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,