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Old 19th May 2020, 12:24
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Pilot DAR
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 59
Posts: 4,562
Yes. You really have to pick your mentors carefully. The problem is that if you are lesser experience, the person with more experience simply has more experience, but it can be hard to know how much more. And, a person with good flying skills may lack good discipline and crew skills.

A very good tool to protect yourself from impromptu silliness in the cockpit is the preflight briefing. Generally, this is done between two pilots, though if you think it will help, brief yourself for a solo flight, no reason not to! Have the briefing, does it make sense? Does it sound safe? Are there appropriate safety points? Does everything in the briefing conform to the rules and is within the limitations of the plane? (You have the books now, it's a good time to check if in doubt!). Are you confident that the briefed maneuvers are within the skills of the pilot? If there is a briefing, and it sounds compliant, go flying.

Now you're up in the air, is the flight going the way the briefing said it would? If something changes, it should be rebriefed. If that won't work, land, and start again for the next flight. If the pilot you're flying with says: "just let me show you...", "let's try...", or, "watch this", and that's not in the briefing, say no, and the flight should be ended promptly.

Many to many times I have been a passenger/second pilot to "watch this" from the other pilot, and I'm surprised I survived it all. I've been asked in flight to demonstrate things which were not in the plan. While doing a design approval test flight in a club 172 once, I was asked by the right seat instructor if I would show him a roll - no, I would not. I later learned that that instructor was the safety officer for the club!

Yes, I've been taught to roll, by an aerobatic pilot in his 150 Aerobat. Then, I practiced a lot. I also learned and practiced all the other aerobatic maneuvers approved in the Aerobat (yeah, I know, it's not a real aerobatic plane, but it's something...). That done, I can say that a roll is the most likely aerobatic maneuver which, if bungled, will get you in the most trouble fast. There are countless videos of low altitude roll crashes at airshows - and we presume that those pilots should have known how to roll safely!.

Aerobatic maneuvers include pointing the plane toward exceeding a limitation, and then completing the graceful maneuver without exceeding any limitation. We all understand to not exceed Vne, and we have a nicely marked airspeed indicator to assure that we know we're staying within the speed limits. And, the pointer shows you the trend. Aerobatics also involve varying the G loading. Unless the plane is equipped with an G meter, what do you have to assure you that you are flying within the G limits of the plane?

The preflight briefing for a dual aerobatic flight would include a reference to not exceeding any G limits. I wonder how the Cirrus roll pilot would have briefed how they would keep the plane within the G limits....

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