For more than five years I enjoyed the opportunity to fly low level aerobatics in a highperformance aerobatic biplane at events on the east coast. My experiences ranged from small to medium sized shows and it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have had in aviation. Imagine taking off in an aerobatic airplane knowing that for the next ten minutes, fifty thousand people are about to watch you perform “magic in the air.”
contracted the International Council of Airshows organization (ICAS) with regulating the ACE program. The experience is very similar to a standard checkride for any pilot license or rating, except the examiner will stay on the ground and watch you perform aerobatics. You must successfully demonstrate your intended aerobatic routine as well as a variety of standard aerobatic maneuvers to the satisfaction of the examiner.
Ultimately though, the best experience about flying airshows was the inspiration that it gave the audience. On a regular basis, after landing, I was swarmed by kids and adults wanting to talk to me about how I made the airplane do what it did. It’s been amazing to receive letters from people explaining how their talk with me after my performance inspired them to try to make their personal dreams and passions a reality. Having the opportunity to inspire others through aviation is a cool experience, and airshows definitely afford that experience.
Whether you take a few basic upset recovery courses, or if you decide to become the next airshow legend, learning how to fly aerobatics will be a great experience that will ultimately make you a safer pilot. Your improved motor skills will be a huge asset in all types of flying, but the best part will be the experience of seeing the blue side down and the brown side up. About Jamail Larkins: Jamail Larkins started his career in aviation as the National Spokesman for the EAA Young Eagles Program in 2000. He graduated with an Aviation Business Administration degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 2005, Jamail became the FAA’s Ambassador for Aviation & Space Education, and is now one of the leading advocates for general aviation to mainstream America. He is also the President & CEO of Ascension Aircraft, an aircraft sales & leasing company based in Augusta, GA.
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