Just Andy

Life is the greatest challenge of all


First Aero's Competition

Posted by andyreohorn on May 4, 2008 at 6:48 AM

For anyone thinking about what the challenge of an Aero's competition would hold and feeling rather unsure or out of their depth, this is a marvellous way of learning the ropes from the experienced guys. Nick and Jen Buckenham go out of their way to make you feel welcome and advice from a variety of sources is never far away.

We had initially booked in for the event in the Bulldog, but owing to maintenance over running, had to change to the Extra to enable us to still fly.


The Extra is one awesome aeroplane. Every time I am lucky enough to squeeze into the cockpit of one I am amazed by the raw power and ability of this airframe. With a little more experience under my feet since the last time I flew one, I was happy to be able to take a little more advantage of its abilities.

Flicking out of a stalled turn is great fun as you are secure in the knowledge that relaxing the back pressure will get you flying again.
Getting a stall turn wrong resulted in what would be an alarming knife edge slip in most aeroplanes, but is huge fun in this one Cool

A flick out of a botched quarter clover, some interesting variations on exits from stall turns and a new way of keeping the pull up on a loop straight were the main memories from the practice session.

A quick run through of them sequence and then we were heading for the 'box'.

Hmmmm....this box thing. It's not very large. A cube with 1000m sides in an aeroplane that was doing 140 knots. You don't stay in it very long at all!! That is probably the most daunting mountain to climb in this entire competition thing.

Oh well, let's go for it anyway.

Trimmed out, 140 knots, 3 wing rocks to notify the judges that we were about to commence and immediately I was off axis. Those wing rocks need some practice.

Pulling up into the first 5/8 of a loop the nerves went as concentration kicked in. We were almost vertically down before I started the roll so it was hurried and against the burble of the stall. I was aware that I had come out off line, but unsure how much. Straight and level briefly before pulling up again for the half cuban, over the top, nail the 45 degree line, hold, then roll, spinning the world around the nose.........damn, where the hell am I? Where did the runway go? Oh bugger!

Prompted from the rear seat I rocked the wings three times and we climbed and turned, found the runway again and set ourselves up for the rest of the sequence.
You can do this in beginners competitions with no penalty. The idea is safety related, why push on becoming more and more bewildered and losing concentration when you can break off, gain a bit of height and start from where you broke off. You are also able to employ this if you are getting a little low. 1500' is the absolute limit for the Beginners sequence and it is strictly enforced.

Back to the sequence and the stall turn is actually ok, before pulling the nose away from the ground to enter the loop and the final roll. Rolling an Extra with its 400 degrees a second roll rate, means that stopping wings level requires a fair amount of concentration.

Three wing rocks signals the end of the sequence and we join crosswind to land.

Some time later....these aerobatic competitions are clearly places where you drink lots of tea, talk lots and get to increase your heartbeat enormously for a few frantic minutes in the day.......the judged sequence started.

The nerves on climb out were enormous, I hoped I would be a little more aware of my surroundings this time and wouldn't go to jelly.

"G-DUKK entering the box", three wing rocks, get closer to the runway this time, glance at airspeed, runway almost on the nose, pull up, up into the loop, down the other side and roll to the left....hey fantastic, I can actually see the runway out of the corner of my eye. Keep it straight and level, count to three, 140 knots and pull into another loop.
Over the top, small correction to keep wings level, establish downline and nudge stick forward to keep it straight. Bugger, too shallow, I know I haven't made the 45 degree line, but keep concentration going Andy. Roll upright, runway out to my left, in the right place.
Straight and level, position ok, pull up into the stall turn, the Extra keeps on going up for seemingly ever, clawing at the air around it with the prop. As we slow down, feed that right rudder in, the airframe starts to vibrate, kick the left rudder, stick over to the right to counter the adverse yaw, forward a little too to keep the downline vertical, right rudder to stop the nose passing through the vertical and we are pointing at the ground. Wait for the speed to increase and then pull to straight and level again.

Eyes to the right, runway still there (oh my word, this works!), pull up into the loop, a little too gently, float over the top, build up speed on the downward path gradually feeding n more back pressure on the stick and level.

We cheat a bit here, nudging the nose up a fraction before the stick goes to the left and we complete the roll. Three wing rocks and it is all over Cool

It felt good. Very good. I had survived and I had gained a lot of knowledge and had enormous fun.

It's not about competing , it is all about having fun........yeah right Laughing

As I wandered upstairs looking at my scores I was more than happy. Quite frankly if I came last the scores were enough to please me. So it was with surprise that I was surrounded by the others asking my score. It was with even more surprise that I realised that my score was the highest at that point except for Ridders who was airborne and two others.

OK, I admit I was gutted when he beat me by a small margin, but at the end of the day we were both really chuffed that the two of us managed a respectable 1st and 2nd as good mates and fellow group members. At least I can improve on my position Wink

Contest Results: Beginners Known Sequence
Loop Beginners Day #2, at Leicester Airfield - 3rd May 2008
Rank Pilot Aeroplane Registration Known #1 Totals O/all %
1 Dave Ridley Extra-300L G-DUKK 561.81 561.81 73.92
2 Andy Reohorn Extra-300L G-DUKK 555.06 555.06 73.03
3 Ian Wyatt Extra-300L G-DUKK 553.12 553.12 72.78
4 Simon Longstaff Extra-300L G-DUKK 550.53 550.53 72.44
5 Simon Barnard Pitts S-111D G-IIIV 550.39 550.39 72.42
6 John Scott CAP-10B G-BXRA 539.68 539.68 71.01
7 Des Bond Citabria Aurora G-EGWN 514.13 514.13 67.65
8 Chris Sills Cessna-152 G-BFMK 507.86 507.86 66.82
9 Neil Thorburn CAP-10B G-SLEA 506.98 506.98 66.71
10 Mark Devlin Citabria Aurora G-EGWN 506.27 506.27 66.61
11 Nick Robinson Starduster-2 G-DUST 498.53 498.53 65.60
12 Richard Whincup Extra-300L G-DUKK 470.60 470.60 61.92
13 Andrew Crowe Extra-300L G-DUKK 438.95 438.95 57.76
Contest Director: Nick Buckenham. Contest Chief Judge: Steve Todd. Scorer: Jen Buckenham. Judges: Steve Todd, Graham Hill, Lynne Westnage, Ed Harding. Judges Assistants: John Vize.

As an aside, I also managed some P1 time in RobL's extremely lovely Taylorcraft. Thanks for trusting me enough in the left hand seat Rob. She is a lovely machine and it is good to go and fly something like an Extra and then immediately get into the Taylorcraft. 300hp to 65 hp, extreme machine to gentleman's carriage, 85 knots over the numbers to 40mph over the numbers.

If only I could afford one of each 

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1 Comment

Reply Carol de Solla Atkin
3:12 AM on May 5, 2008 
Andy <br> <br>Your flying is obviously on par with your writing. I am very impressed. <br> <br>It is obviously only a matter of a short period of time before your name appears at the top of the score board. <br> <br>Keep up the good work.