Go fly a Pitts!

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akoch
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Go fly a Pitts!

#1 Post by akoch » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:50 am

CS often suggests. So I had a chance to go for a first (for me) aerobatics flight, and it was in a Christian Eagle. Not sure how close it is to the Pitts experience, but it is sure vastly different from the basic flying I am used to :)

15 minutes into it, after a 3 or so vertical dives, 4 rolls, one upside down, and one loop I was done. Packed a bag, it did not smell or taste good. You guys who do it, hats off.

Flying wise, it was really strange. Easier and harder at the same time. Easier - the airplane in comparison to what I'm used to is so draggy, that it is insensitive to the power settings, attitude etc. Point it straight down, and you can fly it like this, the airspeed does not really build up that much (I'd be over VNE on mine in a couple of seconds!). Control sensitivity is actually less direct and less precise, with more stick actuation required than what I'm used to. The roll rate of course is quicker, and it is very enjoyable. But the rudder and yaw control.... this is where the most difference comes in. It is ridiculously twitchy in yaw, sensitive to the attitude and even slight pressure on the rudder sends the ball 3/4 off. It sure takes good practice to fly it "on the ball". The visibility from the front seat is perhaps 30% of a basic trainer.

Now, landing was very different for me again. I can imagine it takes time and good training to master it. I only watched in awe how the gentleman who owns the aircraft greased it in 3-point.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#2 Post by Colonel Sanders » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:14 am

Christen Eagle II is homebuilt Pitts S-2A
with no dihedral, spring gear and wider
cockpit and slightly different cowling.

Easy to fly acro in. Hard to land. Does
exactly what you tell it to do :wink:

Yes, I tell people on their first flight that
the only time the ball will be in the center
is when it's rapidly passing through from
one side to the other!

PS Ailerons are better on the S-2B, better
yet on the S-2C, and mindblowing on a monoplane.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#3 Post by eaglepilot » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:23 am

Akoch went up with me on Monday for his first intro to Acro.

It was a sunny 30 degree day, two guys in a bubble canopy, makes for an slightly uncomfortable setting. We went out to the practice area, and did a few stalls, (although Akoch pointed out correctly that they weren't full, deep stalls) with a vertical downline, an inverted safety check, a roll or three (Akoch did a couple), and then a loop. After that we did some straight and level. Akoch then did some steep turns.

Turns out that was enough for one day, on the way back to the airport, Akoch flying, I asked him to look at the ball to see if he was coordinated. Fatal mistake, having him look down at the bottom of the panel, when he was queasy, was the tipping point. :rolleyes:

My impressions were that Akoch is a better pilot than me, his handling of the airplane was much better than me at a similar point in my experience, and that he wanted to have a deep understanding of what the airplane was doing, and capable of.

I hope that he does not give up on Acro, I think that next time he will not be as queasy because he knows what to expect, whether he goes up with me or someone else. Any encouragement (or stories of your experiences) that you guys/gals can offer would be appreciated.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#4 Post by akoch » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:31 am

Thank you Eaglepilot, it was really a great flight and I sincerely enjoyed it. I'd happy to go again. And I now know why the Pitts/Eagle is not a X-country airplane :smt040
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#5 Post by Beefitarian » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:40 pm

This is a good story. I hope to come back for more.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#6 Post by cgzro » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:02 pm

And I now know why the Pitts/Eagle is not a X-country airplane
They are demanding cross country machines for sure but like other characteristics of the type that tends to sharpen your skills.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#7 Post by Colonel Sanders » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:51 am

Pitts/Eagle is not a X-country airplane
Oh, sure it is :mrgreen: This is Cozumel direct Key West this January:

Image
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#8 Post by AirFrame » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:21 am

Akoch, something to keep in mind is that even airshow big names like Sean Tucker need to build their G-tolerance every year (or so he says). CS may chime in here too. The trick is identifying the NSMFA stage, and stopping there. NSMFA is "Not So Much Fun Anymore", the point where you just realize that hey, this has been fun but right now is not quite strongly as much fun as it was a minute ago.

You sound like you liked it, so keep doing it! It only gets better from here... :)
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#9 Post by akoch » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:06 am

NSMFA - this is a good one! :)

Yes, makes sense. I think I will get into this eventually, flying like that is just too fun I can't pass on it.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#10 Post by kamikaze » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:46 am

Buddy took me up in a Grob couple of years back for some acro (It's no Pitts of course, but good enough for an intro!) ... Lasted about 45 minutes before I'd had enough (i.e. my *stomach* had had enough, I otherwise was having a blast!). did loops, rolls, a hammer head, couple of other maneuvers whose name I forget ...

I hadn't thought of that in a while, now I'm getting the urge to get some acro training!
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#11 Post by Colonel Sanders » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:56 am

It's important to separate the various human factors:

1) fear
2) nausea
3) +ve G tolerance
4) -ve G tolerance

They really have nothing to do with each other, but
you need to learn about each of them (and increase
your tolerance for them) if you're going to do aerobatics.

Aerobatics looks pretty from the ground, but once
you get into flying a sequence (eg contest or airshow)
of maneuvers, one right after another, with the +ve
and -ve G building, physically it's a bit similar to getting
into a bar fight. Lots of adrenalin, and you're beat up
and nauseous afterwards.

All told, a rather odd hobby, really. Some more reading:

www.pittspecials.com/articles/Aerobatics_intro.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/NegativeG.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/aerobatics_low.htm
www.pittspecials.com/articles/airspeed_radius.htm
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#12 Post by akoch » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:37 pm

I personally certainly have all these 4 factors mixed up all together to a healthy degree.

And it is really humbling to hear that the professional acro pilots experience nausea to some degree as well as the result of the show sequence. I'd be dead :) And they sure make it looks like it is nothing for them, for us sitting on the ground!
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#13 Post by cgzro » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:57 pm

I still get healthy mild fear, and G tolerance, wanes in winter and needs refreshing in the spring.
Nausea was problem for first few hours them gone forever thank god.
Definitely hard on the body. Its a sport for a teenage body and a middle age wallet!
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#14 Post by Colonel Sanders » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:32 pm

Its a sport for a teenage body and a middle age wallet!
Did you make that up, Peter? That's pretty funny.

I don't have any problem with any of the above 4
human factors - as PIC - even if I've been off
a while. Positive G is easy - just remember to grunt
before the G goes on. With negative G, NO GRUNT!
You must totally relax, which is hard at first.

The story is completely different as a passenger. I
am sure that if I rode along in say Rob Holland's MX2
I would barf in 2 minutes. Like being a passenger
on the back of a 300 kph sportbike, it would be a
terrifying and nauseating experience.

When you are PIC, though, it doesn't seem that bad.

I remember riding in the back of an L39, daydreaming
and looking outside and THERE'S +8 G's from the
cowboy in the front seat. No G suit, and no warning of
the G coming on, either, so you grunt like a sonofabitch
trying to keep what little blood is still in your brain.

Image
Lasted about 45 minutes before I'd had enough
Holy crap, that's a long time. An ideal acro flight for me
is 0.3 on the tach - after that, I'm tired and sweaty and
time for a shower and a nap. I know, it's not a good way
to build four-bars hours, but it's an awful lot of fun.

The best aerobatic pilots in the world - of which I am
surely not one of - only fly 40 hours of training per
year. That doesn't sound like much, does it? Not to
a four-bars, anyways. But that's actually 120 x 20
minute Unlimited category flights, directly overhead
the field.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#15 Post by cgzro » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:07 pm

Did you make that up, Peter? That's pretty funny.
Yeah... Its funny but true. You should see us all the hobbling around at contests after a 10 minute routine.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#16 Post by kamikaze » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:43 am

"Holy crap, that's a long time."

Some of that was transit time ... I think the 45 minutes was when I said "enough" so it included transit to the practice area, and the acro ... maybe there was 30-35 minutes of actual manoeuvering.

And yeah, in chatting with him, I suggested and he confirmed that as a pilot it's a lot easier to handle. He said that early on when the instructor would show manoeuvres, he'd get queasy, but had no problem doing them himself.

I think we did -1/+5 on that flight ... maybe a little more.

I'm on blood thinners, I checked with the medical examiner to see if pulling G's might be ill advised, he said there shouldn't be any problem.

Not sure the same would be true as a regular acro flyer ... if even the smallest blood vessel bursts, it's 10 times worst for me. not sure whether blood vessels bursting actually can happen from high G's though, that's just my theory. something I'd have to keep in mind if I felt like flying acro more regularly.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#17 Post by cgzro » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:25 pm

Having seen what happens when somebody on blood thinners like Coumadin stands up too quickly or cuts their scalp I have to say I think you should not do acro solo on them, unless its a tiny dose and an AME agrees.

I think negative G would be especially harmful because a burst blood vessel in the eye or brain would be catastrophic, and that does happen. Ive seen red eye a few times etc. Positive G is less a problem but you may be more susceptible to "Gseales".. This is when your lower legs get covered in small zits like measeles.

I think you need to talk to an experienced aviation doctor because I don't think the advice you got is accurate ( at least based on my small sample size of 2 70 year olds).

I have a lot of experience with Gs, typically every few days Im going +6 to -4 dozens of times and its not something to take lightly.

Please be careful!

Peter
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#18 Post by Colonel Sanders » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:28 am

if even the smallest blood vessel bursts, it's 10 times worst for me
Don't ever fly negative G, then. You're really
going to screw yourself up.

As Peter mentioned, I have blown blood vessels
even where my lap and shoulder straps contact.
Not sure if it's from positive or negative G.

I would hope that you would be ok with positive
G as long as you don't have any other problems.

I might recommend that you fly 0/+5 G max
until you learn what works for you.

Medical examiners know nothing about either
positive and especially negative G's.
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#19 Post by kamikaze » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:15 pm

The AME was air force, so I figured he'd know about Gs ... but his advice was strictly for me as a passenger out for a joy ride.

Not sure he'd give the same advice if I tried to do this as a PIC ...

Good point on the negative G's ...

Bah :(
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Re: Go fly a Pitts!

#20 Post by Colonel Sanders » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:51 am

The AME was air force, so I figured he'd know about Gs
You might be surprised! I sure am that he didn't
caution you.
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