Aerobatics at Flights & Dreams
The RAF has always considered aerobatics to form an important part of the basic flying training. The skills learned and confidence gained in practising this discipline are expected to provide a safety net in the event of any unexpected events occurring in the future. In the early days of civilian training aerobatics also featured, but as the capabilities of training aircraft decreased this is now sadly no longer the case.
At Flights & Dreams we still think it important to teach aerobatics during basic training. In particular, we concentrate on the various recoveries from mis-executed manoeuvres, including all types of spin recovery.
The sport of aerobatics is becoming more popular and is recommended to anyone wishing to improve their flying skills. In this country competitions are run by the British Aerobatic Association whose chairman is Alan Cassidy, the most experienced instructor in Pitts Specials. It is largely from his book Better Aerobatics that we teach at Flights & Dreams.
Pitts Introductory Flight
Depending on your previous flying experience, it may be advisable to do a pre-course introductory flight. The purpose of the flight is to become sufficiently comfortable with the Pitts. This will ensure that you obtain the maximum benefit from the first flight of any course we offer.
Before embarking on any form of aerobatic training it is important to be comfortable with the recovery techniques from the possible spins that you may encounter. If you have not had any previous exposure to spinning we will introduce you to it as gently as possible. You may be surprised how docile the Pitts is during the early power off, one g spins. Another advantage of the Pitts in spin training is its high climb rate, which allows you to do a lot of spins in a short time. It is, therefore, more effective and also cost efficient, because you do not spend 95 percent of your time climbing back to the starting altitude for the next spin. For example, in a PA 38 you will do maybe 5 spins in 40 minutes flight. In the Pitts we do about 20 in that time. For an initial spin training program we suggest two flights of approximately forty minutes duration. During the first we cover a variety of advanced stalls before introducing you to the spin. If you have no tailwheel or Pitts experience you will need at least one prior flight to get the feel of the aircraft. For each flight, allow two hours on site to cover the time spent on briefing and debriefing.
If you wish to become familiar with more advanced spins such as flat, accelerated or inverted, we suggest a tailor made program. The extent of this will depend on the level of your experience, and on your own tolerance. Too much too soon is a good way to make people feel ill! We can make a judgement on this after an initial flight.
Beginners Aerobatic Course
Once comfortable with spinning it is time to learn some aerobatics. A reasonable target to set yourself is to be able to fly a beginners competition sequence. This normally includes a loop, a stall turn, a half cuban, a straight and level roll and a quarter clover or a steep turn.
It is realistic to expect to achieve some sort of standard at this in five hours; say eight flights of forty minutes. Once again allow two hours here to cover briefing and debriefing. As always, the time spent on the ground is at least as important as the time spent in the air.
Standard Aerobatic Course
The next stage includes more figures. To start, you will learn to fly a competition spin (to enter a spin from level flight and to recover on heading after up to 2 turns). Other figures you will be taught are hesitation rolls and loops, half loop / half roll, and humpty bumps. Initially you will train to fly these figures individually and then combine them with others to form short sequences, building up to a full sequence. If you have completed the beginners course you can expect to become reasonable competent after about 8 flights of 40 minutes. With previous tailwheel experience, after eight flights at this level, you could be capable of landing the Pitts by now. Generally though, a few sessions in the circuit are required before you will be happy with this.
Pitts Conversion Course
Many people want to learn how to land a Pitts. Firstly, however, it is necessary to learn how to fly one. The best way to do this, by far, is to start further up this page and learn by flying aerobatics. By acquiring the skills needed to fly the beginners sequence you will learn how to control the aeroplane with some confidence. Without this you will never land a Pitts. Once again, previous tailwheel time is an asset but not essential. It will just take longer.
Upset Training Course
If you are comfortable with aerobatics you will have no need for upset training. Your early efforts at that will have provided you with all the experience you need. The main purpose of upset training is to enable the pilot who does not have this experience to deal with situations involving unexpected flight attitudes without raising his pulse rate too much. We offer this course for those who wish to extend their handling skills without flying aerobatics. It includes recovery from a variety of stalls, spins, from inverted and from the vertical up and down. You will learn something in a couple of flights, but to build significant confidence you will need more time. We suggest three hours; that is five flights of the usual 35-40 minutes duration.
Beside the training packages, we can cater for a large variety of aerobatics training. The Pitts S2C has performance in hand to anything up to advanced level and like all Pitts Special is particularly suitable for exploring all types of gyroscopic (tumbling) manoeuvres. Please contact us if you are interested in any of these.
The usual training flight will be of 40 minutes duration. We will provide comprehensive briefing and debriefing, so you need to allow 2 hours on site.
Please find the prices for the offered packages below:
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice due to the fluctuating exchange rates and fuel prices.