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Redbook Review - July

Posted by tl3
Posted on 7/24/2017

July 2017 Issue 6

The dog days of summer are nearly upon us, unless you’re in the NE, in which case summer came and went last Thursday at about 3:33 pm. AMA Scale Aerobatics NATS are in the books for 2017, and I’d like to offer a hearty congratulations to everyone involved in another successful event. Believe it or not, plans are already underway for 2018 NATS! Personally speaking, missing NATS this year was a great disappointment, but sometimes life outside IMAC intercedes. Speaking of which, Redbook Review will be taking a short hiatus until September while I continue to attend to some of those non-IMAC life events. But it will be back in September as we roll into Regional Finals season and fill out the US Team Roster for the 2018 IMAC World Championships. Until then, we have an installment covering the challenges and intricacies of those deceptively challenging Aerobatics Turns.

Bank & Yank    Steve Sides

While it fosters images of hot dogging, or top-gunning, we commonly use the phrase “bank and yank” to describe an aerobatic turn in Aresti Family 2.  These seemingly simple maneuvers often times get the best of even seasoned aerobatics pilots, so let’s take a closer look at these figures from both a judging and execution perspective.

Aerobatic turns seem to be one of those figures where our collective flying experience gets in the way of properly executing this figure.  After all we’ve been doing turns since before we first soloed and the practice has become second nature.  Everyone knows that you roll a bit, put in some elevator, and presto, the plane turns.  However, aerobatic turns require that a specific sequence of events takes place for the figure to meet the judging criteria. In fact, a more accurate phrase describing an aerobatic turn might be bank THEN yank.  Let’s look at it more closely.

There are 3 distinct parts of an aerobatic turn.  First is the beginning roll.  The aircraft must roll at a constant rate and establish a bank angle between 60 and 90 degrees.  During this phase the aircraft is to maintain its original flight path or track.  The second part is the actual turn.  While maintaining the bank angle established in the roll segment, elevator is introduced to execute the turn for the specified amount bringing the aircraft to the departure heading.  The third and final part is the roll back to horizontal flight.  Using the same roll rate as that established in during the initial roll, the aircraft is rolled back to horizontal flight, completing the turn.

From a judging perspective there are a number of things to keep track of.  Is the aircraft’s flight path being maintained while the entry and exit rolls are executed?  Are the roll rates constant and equal?   With respect to the turn itself, is it round?  Did the rate of turn change?  Did the pilot maintain the same altitude throughout the figure?  Speaking of altitude as a judge you have to be aware of the perspective that you’re seeing the aircraft.  An aircraft that is flying at a constant altitude will appear to descend when going away and climb when coming toward the judge.  You can prove that by borrowing your kid’s hula hoop (if these things are still called that – could be ‘Fidget Hoops’ or something).  Have someone hold it level above your line of sight and see how a level aircraft track would appear.  All these criteria, and the relevant deductions, are in the Family 2 rules, which can be found on page SCA-35 of your 2017-2018 AMA Scale Aerobatics Rulebook.

So, there really is much more involved in performing an aerobatic turn than might first be assumed.  It’s no wonder that some pilots execute what they think is an excellent turn only to find that it didn’t score too well.  Sort of like “Everyone can do a loop,” but we’ll leave that for another topic.

Quick Quiz: How are the judging criteria of Family 5 and Family 6 figures similar yet different?

June Quick Quiz Answer: Figures 3, 8, 7, and 9. But the trickster in me has to include fig 4 ;-)  For 10 bonus points, explain why, and carefully tape your answer to a NIB EMHW 50% Christen Eagle kit, I’ll post my shipping address later.


Click for a printable version.