Friday, November 6, 2009

Sport Aerobatics Magazine - safety articles

There have been some interesting articles in Sport Aerobatics magazine this year.

One in the October issue that I have just received: “Making Safer Takeoffs”

“... The overabundance of horsepower and the ability to climb out at an obscene angle is a great way to demonstrate one of the highest-performance maneuvers of the entire flight. … As aerobatic airplanes have become more powerful over the years, excess horsepower has seduced many aerobatic pilots into flight profiles that will not tolerate an engine failure. …
let's say you are at 300 feet above ground level (AGL) after takeoff and the engine quits cold … Your airspeed is 90 mph … and your climb angle is 30 degrees. Wait about two seconds, because that's your typical reaction time in spite of what you might think … As you shove the stick full forward, the airspeed will continue to drop back … Now you are sinking and stalling … Now look at your energy state. You have no airspeed to work with, and you are going down rapidly … You need a descent angle of about 30 degrees to start building airspeed … You're going through 150 feet now with the ground coming up fast … Either way you are out of options and you will hit the ground at more than 20 g's, plenty hard enough to ….

Get some altitude someday and try it...even when pulling the engine back to idle power, you will be in for a surprising altitude loss, but nothing compared to a surprise engine failure. … Recognise a steep climbout for what it is: a deviation from established safe procedures. … Observers may then recognise you as one who really does know how to handle a high-performance airplane.”

Another in May, the annual safety issue: “Why it's important to follow briefed contest operating procedures”

“ … Pilots taking off were briefed to fly an upwind leg followed by a right turn into the holding area when clear of the runway. They were instructed not to perform “zooming” (an extended ground effect followed by a steep rapid climb) takeoffs. …. The incident pilot taking off performed a zooming takeoff during which he performed a sharp steep-banked 90 degree right turn at approximately mid-field. … The collision courses of the two aircraft were visible to most people at the contest …

As aerobatic pilots, we are amongst the pinnacle of skilled aviators. As an organisation of aerobatic pilots, our goal should be to always conduct ourselves in a manner that is an example for and the envy of other vaiators. Where there is an aerobatic contest, there should be pilots marvelling at the decorum of our well oiled machine. That is not possible unless everyone practices the superior judgement that sets a superior pilot apart from a pilot with merely superior skills.

The primary goal of contest organizers is to send everyone home in the same number of pieces that they showed up in, namely one. ...”

I wonder how many aerobatic pilots even bother to read them or take any notice?

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