Video: Early Season Solo Aerobatic Practice

Last week, I flew the Extra 300L to its summer base at Seattle’s Boeing Field (KBFI). Today I enjoyed a beautiful summer-like morning in Seattle to get in much needed practice before I start flying with stall/spin/upset customers. I narrated the basic maneuvers in this flight.

Videos: Quick Takes on Aerobatics

I recently created several short videos that highlight specific aerobatic maneuvers that I demonstrate during rides and instruction in the Extra 300L. Here are few; you can find more at my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying.

To learn more about making aviation videos, see Aviation Video Tips.


Slow Roll

Four-Point and Aileron Rolls

Inverted Flight

Three Views of a Barrel Roll

This short video shows you a barrel roll from several perspectives. First, you watch it as I cut between different cameras; next watch the entire maneuver from the wingtip perspective; finally, you see the complete roll from my perspective in the rear seat of the Extra 300L.

As I explain in the video, this barrel roll is not the textbook maneuver. Typically, you start a barrel roll by offsetting the nose 45 degrees left or right of a reference. Then you pull up and roll around that reference point.

I use this modified barrel roll (which is similar to those flown by formation teams such as the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, and Snowbirds) with students to help them become accustomed to all-attitude flying, develop awareness of how 3-4G feels, and to fly the airplane throughout its speed range. Because it’s a slow, graceful maneuver, students have lots of time to watch the roll develop, and it’s a smooth, coordinated maneuver throughout.

More videos on my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying.

Vertical Roll and Hammerhead

A short clip of a vertical roll to a hammerhead, followed by a roll on the vertical down line. It was a lovely day to fly in the Pacific Northwest. For more videos, visit my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying.

Pictures from an Aerobatic Ride

It was a lovely day to fly in the Pacific Northwest. I gave an aerobatic ride in the Extra 300L. Here’s a link to a gallery of images captured from the video.

You can find videos of aerobatic flights on my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying.


Video Highlights from an Aerobatic Ride

I had an enthusiastic passenger for an aerobatic ride in the Extra 300L the other day. Here are video highlights from the flight. More videos at my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying

A Collection of Stall/Spin Videos

I’ve created a YouTube playlist, Stalls and Spins,  that features videos I recorded while demonstrating a variety of stalls, incipient spins, and spins. Most of the videos were captured while I flew the Extra 300L; a few show stalls in the Beechcraft A36.

You can learn more about the stall/spin/upset training that I offer in the Extra 300L at my website, here

Here’s a video from the playlist:

Stalls from Skidding and Slipping Turns

Aerobatic Practice and Camera Test

After several weeks away from flying aerobatics, I took the Extra 300L up for practice and to check out the new camera position at the left wingtip. Keen observers will note bobbles on the rolls and other flaws, but that’s why we practice. As you can see, it was a lovely day to fly over the desert southeast of Las Vegas.

Videos: Stalls, Incipient Spins, and Recoveries from Inverted

Here’s a series of short videos captured during training for one of my customers last summer. They show a typical initial sequence in the stall/spin/upset recovery course that I offer to pilots of all experience levels in the Extra 300L.

After flying out to the practice area and warming up with steep turns to help the front-seat student get a feel for the Extra 300L, we begin with normal, slow-deceleration, wings-level stalls.
>Basic Slow Deceleration, Wings-Level Stalls

When I introduce stalls in any airplane, I like to follow the guidance in Chapter 4: Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins of the Airplane Flying Handbook:

Usually, the first few practices should include only approaches to stalls, with recovery initiated as soon as the first buffeting or partial loss of control is noted. In this way, the pilot can become familiar with the indications of an approaching stall without actually stalling the airplane. Once the pilot becomes comfortable with this procedure, the airplane should be slowed in such a manner that it stalls in as near a level pitch attitude as is possible. The student pilot must not be allowed to form the impression that in all circumstances, a high pitch attitude is necessary to exceed the critical angle of attack, or that in all circumstances, a level or near level pitch attitude is indicative of a low angle of attack. Recovery should be practiced first without the addition of power, by merely relieving enough back-elevator pressure that the stall is broken and the airplane assumes a normal glide attitude. The instructor should also introduce the student to a secondary stall at this point. Stall recoveries should then be practiced with the addition of power to determine how effective power will be in executing a safe recovery and minimizing altitude loss. (AFH p. 4-5)

Accelerated (Turning) Stalls

Next, we fly a series of stalls while making coordinated turns. As the Airplane Flying Handbook notes:

An airplane will stall during a coordinated steep turn exactly as it does from straight flight, except that the pitching and rolling actions tend to be more sudden…The objectives are to determine the stall characteristics of the airplane and develop the ability to instinctively recover at the onset of a stall at other-than-normal stall speed or flight attitudes. An accelerated stall, although usually demonstrated in steep turns, may actually be encountered any time excessive back-elevator pressure is applied and/or the angle of attack is increased too rapidly…When the airplane stalls, recovery should be made promptly, by releasing sufficient back-elevator pressure and increasing power to reduce the angle of attack. If an uncoordinated turn is made, one wing may tend to drop suddenly, causing the airplane to roll in that direction. If this occurs, the excessive back elevator pressure must be released, power added, and the airplane returned to straight-and-level flight with coordinated control pressure. (AFH, p. 4-9—4-10)

I have my students fly coordinated stalls out of left and right turns, and just as during the basic stall practice, we recover by reducing angle of attack. Initially, we leave the power at a typical approach setting and we fly through at least 90 degrees of turn doing a series of secondary stalls while maintaining the bank angle. This exercise increases students’ confidence and helps them understand the importance of maintaining coordinated flight.

Skidding Stalls and Incipient Spins

After practicing stalls in coordinated turns, we move on to skidding and slipping stalls, emphasizing skidding stalls, which are the classic setup for an incipient spin. In general, these stalls are called cross-control stalls; you can read about them starting on p. 4-10 of the Airplane Flying Handbook.

The Extra 300L is an excellent platform for exploring skidding and slipping stalls because it’s fully aerobatic and approved for spins. As you can see in the video, I encourage students to let the stall develop so that they can see the effects of stalling while in a skidding turn.

Now, it’s true, as the student comments, that the Extra snaps right over to inverted or near-inverted when the wings stall out of a skid. But as I note in the video, even a tame Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior will yaw and roll aggressively if provoked into a skidding stall.

Recoveries from Inverted

My course also includes practice recovering from inverted or overbanked flight. The key lesson is to roll back toward wings level. Many pilots, disoriented by their first experience of inverted flight, try to pull back to upright flight (a split-S), which typically results in excessive airspeed, eats up a lot of altitude, and imposes excessive G-loads.

Recoveries from Rolling Upsets

Here’s an exercise that I have my upset-recovery customers perform to simulate a wake turbulence encounter or overbank/inverted attitude that might result from disorientation in poor visibility.

I have them fly one-and-a-half aileron rolls from upright to inverted and then recover. They key is to unload and, using rudder and aileron, roll the airplane back to wings-level, upright flight. It’s important to resist the urge to pull through (split-S), which rapidly increases airspeed eats up altitude, and typically leads to high-G loads during the recovery.

This customer resisted that urge and rolled upright, but we still lost about 1,000 ft., and the final airspeed was around 160 KIAS.

Spin Practice

Here’s one of my stall/spin/upset recovery customers flying his first spins. You can read more about spins at my website.

Two-Ship Formation Practice

I recently flew the Extra 300L south to its winter home. After several months without opportunity to practice formation flight, I had a chance to run through the basics with my mentor, who flies an RV-6A.