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Aerobatic flight is flight that explores all dimensions of the air and and the limits of performance of an airplane. The air is a three-dimensional environment and aerobatic flight explores the vertical as well as horizontal flight paths through the air. Suitable constructed airplanes can spin, tumble, slide, roll, loop, and fly through a wide range of airspeeds.

Many aerobatic pilots enjoy aerobatic competition, where pilots fly sequences of aerobatic figures to exacting standards in front of judges. Aerobatic competition remains one of the safest venues in which to learn and improve aerobatic piloting skills. Other aerobatic pilots simply enjoy the challenge, and the beauty of flying their airplanes through the full range of maneuvers of which they are capable. For a brief time, we join the company of eagles.

The remaining portion of this section is primarily directed toward pilots with an interest in learning aerobatics. It may be of general interest to others as well.

Getting Started in Aerobatics

Anyone can get-together with an aerobatic instructor (see below) and get a feeling for aerobatic flight. If you want to participate as an aerobatic pilot you must first become a pilot. Primary flight instruction is outside of our domain. You will find excellent guidance from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) at their Learn to fly web site.

We suggest the following steps to move from being a pilot to being an aerobatic pilot:

  1. Take a ride with an experienced aerobatic pilot or aerobatic instructor in an aerobatic category airplane. See how you like it.
  2. Get spin training. This is essential.
  3. Join IAC and your local IAC Chapter. The information, advice, and fraternity of the people in these organizations is invaluable.
  4. Volunteer at regional contests, maybe attend a judges school to learn the language and notation. Don't be shy.
  5. Find an airplane suitable for aerobatics. Purchase one, or find a nearby flight school that will allow you to rent one.
  6. Get further instruction in your chosen airplane.
  7. Practice and have fun!

Sources of Aerobatic Instruction

Here are some contacts for beginning aerobatics training. The sources mentioned are of special merit, located near Chapter 52 in the Northeastern United States, or both.

Don't become a statistic

Pilots: Too may times we hear the stories of the down-side of trying aerobatics on your own, and/or in an airplane not designed for aerobatics. If you have ever tried aerobatics on your own in a normal or utility category airplane you owe it to yourself and those who love you to get-together with an instructor in an aerobatic airplane. Get involved with IAC and Chapter 52. We can't promise you'll live longer; but, we'll more than certainly improve your odds.

Aerobatics Checklist

Site edited by Ron Smith. Site design by Tom Parsons, Douglas & Magdalen Lovell. Page update $Date: 2016