Monday, May 21, 2018

A Day of Aerobatic Training

I recently took YC, my MiniNimbus, up to WIlliams to get a bit of work done on the glider and the trailer.  I hate to drive all that way just to drop off the glider and come back home.  So, as I’ve done several times before, I decided to stay and take a couple of aerobatic flights with one of their aerobatic instructors.

MDM Fox.
In the past I’d flown their ASK-21, which is good for most aerobatic maneuvers, except for spins, which are prohibited.  I’ve wanted to fly their MDM Fox, which is a purpose-built aerobatic glider, but it had not been available during the previous visits.  So I was very excited to learn that the Fox was available for my flights on this visit.

Nope.  Not a glass panel.  It's a holder for the card reminding
the pilot of the planned maneuvers!

My instructor on this day was Ben Mayes, son of Rex and Noelle Mayes, the founders and owners of WIlliams Soaring, Inc.  Ben is a dynamic young guy, and I found him to be a very good instructor.

I took two flights with him.  On the first, we worked first on spins, then we did a set of loops, then several rolls, a couple of  chandelles, and then a few more rolls. Then it was time to go land the aircraft. 

Here is a link to a GoPro video of the flight. There is a fair part of the beginning that is us on tow, releasing, and making some clearing turns.  The actual aerobatic work starts somewhere around 2.5 to 3 minutes into the video.

 Aerobatic flight #1

I’ve had spin training before, in an L-23 at Air Sailing, and I’ve worked on loops and chandelles during prior visits.  So I was getting the hang of those pretty well (although my loops need a lot of work if they are ever to be round).  The rolls, well, not so good. I keep dropping the nose about halfway through the roll.  Guess I’ll have to go back and have Ben teach me some more.

In the second flight Ben introduced me to the “Humpty Bump.” This cool maneuver starts with a dive to pick up sufficient speed, then a leveling off to a bit of horizontal flight; once the horizontal line is established you pull into a vertical up line. Just before the energy is expended, you pull back on the stick and go inverted “over the top” and then take a vertical down line, and then pull out to the horizontal.  Essentially, it is similar to the loop, except where the loop resembles an “O” the humpty-bump resembles an upside down “U”.  I found establishing the line vertically downward in the humpty-bump to be the most thrilling of the maneuvers I’ve worked on to date.

Here is a link to a video of the second flight.   Second Aerobatic Flight  

Great fun!  I highly recommend this!

-Van Henson

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