Practice Routines

Practice makes perfect...practice, practice, practice! I can't emphasize enough how important it is to practice. Now that I have that off my chest, I want to tell you how I practice and bring out a key point. My military flying has taught me a lot of good habits. One of them is safety first. And to be the safest aerobatic pilot is to know your maneuvers, your plane, and limits. 

Probably the most important aspect of practicing is knowing what you are going to practice. Before each flight, you should have objectives either on paper or in your mind. Every time you fly you should takeoff with a goal in mind. Decide what you want to fly and go fly it, nothing more, nothing less. I have made the mistake of just taking off and saying to myself, "I'll just think of something to do once I get to the practice area". The problem with that is you haven't thought through your maneuvers before hand, or chair flown them. If you are not a part of the International Aerobatic Club and practicing for competitions, you are missing out on a great opportunity to improve your skills as an aerobatic pilot. Better yet, you will have routines to practice. Right now I am practicing for an upcoming competition and I takeoff and practice the routine, nothing else. It makes the decision part easy on what to practice. You may want to takeoff with one maneuver in mind and to practice that maneuver over and over again until it is perfect. The bottom line is have an objective, do it, and land - don't make up stuff in the air.

Finally, I wanted to mention the length of my flights. My practice flights are about 35-40 minutes long. I strongly feel that flights longer than this can be counter productive. Whether you are doing basic, intermediate or advanced maneuvers, I feel that you are done learning after this amount of time. Once you are done learning, the rest of the flight is not doing you any good. Sometimes my flights are shorter than 30 minutes. My airport is about 5 minutes away from my practice area so this gives me 20 to 25 minutes of aerobatics. Beware of the instructor that keeps you up for a hour or more, they might be more interested in racking up the hobbs time than your progression as an aerobatic pilot.

To sum up the above, know what you want to practice, do that and nothing more, and keep your flight to about 35-40 minutes. If you have any suggestions or comments please drop by our guestbook.

Living the Dream,
Ed Hamill