Introduction to Aerobatic Aircraft

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  • Topic: Aerobatic maneuver, Aerobatics, Aerial maneuvers
  • Pages : 28 (10196 words )
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  • Published : December 25, 2010
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Introduction to aerobatic aircraft
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. To the general public, aerobatics are synonymous with stunt flying. This is very untrue however, since aerobatic flying involves precisely defined manoeuvres in specially constructed aircraft, limiting risks to the maximum. Aerobatic championships are always flown above a predetermined height, so in case something goes wrong there is always time to react. At air shows on the contrary, pilots fly in relatively close proximity to the ground limiting recovery time in case of misjudgment or technical problems. Aerobatic maneuvers flown in a jet powered aircraft are limited in scope as they cannot take advantage of the gyroscopic forces that a propeller driven aircraft can exploit. Jet powered aircraft also tend to fly much faster which increases the size of the figures and the length of time which the pilot has to withstand increased g-forces. Jet aerobatic teams often fly in formations which further restricts the maneuvers that can be safely flown Most of the aerobatic machines are relatively small but high-powered. Modern construction techniques and composite materials have dramatically increased the aircraft's capabilities in recent years, up to the extent that the pilot becomes the limiting factor.

History of aerobatic
During the first world air meet, at Rheims, France, in August of 1909, Eugène Lefebvre entertained the crowd with what was probably the first aerobatic performance. It was made up entirely of dives and steep banked turns, but at a time when seeing a machine in flight was a great novelty, Lefebvre's show was undoubtedly quite a spectacle. (In September, Lefebvre became the first pilot to die in a crash.) While similar demonstrations took place at air meets during the next several years, stunt flying didn't really develop any further until 1913, when Adolphe Pégoud was hired by French aviator-designer Louis Blériot to test and display the maneuverability of the Blériot XI design. On Sept. 1, Pégoud made the first inverted flight, which had been considered impossible by many. Three weeks later, he added several more tricks to his repertoire, including a vertical Figure S, tail slides, flick turns, and a full 360-degree loop. At the time, it was thought that Pégoud was the first pilot to loop the loop, but it transpired that a Russian Army lieutenant, Petr Nikolaevich Nesterov, had done it on Sept. 9 over Kiev. Nesterov was first arrested for placing Army property at risk, but was soon declared a hero and promoted to captain.

Pégoud went to England in late September to give a series of demonstrations over Brooklands Race Course and British pilots were soon performing loops and other stunts. One of them, B. C. Hucks, teamed with Gustave Hamel of France to give a stunt display at an airshow on March 13, 1914. Hucks performed eight consecutive loops and Hamel did something described as "a pirouette on the tip of a wing," most likely a stall turn. Back in France, Pierre Chanteloup had advanced the art even farther, performing side slips, inverted dives, outside loops, and a spectacular effect he called a "tourbillon dive" in which his plane spun around its axis during a headlong dive from which he pulled out at the last possible moment. America's first stunt flyer was Lincoln Beachey, who began his aerial career flying balloons and dirigibles. In 1911, he was hired by Glenn Curtiss in 1911 as an exhibition pilot. Beachey won headlines for himself and the Curtiss Model D Headless biplane when he flew into Niagara Falls Gorge, dove to within 20 feet of the water, passed under a suspension bridge, and brought the plane safely up and out of the gorge. Beachey often raced above a track against a car driven by Barney Oldfield, finishing the race with a series of loops. He was killed on March 14, 1915, when the wings came off his Beachey-Eaton Monoplane while he was...
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