Acro Image

Aerobatics Server

ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Aircraft Performance

[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: Aircraft Performance


Thread: Aircraft Performance

Message: Aircraft Performance

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

From: "Marc S. Ludtke" <ludtke at>

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 05:49:42 UTC



I am very interested in your analysis of pilot/aircraft scoring, and I'm
impressed with the level of effort you have put into this project.  In your
introduction to your website, you state:  "Our contests should be between
PILOTS, not aircraft, and it is UNFAIR to compare pilots when the aircraft
flown have significantly different performance...."

I would like to (dare to) suggest that aircraft performance is NOT as
decisive as you say.  I agree that the state of the art has been raised
over recent years, and the complexity and 'K' values of the flight
programmes have been steadily rising, as the recent changes to Advanced
certainly indicate.  However, I believe that as long as the chosen aircraft
has enough performance to fly the chosen category and have a margin of
performance left, then that pilot can compete fairly with any aircraft of
higher performance in the same category.  For example, a Pitts S-1C, a
Decathlon, and a Sukhoi are all flying in Intermediate in the same contest.
 Who will win?  If aircraft performance is everything, then one could say
that the winner will definitely be the Sukhoi, followed by the Pitts and
the Decathlon.  But as we all know, a hamburger in a silver wrapper is
still a hamburger, and airplanes can't fly by themselves.  

That's the beauty of our wonderful sport.  It's the only recognized MOTOR
sport that has such emphasis on individual skill and artistry instead of
brute horsepower.  That's why we often compare aerobatics to figure skating
and Olympic diving instead of auto racing or even air racing. True, the
monoplanes have far less problem with energy, but the pilots of these high
tech brutes have many more problems to solve in order to score as well as
the Pitts.  Such as: longer verticals and consequent wind drift; quick,
"wobbly" controls due to less natural stability; higher true airspeeds
across the box; higher workload due to higher G (see airspeed); larger,
cleaner looking airplanes that show EVERYTHING, good or bad. In other
words, learning to MANAGE the extra performance can be as difficult as
flying with less. I have been fortunate enough to have tested nearly all of
the high-end monoplanes, extensively instructed in the Sukhois, and have
competed primarily in the Pitts S1-C, S-2B, and S-2S. Believe me, in
Advanced and below the monoplanes have little or no advantage.  It all
comes down to the pilot's skill (stick and rudder ability), experience
(knowledge of contest rules and time in the box), and his/her familiarity
with the chosen aircraft and category.

Dennis, this is in no way a criticism of your scores analysis.  Keep up the
good work.




© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn