That was AWESOME! This was one of the most memorable flying days of my career and I still can’t stop smiling. I learned so much at Executive Flyers and had so much fun. I got to see what it’s like to make unusual attitudes the usual. Getting specialized training in upset recovery, unusual attitudes, and aerobatics let me explore the edges of the airplane’s envelop and build confidence to react properly and safely if I were to ever inadvertently put myself in that situation.
It probably goes without saying, but Michael Goulian is a wonderful instructor, in addition to being one of the best pilots in the world. He made everything seem simple and straightforward. We spent lots of time on the ground and in the simulator focusing on stall awareness and recovery. He emphasized the importance of the wing’s angle of attack and basic aerodynamics. We practiced recovering from all types of stalls in the simulator and the airplane without using any power, making sure we kept it simple and gentle and by just reducing the angle of attack. I love his motto, “It’s the wing that stalls. It’s the wing that flies.”
In the simulator, we also practiced a takeoff out of Aspen Airport (where I’m going next!). As a newbie to flying in mountains, it was really interesting how the terrain created a false horizon and I tricked myself into climbing at a higher angle of attack that I needed and unsafely put myself in a situation where I wasn’t climbing well at the high elevation and needed to clear fast rising terrain. My first time wasn’t so good, but thanks to the beauty that is training in a simulator, I was able to try again and this time use what I learned to create a more successful outcome.
This was my first time flying a Super Decathlon. It is a great aerobatic trainer and was a great teacher in showing the importance of rudder to avoid left turning tendencies and adverse yaw. After practicing recoveries from a variety of stall configurations and usual attitudes and feeling comfortable and confident with those principles, we went into the basic of aerobatics. Michael walked me through a loop and then I got to do it myself. And then, because I was having the time of my life, we did a roll, a hammerhead, and inverted flight.
I whole heartedly believe that all pilots should get focused training in upset recovery and aerobatics. It allows you to really think about aerodynamics and the airplane’s energy and using it to your advantage. It makes you a better pilot… and…. It is just good pure fun!