How Aerobatics Works

By: Patrick J. Kiger

Aerobatics: Cheat Sheet

Stuff you need to know:

  • Aerobatics is a type of flying in which pilots demonstrate their skill by performing exotic midair maneuvers, including loops, rolls, spins, abrupt changes of direction and even flying straight up like a rocket.
  • Aerobatics is practically as old as flying itself, and the first aerobatic maneuver -- a 360-degree banked turn -- actually was performed by the Wright brothers in 1904.
  • Since the late 1920s, when the first international aerobatics competition was held in Zurich, aerobatics gradually evolved into a sport with rules and standards.
  • Standard aerobatics maneuvers include Chandelles, dives, loops, rolls, wingovers, stall turns and Cuban eights.
  • To keep from crashing, aerobatics pilots must carefully calculate and manage the amount of kinetic energy used in a maneuver.
  • Some aerobatics pilots are so skilled that they can fly in formation so close together that their wings appear to be touching.

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