Since I finally finished with my tailwheel endorsement and solo meant I could move back to aerobatics. I was beyond excited. I was watching the weather closely even the day before, but you know how accurate the forecasts are (it’s always different). Rain threatened the area since Saturday, but Monday rolled around and no rain. It was slightly windy, but at the time of the lesson it didn’t look terrible so I went without calling.
As I pulled up I saw my CFI walking away towards the hangars. I checked in with the office and went to hunt him down. Luckily, I remember where the Citabria is kept so it wasn’t too hard. His son was out helping and promised him he would get to taxi in the airplane. He’s so adorable that I didn’t mind the extra walking!
We filled her up with a little gas, since too much would put us overweight for aerobatics, and headed out. He did the take off since it had been awhile since I was in the Citabria and it handles quite differently than the Cub.
We hardly eased into aerobatics unlike last time when turns gradually steepening, stalls and spin. We did about two turns and then straight into loops! This lessons he started to critique my execution of the moves rather than just me getting the simple idea of them. Loops, I wasn’t pulling back hard enough in the entry. I kept also wanting to let the stick go neutral at the top of the loop, but he said to keep it held back all the way through the top. The wind was also picking up slightly so making sure the entry was nice and straight because more of a chore.
Next up, hammerheads. I really enjoy this maneuver. I feel on this one I need to anticipate a bit better. I wanted to push the stick forward later than he was telling me, but if I followed that instinct I’m sure I wouldn’t be vertical but beginning a loop.
I learned a move we didn’t do last night, the Half Cuban and Cuban Eight. Half Cuban is a lot like an Immelmann and I had to ask the difference when he first explained it to me (I didn’t study before the lesson!) An Immelmann you roll at 1/2 way through the loop, while Half Cuban you’re not rolling until 5/8 of the way though the loop. The reason for this is the angle you’re headed when you roll out of the inversion will help you build speed when you’re doing a Cuban Eight to do the maneuver again.
I enjoy these types of moves because you’re upside down just long enough to start falling out of your seat. Though I made sure I buckled up tight this time so I could continue to reach the rudder pedals. After a few Half Cubans, he suggested I do a Cuban Eight, which is just two Half Cubans in a row and it looks like a figure eight.
There have been times in both lessons where I just can’t control myself and I let out a “whoo!” during the Cuban Eight that happened, it was just too fun! I have to admit, this move made me feel dizzy afterwards and my CFI called the lesson (he didn’t ask if I felt okay, it was getting to be close to an hour anyway).
As always, I can’t stop smiling after one of these lessons and can not wait for the next one! This was one of the best decisions in my flight training and will make me a more capable and confident pilot.
Has there been any of your training that has brought around confidence in your flying?
Now, only to get the money to buy a Pitts and compete in aerobatics…