Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


Making the World Go Around

July 23-28, 1975

... and upside down. At least as seen throught the cockpit window. Of course, I'm talking about aerobatics. While I was at flight school I took their optional aerobatics course. I think aerobatics instruction for every professional pilot is highly desirable. Of course, a CFI student needs to have a logbook endorsed for demonstrated spin recovery. But they go out and do a few spins with an instructor in a spin-worthy airplane, and then never again do anything more crazy than unusual attitude recoveries. If they're ever in a real-world flying situation where they see the green and brown "up" and the blue and white "down" it's a picture they've never seen before. And don't say it'll never happen. I seem to recall a fatal accident not too long ago attributed to a wake vortex roll-over.

Enough sermonette and more logbook story: Lonnie R., who had given me the mountain-flying course, was also my instructor for the aerobatics course. This was scheduled after I passed my Commercial check ride. We flew it in a Bellanca Citabria 7GCBC, which is the higher-powered version of the Citabria in which I'd gotten my tailwheel endorsement (see the "Little Grass Green Airplane" story). We both wore parachutes, as required by FARs. The course lessons were conducted over multiple flights, only several of which are represented in the logbook image displayed here. We began with some fairly basic maneuvers, such as wingovers, loops and rolls, and as I mastered them, we advanced to more complex maneuvers such as cuban eights, barrel rolls and Immermans. I completed the course without vomitting in the airplane even once. Yes, I did get a little dizzy and somewhat nauseous at times, but that's par for the course, and I never had to use the "sick sack" or clean out the cockpit after landing.

As a result of my aerobatics course I became the designated instructor for giving CFI students their spin endorsements. Also, I took the opportunity to spin every aircraft type certified for spins that I flew. The new Piper PA-38 "Tommyhawk" was introduced while I was still with my Piper FBO and I spun the airplane. To report that it doesn't spin worth pig crap, as was later found to be an issue for Piper and that aircraft type. Yes, I do think aerobatics exposure is a plus for any pilot, and especially desirable for professional pilots (to go sermonizing again), and I have to wonder how many accidents might have been prevented by such training?



References for Non-Pilots: