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Aerobatics And The Airlines

Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:06 pm

I did a search but none of the topics really answered my question. I am strongly considering doing aerobatic training and would love to be trained from basic all the way through advanced competition.

My question is, how do the airlines look at this experience? I've heard both answers before. They hate it or the love it. The way people have justified the airlines hating it is that if you have aerobatic training, the airlines (or any professional flying job for that matter) may consider you to be a "hot shot" pilot. However, others have told me that it looks great on a resume because of all the unusual attitudes and recovery. I certainly can't argue that point. What do you guys think?

Also, if I do go through with it, I most certainly would want to go to a credible school and I don't mind having to travel for it. Do any of you know of any good schools. I'm in Chicago BTW. I've kind of been looking at the "Sean Tucker School of Aerobatics" in San Francisco. I've also been looking at doing upset recovery training at "Aviation Safety Training" in Houston to kind of get my feet wet.

On a side note, I have flown through basic aerobatics in an AT-6 Texan before. It was an awesome experience and is what began my consideration of going all the way.
Right rudder....Right rudder...Come on, more right rudder....Right rudder......Aw forget it, I quit!!
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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Fri Feb 20, 2004 7:39 pm

I would say thaat either they won't care, or they'll like it.

Just consider the fact that if you have an aerobatic training, it means you can do it the proper, responsible way, not like a lambda pilot in his Piper who spins for the fun of it, without the basical training for that.

An aerobatic pilot knows more about flying than the standard PPL pilot, and the airlines probably know that. Just to set an example, remember the Gimli Glider, the captain of that 767 was also a glider pilot, and all the reports say that his gliding skills probably saved his life that day (not that he went looking for thermals, of course  Wink/being sarcastic).

I'd say, go for it, it should have only a positive impact on your logbook, and if you enjoy it, well the more fun you'll have.


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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:07 am

I believe that the item in your resume is not as important as your attitude toward the item in your resume. If I were conducting your interview I would think it a good thing that you'd had aerobatic training. Right up until I found out that you were training for competition. Then I have to wonder what kind of pilot you really want to be when you grow up. My company does not want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in training you, only to have you crater somewhere in your own plane.

I think you could make the argument that a pilot should not be permitted to carry paying passengers until he was capable of recovering from inverted flight. I say this because I was once rolled upside-down by wake turbulence at just a few hundred feet on final. I was very glad that I understood the basics well enough to do the right things.

At least one airline has on its initial syllabus for the student to roll the plane over 120o and pull the nose down 30o below the horizon. Then they can freeze the sim and talk about the PFD indications etc. Then the student recovers from this attitude. There are a couple of other similar maneuvers.

But this falls under the heading of upset recovery and not aerobatics for sport.
My advice - get the basic training. If you go beyond that, keep it close to your vest during the interview.

And don't mention your motorcycle AT ALL!

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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:41 am

Just one observation when it comes to airlines and aerobatic training...
Most former military pilots have received aerobatic training during their primary training. The airlines aren't too hesitant when it comes to hiring those guys.

The company, that I used to work for, sent us for periodic aerobatic training to help us in the event that we were to ever have an encounter with extreme upset caused by, for example, a bad wake turbulence encounter. (This was the suspected cause of a couple of fatal corporate accidents a few years ago.) This training is becoming increasingly popular with corporate operators. Also, according to the guy who provided our training, some 121 operators are starting to get on the bandwagon as well. (However, as SlamClick alluded, many schools call it "Extreme Unusual Attitude Recovery Training". Don't want no "hotshot" corporate or airline pilots out there. It is what it is however.)

The aircraft that many of these schools use are what you'd expect - Decathelons and Pitts. However, courses are also taught in T-34s and the various surplus eastern European jet trainers that are out there.

It is nice to have “automatic” reactions should you ever tangle with the wake turbulence of a “heavy”. At a certain point, a pilots "normal" reaction of pulling pack on the yoke to avoid the ground will be exactly what you don't want to do. At one of my 6-month sim sessions a few years ago, I was given a particuliar "extreme" upset and it was a simple matter of just continuing the roll then gently pitch up. My instructor was not expecting my response, but it was so smooth and easy that he was really impressed. Now FlightSafety advocates and teachs that recovery under that scenario. As I mentioned, some of the smaller 121 operators are also giving their flight crews aeroba... Oops, extreme unusual attitude recovery training. The various RJs, DC-9s and B737s can be just as susceptible to wake turbulence upset as our corporate jets are.


[Edited 2004-02-20 16:57:51]

RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:03 am

Aerobatics... acrobatics if speaking British...
The best purpose of aerobatic/acrobatic training, for future airline pilots (or any pilots really) is recovery from abnormal attitudes, extreme dives or climb attitudes, extreme bank or inverted flight, and recover with minimum structural stress for the airframe.
Basic acrobatic training should maybe be part of training for CPL, at the latest stages of training before graduating as CPL... if such training is not included, in your country's curriculum for licencing, I would recommend a good background in "recovery from unusual attitudes"... anything beyond 60 degrees of bank and 30 degrees of pitch, up or down.
Unusual attitude recovery is part of FAA initial/recurrent training for airlines, since a few years ago. We also make it part of training in Argentina, even if the aircraft is a large 747...
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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:25 am

Unusual attitude recovery, in large HEAVY swept-wing jet airliners is a somewhat useful exercise IMO, provided abrupt/full travel of the RUDDER is absolutely not used...and if you need positive proof of this, just recall the AA A300-600 accident just a short while ago.

AA apparently taught aggressive rudder use with some of their maneuvers, while the older guys in the training department (now long retired) would be shocked at today.
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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:55 am

I'm glad I did about 15 hours in a Cap-10 doing unusual attitude recovery, spins, and aerobatics.

The fun aerobatics part really gives you an idea what some planes can do and I have more confidence in myself after flying all sorts of different attitudes and situations, from -2 to +6Gs.

Spin recovery and unusual attitude recovery makes those "unusual" attitudes not-so-unusual anymore. I think that if I was ever flipped over on final with only a few hundred feet to recover, I at least wouldn't "freeze" and panic and I'm sure I'd have a higher chance of being able to maneuver the plane safely out of it.

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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:47 am

Nick hit the nail square on the head. "I think that if I was ever flipped over on final with only a few hundred feet to recover, I at least wouldn't "freeze" and panic and I'm sure I'd have a higher chance of being able to maneuver the plane safely out of it." That's the entire point of the training. (Besides the fact that AFTER A WHILE it becomes a lot of fun.)

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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:08 am

I am following aerobatics training. Although I have never flown airliners and never will, I have a hard time figuring out how aerobatics might be relevant to flying a big aircraft.
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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 8:47 am


The first (unintentional) rudder hardover on a jet transport aircraft occured, just after takeoff with an AA B707 departing IDL (now JFK) in 1959/60, and the aircraft went straight down inverted into Jamaica Bay.

IF one knew how, the aircraft 'could' have completed a roll and recovered....maybe.

A much better idea of course would have been to switch the rudder power OFF, but suspect the crew had little time available for this...sadly.

RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Sat Feb 21, 2004 11:45 am

Here's another scenario...
ATC vectors an RJ, MD-80, B737 in a little too close behind a "dirty" heavy on approach. The next thing the pilot knows is that he's rolled past 90 degress and still going. It was this scenario that supposedly brought down a couple of corporate jets a few years back. This is the scenario that get's my personal attention.

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RE: Aerobatics And The Airlines

Thu Feb 26, 2004 4:01 am

What about the Tex Johnston's Famous Roll of the Dash 80 on August 7, 1955?


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