Saturday, May 5, 2012

Aerobatics Training in a Zlin

As you have probably noticed, I have not been posting much lately.  It is NOT because I am flying less.  In fact, I have been flying quite a bit lately.  However, most of my flights were routine with nothing that I hadnt posted about before.  But this week, things really started to change!

After finishing the 50 states, I wanted to set a few more (new) goals, which you can see here.

This weekend, I decided was the first step!

I didn't have all of my international paperwork in order.  So a trip to a new island was out of the question (for now).  But a new aircraft type was totally possible.   With the help of Kathy Hirtz of WingOver Aerobatics, I got to log some VERY interesting time in a ZLIN 242L, which you can see below:

Notice the required parachute I was wearing!

This plane is a 200 hp, aerobatic plane that is capable of pulling +6 Gs and/or -3Gs!

But more importantly, I learned "how to fly" (again)! 

Aerobatic training was absolutely intense.  I started with a bunch of ground school and learned the intricacies of "hardcore" stick and rudder flying.  You are probably wondering what "hardcore" means in this context...

In "regular" training, which I did years ago, I learned all the basic of flight (pitch, roll, yaw etc) and all of the flight controls that the pilot had at his disposal (power, rudder, aileron, etc).  But with aerobatic training, you MUST learn all of the same material in greater detail and more by "feel" than by numbers on a gauge.

The Zlin was a great plane to learn aerobatics in.  Many aerobatics planes are tailwheels.  But the Zlin is a standard tricycle gear, which makes it a little more comfortable for most pilots to taxi and land.  The Zlin is also the polar opposite of the Cirrus I am accustomed to flying.  Kathy was  repeatedly reminding me to so stop looking at gauges inside the cockpit and focus my attention on "feeling" what the plane was doing outside the cockpit.

I am still not sure I totally understand it, but after a couple of hours, I am starting to get the hang of it! 

Kathy was really an amazing instructor!  Despite the numerous mistakes I made in the cockpit, she was totally calm and patient.  So far I know how to do Falling Leafs, Spins, Dutch Rolls, Wing Overs, and (my favorite) the Aileron Rolls.  You can see for yourself how my first lesson in the video below:

Can't wait for the next lesson, where I will learn how to more advanced maneuvers, such as a Hammerhead or a Cuban 8

I recorded everything from this lesson on video.  Hopefully, over the next couple of days, I will get a chance chance to edit the video and post it on Youtube.  Stay tuned for that...

== T.J.==

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