Aerobatics

Gliders doing Aerobatics?

Yes, its true! Gliders can perform a huge range of aerobatic manoeuvers and aerobatic pilots compete regularly against one another in competitions. Almost all training gliders are classified as semi-aerobatic and are capable of a range of manoeuvers including loops, chandelles and spiral dives. Indeed, before a pilot can go solo they must demonstrate spin entry and recovery, which is classified as an aerobatic manoeuver.

More advanced training gliders such as the Puchacz and K21 are capable of inverted flight and the associated, rolls and inverted spins, outside turns and other lunacies. Specialist aerobatic twin and single seaters are also available, but their tendency to sacrifice all soaring ability in search of more aerobatic performance tends to send soaring purists into fits of anguish, but then ±9g is a bigger envelope than Eurofighter!

How can I fly Aerobatics?

All aerobatics results in height loss, so it is essential to begin with sufficient height, either by aerotow or thermalling. Perhaps, therefore, the best time to aerobat is at the end of a long thermalling flight. Your instructor will probably revel in your sudden madness and upon HASSLL checks answer your request by throwing your machine into a series of gut wrenching loops and chandelles. Having, experienced upwards of 3g you will want to do more and more. And if that isn't enough then there's always the open canopy T21 to have a go in.

Loops, Chandelles, Spins; What's all that about then?

Loop
Speed up, pull back and watch green turn to blue. In a typical loop the glider will pull 3 or 4g.

Chandelle
Speed up, pull back, climb at 45°. and turn at the top through 180°. Not loads of g but good fun.

Stall Turn
Speed up, pull back, ease off, wait, apply loads of rudder. Also what happens when a Chandelle goes wrong!

Humpty Bump
A loop with straight sides. Fly straight up, over the top then straight down. Canopy-up hurts!

Flick Roll
A fast roll, created by pulling back on the stick and kicking the rudder.

Cuban
A loop with a twist. In either the up or down 45°.

Slow Roll
A roll using ailerons, strap hanging over the top.

Barrel Roll
Basically a drawn out loop. Positive g all the way.

Spin
A stall with yaw to give it its technical definition or in laymen's terms an uncontrolled plummet towards the ground!

Tail Slide
Speed up, pull back, ease off, wait, enjoy. Although not for long as it can result in control surface removal during this manoeuver: then its time to resort to the chute if you have enough height...

Inverted Loop
Like a loop but upside down. Obvious really and loads of negative g.

Beat-up/Competion finish
Speed up, speed up some more, and fly close to the ground, wowing your onlookers.
Turn speed into height, turn if flown downwind, (or Chandelle, Loop etc), pop the brakes and land. Watch out for ground rush as you whistle by.