Maneuver Creep

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Most of you would never have this happen, and some might, but would never admit it publicly. Over the past two show seasons, I’ve gradually made a change in my opening maneuver. What started out as an occasional effort to gain more energy by dropping down lower became the norm. I started to notice that my downline was getting more and more cramped, but didn’t connect the dots. I was feeling uncomfortable in the pullout knowing that I was on the edge, but still didn’t connect the dots. Finally, a friend who shall remain nameless, gave me a thumbs down. Among other things, he told me to increase my altitude on the entry maneuver.

On the next performance I did as I was told, jacked it up 100 feet and, wow, what a relief. That uncomfortable feeling that had been nagging me was gone. I had allowed my opener to change, very slowly, but change nonetheless. Maneuver creep had taken away my margin for error and mechanical failure. It took a stern look from a friend to break the cycle.

When a friend takes you aside and says they are concerned, take it to heart. Take a look in the mirror. It actually feels pretty darn good.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.