading!  

Disclaimer: I am not a flight instructor, I know nothing, and nothing here should be interpreted as advice. Do not attempt to teach yourself aerobatics. Find a good aerobatic instructor or school and have fun safely.