Aerobatics - 2008
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Decathlon
Decathlon
Decathlon cockpit
Parachute
Inverted
Decathlon
Approach


I was in Massachusetts, at Executive Flyers, west of Boston, for a course of aerobatic flying.


Why aerobatics? The official reason (the one I tell the missis), is that it makes you a better pilot - you're able to recover from unusual situations.


..unofficially, it's just rather fun.
Decathlon

Decathlon
Unfortunately, it's a difficult thing to photograph - so these action shots (red plane) are from my simulator.


I'm using Microsoft Flight Simulator X here, with a RealAir Decathlon aeroplane that I bought separately.


[Picture: Microsoft FSX]

There's not much in the cockpit. The instructor sits behind with access to the main flight controls only and no gauges.


The black barrel under the instrument panel is the inverted fuel system - it provides two minutes of fuel when inverted.
Decathlon cockpit

Parachute
Unlike regular flying, aerobatics pilots wear parachutes. The extra stresses and strains of aerobatic flight increase the likelihood of a wing breaking off.

The Decathlon is a lovely plane to fly - light, responsive and very capable.
One significant difference compared with a more common Cessna 152 is that it's a tail-dragger, which makes the landing technique somewhat different.


[Picture: Microsoft FSX]
Inverted

Decathlon

Approach
Approaching Hanscom airfield, west of Boston.


[Picture: Microsoft FSX]

We worked our way through inverted flying, rolls, loops, Immelmans, and even a hammerhead.


A hammerhead involves pulling up sharply into a vertical climb, climbing as far as airspeed allows, tipping the plane around a wingtip and then flying straight down before levelling out to track back along the original course.


The "straight down" part is shown here (and it's surprising just how fast the speed picks up!).


[Picture: Microsoft FSX]



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