Reasons To Hang Around A Flight School Looking Bored

So, I had a whole update post that I had ready for today, but I’m going to save that for another day, because I just had too much fun today. See, when have time between lessons, and you’re sitting around at your flight school studying, or watching planes land, or otherwise looking like you have no pressing engagements, every once in a while somebody says, hey, do you want to come sit in on a lesson with another student, we have an empty seat in this four seater plane. That happened last week, when I got to ride with them in the Seminole while another student got a multi-IFR lesson. That was fun, got a bunch of nice pics of Winnipeg from above. They did a couple of engine failure simulations. We saw a bright yellow an red water bomber, and the instructor picked the moment the student was most distracted by it to cut the left engine.

Today though, it was the Citabria. And it wasn’t another student’s lesson, it was one of the instructors doing his aerobatic instructors rating. And yes, this is going exactly where it sounds like it’s going. The Citabria is a plane with tandem seating – two seats, one behind the other. The instructor sits in the back, so he’s practicing flying from the back of the plane, but for weight and balance, that plane can’t be flown without someone in the front seat – the balance would be off. It’s fine to have just one person in it, but they have to be in the front seat.

Oh my gods, it was so much fun. I was a little nervous about it at first, until we did the first loop, and then it was just pure fun. Loops, rolls, barrel rolls, hammerhead turns, cuban eights, and a snap roll – also known as a “holy shit roll” because there’s no lead in to it, and you can do it when your passenger’s not expecting it. (No, I’m not planning on doing it to my mother when she comes to Canada and I get to take her flying – I swear….)

I assumed I was just going to be a body along for the ride, but since this guy was already an instructor, and he’s supposed to be learning how to teach someone else how to do this stuff – yep, I got to take the stick (Citabria has a stick instead of a yolk – it’s old school) and I learned how to do a loop and an aileron roll (not expertly, by any stretch, but we did not die and the plane was upright at the end without the instructor’s help).

I have officially made an aeroplane go upside down.

(On purpose.)

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11 responses to “Reasons To Hang Around A Flight School Looking Bored

    • The trick to a lot the the aerobatics is if you have enough speed, you don’t end up stalling and losing control of the plane. As long as that doesn’t happen, and you’ve got enough altitude, you can recover from anything fairly easy, if not gracefully. what gets scary is doing stalls and spins where you force the plane into a state where the ailerons stop working and then you have to regain control without aileron input, when every instinct tells you to use the ailerons.

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