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In a message dated 11/2/2002 10:30:50 PM Pacific Standard Time, jwcornwell@usa.net writes:


The key to good vertical rolls is a good vertical to begin with, and it is
useless to practice vertical rolls until you can consistently achieve the
correct vertical attitude.


This is the fundamental truth of vertical rolls. But, at least insofar as my S-2B is concerned, there are a couple of complications.

Firstly, you can forget all that blather in the Red Book about the Zero Lift Axis. The "vertical" line has to look vertical to the judges and critiquers, whether it's vertical or not. Since the B, like all factory Pitts', has 1 1/2 degree incidence in the wings, the chubby little fuselage does not appear vertical when the wings are at "Zero Lift". I have to fly my verticals a bit "towards canopy". This means that in a vertical roll to the right, the left wing will appear to drop for the first half roll. So, if I'm going to roll to the right, I "fix" the vertical with forward stick just as I start the roll. Somehow this works out automatically when I roll left, probably a result of more practice rolling left.

Secondly, no matter what the angle of the "vertical", my B needs a touch of right rudder in a vertical roll to the right, even after "fixing" the vertical as noted above. I don't know if they're all like this, but mine sure is. Have to be careful with this, however, because too much steering with rudder and/or elevator just kills the plane's energy. In Intermediate, you'll see only 1/4 vertical rolls. In Advanced, you may encounter a 3/4 in an unknown. Obviously, 1/2's and 1's need never be flown to the right since they don't change from x to y axis or vice versa (and there are no unlinked vertical rolls in Intermediate or Advanced unknowns).

Anyway, vertical rolls to the right deserve a lot of practice, especially the 3/4's. Without recent practice, I've actually managed to get so crossed up trying to keep the axis straight that I've fallen out of the roll. Bad form if anyone's watching!

Doug Sowder

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