What a kick it was to call on the radio:
“Manila approach, one six niner one is Tango four at two thousand feet, commencing aerobatic maneuvers from two thousand to three thousand feet.”
Meynard and I practiced aerobatics at Tango 4, a training area 20 miles south of Manila. Here we did spins, loops, rolls and hammerheads.
As a wing dropped, I picked it up with rudder, not aileron.
(Down aileron on a stalled wing steepens angle of attack on that wing, stalling it deeply and starting a crossover spin.)
The airplane, still in a stall and dropping nose high, finally gave up.
The nose yawed left, tucked itself into an inverted dive, and the ground began to spin clockwise.
“RECOVER!” Meynard didn’t quite shout it, but he sounded urgent enough.
On the ground, he told me that when the airplane starts spinning, I need to recover it immediately.
“You can recover from a spin, right?
“When you’re in an upset situation, not sure which way is up, stall the airplane and put it into a spin, and then recover.”
Intentional spins as a lifesaving maneuver 😯
Whoa. Paradigm shift!
So we practiced spins until they became a cause for mere anxiety, not panic.
I also learned how to recover from spins on a specific, pre-determined heading.
In the sequence of pictures, the airplane has entered a spin, stopped the spin, and rolled in a vertical dive until the expressway in the upper left of the picture rotated to the right spot.
The next step is to pull out of the dive.
Over Tanauan, I tackled the chandelle. I had a tough time with that — a challenging coordination exercise, and a graceful maneuver to watch from the ground.
I did it over and over, getting the first half right but blowing the second, or vice-versa. The next day, at Clark, I did more chandelles until Meynard was satisfied.
“Clark Tower, one six niner one is at Charlie two, commencing aerobatic maneuvers from two thousand to three thousand feet.”
At the Charlie training areas, 15 miles east of Clark and Omni, I did loops and lazy eights, and Meynard showed me Cuban eights.
The lazy eight was intriguing. The airplane was on a down line half the time, and yet I was never supposed to push the stick forward. The airplane never flew straight and level, and yet the elevator input was constant.
Carlo listened to my stories and thought about the airplane lying on its side at the 90-degree point in the lazy eight. He thought about the rudder not being just a rudder, when in a steep bank. He thought about vertical and horizontal components of lift… . He was quicker than me.
Meynard was guiding Carlo and me through the deliciously intertwined relationships between pitch, bank and airspeed.
I wanted more and more of this discovery. I didn’t want it to end. 😦
Posted from Bangkok, Nov 2, 2007.