Today, I took a flight in a Commemorative Air Force AT-6C warbird for the 4th of July. The plane in question is:
I sat in the back seat, and had what looked to me like a pretty complete set of instrumentation. It had airspeed, vertical speed, horizon indicator, engine RPM, manifold vaccuum, fuel pressure, engine temp, fuel level, etc.
The pilot up front let me do some shallow turns once we had reached 3000 feet, which was fun and interesting for this non-pilot.
Afterwards though we launched into some aerobatics. I wasn't scared by the g-forces involved, but it seemed like during several of the manuvers he let the airspeed bleed off a little more than I was comfortable with. We were in a figure-8 at a near 90 degree bank and I looked at the airspeed indicator and it was barely over 40 kts. I was scared shitless. I felt like blurting out "WE'RE GONNA STALL!!!" into the headset but I kept quiet.
So my question is thus. We did not in fact stall the plane, so I was wondering if the airspeed indicator is actually accurate when you are doing aerobatics and/or steep turns.
When we were doing loops, I couldn't even bring myself to look at the airspeed. I know we entered the loop at around 180 kts, but then were quickly losing speed. I closed my eyes for a second, and then just numbly looked at the ground.
Anyways, is the gauge accurate when doing this stuff? Obviously I am still here typing, so what we're doing couldn't have been too unsafe. I guess.