Why aerobatics in a GA aircraft is a bad idea

In case the thought of performing an aerobatic maneuver with your aircraft has ever crossed your mind, a recent post by Ron for his House of Rapp blog will have you thinking otherwise. Besides the the fact that there are regulations against such activities, Ron noted the practical considerations and assumed that a pilot would be flying a Cirrus SR-22.

For starters, he pointed out that non-acro planes like the Cirrus SR-22 will tend to have non-symmetrical airfoils that are not designed to fly aerobatics. They will also tend to have slower roll rates as well as lower structural integrity under high G loads and less control authority. However, Ron also noted three well known aerobatic pilots who perform or performed aerobatics in non-acro planes but he also quickly added that:

Sean Tucker will tell you that the Columbia may not recover from spins of more than one or 2 turns. Duane Cole said the Bonanza (in which he did inverted ribbon cuts) had barely enough elevator authority for the maneuver, and it required incredible strength to hold the nose up far enough for inverted level flight. Bob Hoover tailored his performance to maneuvers the Shrike could do — he’ll tell you he avoided many aerobatic maneuvers because of the airplane’s limitations.

Ron then noted that negative Gs will send stuff flying about the cabin – including the pilot if he or she is not tightly secured by the seatbelt. Moreover, the engine of a general aviation aircraft is not set up for fuel and oil flow under negative Gs which could also move the entire engine/prop on the engine mount.

Ron ended his post by noting that:

I could go on, but suffice it to say that the more I learn about aerobatics, the less I would want to do them in a non-aerobatic aircraft. Sure, if performed perfectly, you might be just fine. But any unusual attitude is going to be far more difficult — if not outright impossible — to recover from.

In other words, leave the aerobatic stunts to professional aerobatic pilots flying the right type of aircraft.


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4 Responses to Why aerobatics in a GA aircraft is a bad idea

  1. Adam February 5, 2011 at 11:28 #

    You hit that nail right on the head. The aerobatics need to stay with the airplanes that can do it. I don't think of a 172 when think of aerobatics, I think of jets, and those little bi wing jobs that go like crazy. You made an excellent point in say that the engines of GA are set up for the fuel flow and oil flow issues of inverted flight. Great article thank you for sharing.

  2. Sylvia February 14, 2011 at 13:36 #

    Surely this is common sense?

  3. Martin December 20, 2011 at 23:51 #

    Anyone that would even contemplate aerobatic manouvres in a GA aircraft should no even be allowed to have a skateboard. Its an excepional pity that an article "has" to be written about it. I would hate to hire the plane that was overstressed by the previous idiot. You can't see the stress fracture inside the wing wingbox until the NTSB releases the crash photos.

  4. Martin December 20, 2011 at 23:58 #

    The wording shot be …."not" even be allowed…. my grammar is terrible and this Mac has no grammar check on non windows applications, poor excuse I know but I is a pilet knot anne eduteur.

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