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Looping a 152
On Monday, September 9, 1996 at 3:00:00 AM UTC-4, Steve Watkins wrote:
Just a bit more on this. It is too bad that in most areas it is all but
impossible to find an aerobatic aircraft to rent. In my opinion, aerobatics
are a very important skill builder. Becoming proficient at it can give a person
the experience and training he/she may need to recover from an unusual
attitude without panic and overstressing the aircraft.
In my area I can rent a Citabria for $75 an hour so I guess I am lucky. I long for
a little more in the way of performance though. All right, I admit, I miss my
Navy days and the T34C.
The guy that gave me my first few lessons, was a Piedmont Pilot with over 25,000 hours. Don't know what the laws were 42 year ago, but he did the trick with the half a coke, he sit on the dash, did a barrel row and then a loop, and the can didn't move (I came to learn this is a fairly easy trick to pull off if you've got the hours). BTW he told me that it took years to do that, and for me not to try it.
All of that was fun and game and to get me interested in flying (my dad already owned the airplane but I had already wreck a couple of car and knew that the airplane was as forgiving as a car), but he did tell me something that saved my life several months later. I had soloed, done my cross countries, and was practicing for my check ride. The guys around the airport said the examiner in our area was big on stalls. When had a designated "practice" area about 10 miles SW of the airport and I had work on turning around a point, etc and decided to practice some stalls. I was about 220lbs as was my instructor. Well I was alone and only had a couple of hours of fuel left, and the performance was way up (also fairly cooled day with almost no humidity). I did a half dozen had about half throttle, no problem (BTW I had gone up to 5,000' to give myself a little margin too, about the second piece of advice that Piedmont Pilot gave me, "Altitude is your friend."
Well I decided to do a full power on stall. And honestly I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but I keep pulling back on the yoke and the plane just keep climbing and the nose keep getting higher and higher and NO STALL. I can't see any ground looking out the windshield, just blue sky, and I think the plane may have fallen over backwards (I had done full power on stalls with the instructor and gotta pretty steep, but we always fell straight down or slid off to the side or the other and went into a little spin, looking at the ground, opposite rudder, easy back on the yoke, no problem). But I think I was upside down, and the metal making that rumbling noise it does when your stalled, and I was absolutely disoriented and couldn't find the ground for a few seconds and when I did, again I think I was upside down (whether I was or wasn't I was disoriented!) I fought for maybe 10 seconds and could fairly call my attitude panicked for a few seconds. But then I remember one of the first things that Piedmont Pilot told me. "This is an inherently stable aircraft, if you even get in get off the controls and it will right itself. I let go of the yoke, told my feet off the pedals and in about 10 seconds I was flying wings levels and nose slightly down. I then had my bearings and pulled back on the yoke a little, but, since i had trimmed it up earlier, it would have probably even leveled it self off too had I given it a few more seconds.
So his first advice and the fact that I elected to give my self that 5,000 of margin is the reason I here today 42 years later.
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