With the air show season well underway in the southern U.S., many ICAS members are pulling their aircraft out of the hangar for the first time in several months. Now would be a good time to review last year’s flying and think about the things you might change for next season.
Did you have a problem with a maneuver last season? Was there something that didn’t work exactly the way you wanted? Did you take the airplane to high density altitude for the first time or did you see someone else do a maneuver that you want to add?
Even if you answered no to all these questions, over the next few weeks, you’ll have a unique opportunity to assess your own air show flying and prepare for the upcoming season. Find a fellow performer, trainer, instructor or mentor and set aside some time to plan your flying for 2009.
Start from the point of view of the fans. Before you add a really cool maneuver, as seen from the cockpit, ask yourself if it will be equally cool from the perspective of the audience. Then get a second opinion. We tend to be biased. If it qualifies, then get out there and practice. Find where it fits and where it doesn’t. Work out your energy requirements and your aborts. Then do it 1000 times.
Do the same thing with the rest of your sequence. Does it need to be changed? Work it out before your fly. Go up high and practice. Work your way down. Have a ground safety observer and mentor critique your flying and your safety procedures. Work back down to your waiver level.
Remember that G tolerance is very similar to athletic fitness. Taking a few months off will have a marked impact on your G tolerance. As we age our ability to retain fitness decreases. Work back into your flying and rebuild those muscles in the same way you would prepare for a race.