Acro Image

Aerobatics Server

ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Safety issues

[International Aerobatic Club] [Communications] [Aerobatics Images]

Disclaimer: These aerobatics pages are developed by individual IAC members and do not represent official IAC policy or opinion.

[Usage Statistics]

ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Safety issues


Thread: Safety issues

Message: Safety issues

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: Damon Wack <71034.2200 at>

Date: Sat, 24 Feb 1996 22:36:37 UTC


  I have been reading the proposed rule changes with interest, and thought I'd add
my comments to the fray!<G>  It got a little longer than I expected, so be
forewarned! ;)

I do agree that fire extinguishers should be provided at the starting line.
I guess I thought they already were required.  They are provided at most
contest's I've been to.  I've seen them used more than once anyway, so this is a
good idea.  I think each chapter can easily afford this.

I can't wear a helmet, as much as I'd like to, there is not enough room.  I am
interested in the one Tom spoke of in SA.  Perhaps it would do, although I am
unsure of just how much protection it would give.  

I do have a fire extenguisher in my 230, but it was there when I got it, and I
don't know the cost.  To the guy who was worried about room:  I don't think this
would be a problem in most a/c, mine is bolted to the frame behind my seat,
under the turtle deck; I think this should work for almost anybody, although cg
could be affected adversely if yours is critical.

I don't know if requiring them is a good idea though.  Kurt, I think your
heart's in the right place, but before we go requiring safety items, I'd like to
look at the record and see what actually is killing us.

I haven't been in the sport long, but the major killers are to me are 1st &
foremost loss of control (spin), followed by (not necessarily in order)
structural failure, pushing weather in a x-country,  and low aerobatics.
Everyone that I know that was killed was a victim of one of the above, (except
Jan Jones, I don't think we'll ever know what happened there.)  Amos
Buetell(sp?) was before I was in the sport, but he probably could have
benefitted from some sort of fire protection, so I can't rule out your ideas

I'm not entirely against requiring some form of the Mueller-Beggs spin training
for aerobatic pilots, heck, I think we ought to require it for *all* pilots.
I'm probably a throwback, though!<G>  

How to incorporate this into a requirement, I have no idea though.  Maybe
instead of a basic patch, we could have spin certificates or something, from a
CFI or other approved school showing the succsesful completion of a full spin
recovery course, that would include (especially) accidental entries from such
manuevers as hammers or Immelman's.  I'm not too impressed by anyone who objects
to the cost of such training, IMHO you have no business doing aerobatics unless
you are *proficient* AND reasonably comfortable with *all* types of spins, spin
entries, and recoveries.  I would happily volunteer to give free instruction to
anyone who provides a two seat airplane, if they feel money is that much of a

Structural failure:  from all I've heard I don't think Rick had much of a
chance, nor Marty Vavra.  I'm unsure how to keep something like this from
happening, especially in a sport where many of the aircraft are owner built.
I don't think *anybody* ever expected a Sukhoi to break.  The articles in SA
about composites recently have been very interesting, especially when trying to
determine if there are any defects in them.  From what I can gather, this can be
very difficult, if not impossible to do. I would like to know more about this.
I would also like to know more about wood wings, i.e., what to watch for (yeah,
I know, big cracks)<G>.  Seriously, I do not know as much as I would like about
the structural strengths, design criteria, etc.  I think some articles by Dan
Rihn and/or Jon Staudacher  (I know you're so pleased I volunteered you
guys!<G>), or even some input from the engineers at Extra, or Sukhoi Design
would be nice things to see in our magazine.(Think big!)<G>

I think the tech inspections are *definitely* a good idea, I disagree strongly
with the pilot who thought everyone should be responsible for their own craft.
While I agree with the "responsible" part, I have to say it is always better to
have more than one pair of eyes give your airplane a good going over.  

Pushing bad weather - what can I say?  I've done it, probably most of us have.
This again is very difficult, being in the domain of pilot judgement.   I try to
go by the rule of always leaving a way to retreat, and I have used such an
escape route much more than once in over 4000 hrs of flying.

Low aerobatics -  this just makes me angry.  I lost a friend the first year I
was in the sport - I was told he was doing loops around high tension lines.  We
have *got* to avoid the "showing off" syndrome.  I think peer pressure is the
best way to discourage this.  If somebody scares you, TELL them about it, and it
most definitely should not be tolerated at contests.  I've never seen people
recklessly showing off , but I have seen pilots I thought were flying in a
category that may have been a bit beyond them.  I am guilty of not saying
anything at the time; it is difficult to take a risk of bruising a friend or
acquaintence's ego; but I will try harder in the future to do what I think is
right.  I don't want to lose any more friends.

Sorry for the long post, and Kurt, I think your posting of your opinions here is
a good thing, I do not think we can talk about safety too much.

As a matter of fact, perhaps we could have a Safety Corner, or something like
it, in our magazine each month, written by pilots about issues they have
personally dealt with, or are important to them.  I cannot count the valuable
safety tips I have learned just from talking to other pilots on their different
procedures, and personal safety rules.  I wish I could remeber them all!  I
think compiling these many ideas in written form would would make an excellent
adddition to our magazine!   Karen, I hereby volunteer to write the first

Looking forward to a safe and FUN season!


Damon Wack


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn