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Old 05-10-2017, 07:34 AM
Gash's Avatar
Gash Gash is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Goodyear, Arizona
Posts: 985

Alan Cassidy in his book Better Aerobatics has something profound to say about the subject:

"The air is a three dimensional environment. Flying is to aerobatics as swimming is to scuba diving. To explore the latter, you need first to learn the former. Expand this analogy to develop a scale of involvement and passion. The progression is exponential. Flying a circuit is a length of an indoor pool. A cross-country flight to Spain is swimming a kilometer out to sea. Aerobatics is diving the coral reef and cavorting with dolphins."
Karl, Goodyear, Arizona (KGYR) ATP, CFII
Yak 50 Red Thunder Airshows
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:29 AM
sandifer sandifer is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 667

Originally Posted by ronschreck View Post
I keep getting asked when I am going to buy a purpose-built aerobatic airplane. My answer to that: For me, the thrill and sense of accomplishment that I get from pushing myself and my RV to ever higher goals each year is all I could ever want.
Yep, same as people asking me when I'm gonna get a monoplane.
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:05 PM
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ronschreck ronschreck is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 1,719
Default I stand corrected...

This morning I received an email from Allan Franko, a competition acro pilot from Canada who pointed to some errors in my previous post (#20) to this thread. His email is forwarded, with permission below:

Dear Mr. Schreck,

I am impressed with the work you have done to promote participation by RV owners in IAC contests. However, the statement you just made on the RV forum is so incomplete that it really should be amended:

"As far as I know, prior to this year there has only been one RV pilot that ever flew at the Intermediate level of IAC competition and that was a highly modified RV-4."

I personally competed against Scott Riddell in UNLIMITED when he flew his 160 hp RV4! He placed 4th, with a decent score of 64%, in the 1993 Beaver State Regional in Pendleton, Oregon (results in the March 94 issue of Sport Aerobatics). I watched his flights with interest, and I think he was limited more by horsepower than airframe capability. In 1990 at the same contest he won Advanced with a score of 82% (February 1991 issue)!

Previously he competed in Intermediate and he and his father competed in Sportsman, but I don't have those results handy. (A good project for IAC would be to put all those old results online.)

Ralph Riddell wrote a description of the plane on pages 18 & 19 of the September 1991 issue of Sport Aerobatics. The modifications were for lightness (no battery, starter, or fibreglas wingtips) and for roll rate (3 feet extra inboard for the ailerons and no flaps), and spades on the ailerons and a servo tab on the elevator to reduce control forces. If this was the RV you mentioned as competing in Intermediate, it was hardly "extensively modified". Compared to the average homebuilt competing in Advanced or Unlimited it was maybe slightly modified.

Allan Franko
BC Canada
IAC 7513

I did find the article from the September 1991 issue of Sport Aerobatics which was written by Scott Riddell's father, Ralph. It does confirm that Scott did successfully compete at the Advanced level in his RV-4, having won four contests at that level. Quite an achievement! Allan mentioned that Scott flew at least one contest at the Unlimited level and while a score of 64% is not likely to impress, the fact that he was even able to complete an Unlimited sequence speaks pretty highly of the pilot and the airplane.

I do take issue with Allan's contention that Scott's RV-4 was only "slightly modified". If I did the same modifications to my RV-8 it would no longer be suitable for anything but aerobatic competition. I would still consider the modifications "extensive". You be the judge.

My thanks to Allan Franko for shedding some light on this story. Unfortunately the on-line record of IAC competition results only goes back to 2006; same for the archive of Sport Aerobatics magazine. I did find the 1991 article about Scott Riddell in my archives and include it here:

Ron Schreck
RV-8, "Miss Izzy", 2250 Hours- Sold
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:03 PM
precession precession is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 146

Amazing story and amazing accomplishments.

Am surprised to read the low entry speeds, especially

"Loop - 100-140 mph" and
"Hammerhead - 100-140 mph".

Looks like in addition to being very light (too bad he didn't provide an empty weight), he was flying an extreme climb prop of 72x60, which probably made those entry speeds a lot more do-able.

Wonder if anyone else has tried to increase RV roll rates w/ longer ailerons. Expect Van might not like the idea.
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:01 AM
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RV8Squaz RV8Squaz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Senoia, Georgia
Posts: 942

Originally Posted by Gash View Post
I might be able to partially answer this question. From talking to a few other RV pilots, the concerns seem to follow these themes:

1. Equipment. There's a general concern that fuel and oil systems are not adequate for aerobatics. It would be good to keep spreading the word about what is and is not necessary. Ron Schreck's powerpoint slides from Oshkosh are absolutely outstanding for this.

2. Training. RV pilots I've spoken with feel that their experience is inadequate, but are unsure how to get the right training. It would be good to explain that the aerobatic skills and concepts learned in a different airplane translate well into the RV. So if somebody has any interest in doing aerobatics, they will get training. If they don't have the fire in the belly to do aerobatics, then lack of training is a valid (convenient?) excuse.

3. Aircraft suitability. I hear this all the time, even from non-RV pilots. There is a pervasive idea out there that the RV cannot stay inside the aerobatic box because it builds up speed too quickly. This simply is not true. It took me a few flights to learn how to stay inside the box, but once energy management is mastered, it becomes a non-issue.

4. Intimidation. I suffered from this one a bit. The aerobatic competitors always seemed like a different breed to me, and I wasn't sure how I would be received. I finally had to tell myself to forget about it and just show up. When I went to my first contest and basically told everyone "hello, I'm new, and I know nothing" I was quite pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth and laid back everybody is. It's just a bunch of regular pilots who are happy to welcome us into the sport.

This is an interesting topic to discuss--perhaps it's worthy of it's own thread. I'd like to read other peoples' ideas on this too.

I think the issues mentioned above are certainly seen as barriers for some. However, for someone that has the desire to compete, the issues can certainly be overcome.

1. An airplane with low power, fixed pitch prop, and no inverted systems can easily compete in Primary and Sportsman. The inverted systems can be added if desired.

2. Training can be gotten. Aerobatic instructors, aerobatic schools, ground coaching are all available, maybe not locally. But if the desire is there, I'm sure the effort can be made to get the appropriate training.

3. This has already been proven. Is it more effort to stay in the box? Sure it is, more g and not too much speed and not too much straight and level is the key. But the RV also has some other great attributes that make it a formidable competitor. I know my Super D friends wish they had the energy and vertical penetration I have in my airplane.

4. Just do it! Introduce yourself. Meet some people. You can have a bad experience similar to the Cherokee guy mentioned in Eric's post anywhere. Many of the competitors are brand new to competition and some are even brand new to aviation!

I think a lot of the quotes in Eric's posting are largely misconceptions or excuses. I think if the desire is there, the misconceptions and excuses will disappear.

So that is what I think the key is, DESIRE. We have 42 RV's on my airport and I'm the only one competing! I haven't been able to infect anyone with the IAC bug. True, many of these RV's are non-aerobatic -9, -10, and -12, but we do have many aerobatic RVs flown by some very capable pilots. I don't really know why they don't desire to compete. Most are happy doing the occasional loop and roll, gentleman aerobatics, which is what the RV was designed to do.

I have always had the desire to this. I rented a Decathlon and then a Super Decathlon while in college using my grocery money and my ROTC stipend to pay for it. I was a lot thinner then! Just when I thought I could start competing, the FBO sold the airplane and I graduated. It wasn't until 20+ years later when I had my own airplane, the RV-8 that I thought about this competition thing again. I outfitted my airplane for aerobatics from the very beginning. I flew aerobatics on almost every flight I wasn't going somewhere.

My primary barrier to competition was time. Most contests are a two or three day event starting on a Thursday or Friday leading into the weekend. In my current job, I didn't start regularly getting weekends off until the last year or two. Also, my son is a teenager now and he's often doing his own things on the weekends.

Then I met Ron Shreck and the timing was right. If I was going to ever compete, this was the time! I've been having a BLAST! I've made a lot of new friends and have taken myself and my RV way beyond what I thought was possible. It has been extremely challenging and rewarding. It's made me a better pilot and it has been FUN!!!

So how do I think we instill the desire in people to compete and overcome the barriers? I think threads like this and articles in magazines such as Sport Aviation and AOPA. I think if one is reading Sport Aerobatics, they already have some desire. Invite your friends to come out and watch you practice. Invite them to an aerobatic practice clinic. Let's keep on getting the word out!
Jerry Esquenazi
RV-8 N84JE
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