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All I Wanted For Christmas Were Inverted Spins



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 27th 04, 08:01 PM
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Default All I Wanted For Christmas Were Inverted Spins

After having two acro lessons cancelled last week due to winter weather
in the Northeast I had two lessons scheduled last Wednesday before
heading to Alabama for the holidays. It was a perfect day for flying,
but of course we had a dead mag so I went from two lessons to none.

But I had the foresight to schedule a lesson with Greg Koontz, an
aerobatic instructor and airshow performer here in Alabama. The temp
was in the mid 50's and it was a perfect flying day. I arrived at
Greg's newly built house at 9am, which is also a bed and breakfast
where his students sometimes stay when coming in from out of town. Next
to the house is a 4000' grass strip with one end terminating at his
hangar. We spent about an hour talking about flying in general, and
aerobatics specifically. We then headed out to the hangar to take out
his beautiful 2003 Super Decathlon. Because he is sponsored by ACA, the
plane is top notch.

But enough of that. Since he doesn't have his own pump we had to make a
quick flight over to Pell City to fuel up. On the way over we did some
slows rolls. Almost immediately he was able to see and feel some of my
errors and offered immediate feedback. I think most of the errors were
probably due to the pressure of trying to impress the new instructor.
His comment was that since I'm still new to aerobatics I'm thinking too
much about the mechanics and my eyes are more inside than they should
be. He suggested that I look way out on the horizon during the roll and
to do what I needed to keep the nose where it should be. I also wasn't
releasing the forward pressure quickly enough after coming through
inverted and back to upright . This resulted in me pushing the nose too
far down once I approached upright. After applying a few of his
suggestions I could see the difference in my rolls almost immediately,
as could he.

After refueling we departed Pell City and climbed to about 5500'. We
did a series of power on stalls, a few falling leaf stalls, and then
two upright spins. Then we spent some time doing inverted work. I took
advantage of Greg demonstrating an inverted maneuver to really nail the
inverted flight attitude in my head. I found a rivet on the glareshield
and used it to help maintain the inverted flight attitude. From that
point on Greg commented that my inverted flight improved tremendously.

Then he asked if I were ready to try the inverted spins. I replied yes
with some hesitation and then put the plane inverted while he pulled
the power back. As the plane started to buffet I kicked the rudder and
off it went. It was a really strange sensation at first as it seems the
plane goes through a number of gyration before settling in the spin. It
passed through upright, rolled over slowly almost to a stop, then
suddenly started to wind up quickly in the inverted attitude. I kept my
focus on the nose and the direction of yaw was readily apparent. It
wasn't nearly as disorienting as I expected.

But my mistakes were that I wasn't getting the elevator far enough
forward and on the recovery my muscle memory from upright spins was
kicking in and I wanted to bring the stick forward. Now I can
understand why it's stressed to bring the stick to neutral instead of
forward or aft. The SD doesn't come out of an inverted spin as quickly
as an upright spin, but I expected this as we had discussed the
aerodynamic differences between the two cases.

On one of the spins I released forward stick too soon, allowing the
plane to really spin up and flatten out while inverted. During the
ground session Greg told about another student that had done this and I
made the same mistake. However, around the fourth spin I managed to get
all the control inputs right. I also think I experienced grey out for
the first time while going from negative G to positive G in the
pullout. But overall I thought they were a blast, but I can see how
they can be deadly.

Before heading back we did a few loops and hammerheads, and then Greg
demonstrated a few other maneuvers for me. I had a blast and will
probably fly with Greg whenever I'm in Alabama to hone my skills more
to entry competition levels.

Ads
  #2  
Old December 27th 04, 08:09 PM
Peter MacPherson
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Default

Great pirep. Wasn't there an article about him in one of the flying
mags? Can't remember which one.

Pete


wrote in message
oups.com...
After having two acro lessons cancelled last week due to winter weather
in the Northeast I had two lessons scheduled last Wednesday before
heading to Alabama for the holidays. It was a perfect day for flying,
but of course we had a dead mag so I went from two lessons to none.

But I had the foresight to schedule a lesson with Greg Koontz, an
aerobatic instructor and airshow performer here in Alabama. The temp
was in the mid 50's and it was a perfect flying day. I arrived at
Greg's newly built house at 9am, which is also a bed and breakfast
where his students sometimes stay when coming in from out of town. Next
to the house is a 4000' grass strip with one end terminating at his
hangar. We spent about an hour talking about flying in general, and
aerobatics specifically. We then headed out to the hangar to take out
his beautiful 2003 Super Decathlon. Because he is sponsored by ACA, the
plane is top notch.

But enough of that. Since he doesn't have his own pump we had to make a
quick flight over to Pell City to fuel up. On the way over we did some
slows rolls. Almost immediately he was able to see and feel some of my
errors and offered immediate feedback. I think most of the errors were
probably due to the pressure of trying to impress the new instructor.
His comment was that since I'm still new to aerobatics I'm thinking too
much about the mechanics and my eyes are more inside than they should
be. He suggested that I look way out on the horizon during the roll and
to do what I needed to keep the nose where it should be. I also wasn't
releasing the forward pressure quickly enough after coming through
inverted and back to upright . This resulted in me pushing the nose too
far down once I approached upright. After applying a few of his
suggestions I could see the difference in my rolls almost immediately,
as could he.

After refueling we departed Pell City and climbed to about 5500'. We
did a series of power on stalls, a few falling leaf stalls, and then
two upright spins. Then we spent some time doing inverted work. I took
advantage of Greg demonstrating an inverted maneuver to really nail the
inverted flight attitude in my head. I found a rivet on the glareshield
and used it to help maintain the inverted flight attitude. From that
point on Greg commented that my inverted flight improved tremendously.

Then he asked if I were ready to try the inverted spins. I replied yes
with some hesitation and then put the plane inverted while he pulled
the power back. As the plane started to buffet I kicked the rudder and
off it went. It was a really strange sensation at first as it seems the
plane goes through a number of gyration before settling in the spin. It
passed through upright, rolled over slowly almost to a stop, then
suddenly started to wind up quickly in the inverted attitude. I kept my
focus on the nose and the direction of yaw was readily apparent. It
wasn't nearly as disorienting as I expected.

But my mistakes were that I wasn't getting the elevator far enough
forward and on the recovery my muscle memory from upright spins was
kicking in and I wanted to bring the stick forward. Now I can
understand why it's stressed to bring the stick to neutral instead of
forward or aft. The SD doesn't come out of an inverted spin as quickly
as an upright spin, but I expected this as we had discussed the
aerodynamic differences between the two cases.

On one of the spins I released forward stick too soon, allowing the
plane to really spin up and flatten out while inverted. During the
ground session Greg told about another student that had done this and I
made the same mistake. However, around the fourth spin I managed to get
all the control inputs right. I also think I experienced grey out for
the first time while going from negative G to positive G in the
pullout. But overall I thought they were a blast, but I can see how
they can be deadly.

Before heading back we did a few loops and hammerheads, and then Greg
demonstrated a few other maneuvers for me. I had a blast and will
probably fly with Greg whenever I'm in Alabama to hone my skills more
to entry competition levels.



  #3  
Old December 28th 04, 05:52 AM
Robert M. Gary
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Posts: n/a
Default

Inverted spins are interesting. I find that from the back seat (CFI
seat) the harness isn't as good and I need to press against the ceiling
to get on the rudders.

  #4  
Old December 29th 04, 08:40 PM
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Default

Pete,

I didn't see the article, but I will look to see if I can find
something.

Dave

 




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