Basics on Competition Aerobatics

Yes, there are many “types” of aerobatic (or interchangeably “acro”) flying.  What we call “gentleman’s aerobatics” is done purely for enjoyment and a bit of thrill.  That is probably the most common kind of acro, performed in anything legally capable of anything more than right-side-up flying.  It requires basic training, lots of altitude and has no real criteria.  Most people perform rolls, loops, hammerheads and other basic maneuvers with no real worry about how they would look from the ground.  Precision is not critical, but many pilots still like to make their figures feel and look nice.

Competition acro is very different.  The figures are basically combinations of the same lines and circles, but precision counts. Verticals must look vertical, as do 45 degree lines.  Loops and portions of loops must appear round.  Check out the video below and we shall reconvene on the other side.

Did you notice how my lines weren’t exactly vertical?  Notice I wrote “must look” and “appear” and not “be.” Fascinating thing about aerobatic competition is it only matters how it looks to the judges, not from inside the airplane!  My airplane has about 3 degrees of incidence.  That means that if the wings are perfectly vertical, the fuselage is 3 degrees positive.  The judges tend to look at the fuselage and not the wings.  Therefore to look vertical, I actually have to be slightly negative, or on my back.

Same goes for looping portions.  If they feel round in the airplane, they probably do not look round from the judges line.  The only way to learn what looks right is to practice with ground choaching or critique.

This sort blog only begins to scratch the surface.  There is so much more!  Most importantly: quality coaching, instruction, safe and legal area, well maintained airplane, parachutes and a good plan are absolutely necessary for safe aerobatics.cropped-b5701557-0d71-4528-adae-48102b160b53.jpeg

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