Manoeuvers and Figures – Flying and Judging

Manoeuvers and figures are the basic aerobatic building blocks from which more complex sequences are constructed, to be flown by pilots in training and competition.

Russell Sneyd – Club Captain

Competition aerobatics is not simple.  Consistently achieving high scores and progressing to increasingly difficult sequences requires dedication, knowledge and continual practise.  In this series of articles, I explain what is required for each manoeuver and how it is to be judged.

Free Known and Free Sequence Rules

For Entry and Graduate you are given a Known Sequence by the AAC that will be flown for the year at most state comps and the National Championships, so practice makes perfect.
For Sportsman you have the opportunity to fly a free in Program 2.
For Yak 52/Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited your free is part of Program 1 and is called the Free Known.

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Free Unknowns and Unknowns Sequence Rules

For the month of April, we will finish off sequence designing by looking at the Free Unknowns and Unknowns. The rules look at the FAI/CIVA rules for Yak 52/Intermediate, Advanced and Unlimited Free Unknowns Programs 2, 3 & 4 and the Unknowns for Sportsman and Graduates.

Also there are the Appendixes for FAI/CIVA figures that are allowed for the Free Unknowns and the AAC Sportsman Unknown figures. So technically the figures are not unknown it is the sequence that they will be flown and which figures that is the unknown factor.

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Safety Figures / Manoeuvers Before Flying The Sequence

Before beginning any sequence, pilots are allowed to do safety figures / manoeuvres The rules state that these manoeuvers are not compulsory or mandatory but highly recommended. Along with the safety side of making sure everything is correct with the aircraft and pilot before commencing your sequence, it also gives you a chance to feel and see the effects of the wind to help you position the start of your sequence so as to remain in the box.

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Signalling Rules – Start, Finish or Interruption to Sequence

Now that we are airborne and have completed our safety figures and where allowed, practice figures, how do we let the judges know we are ready to commence our sequence for scoring?

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Weather Break Rules & Penalised Break Rules

To fully understand the Weather Break Rule we also need to understand the Penalised Break Rule and Interruption of Program Rules. We will look through these in order starting with the Weather Break, then the Penalised Break and finally the Interruption of Program Rules.

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Time Limit Rules

It should be no surprise that all sequences must be completed in a given amount of time, so this tutorial looks at the Time Limit Rules.

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Flying and Judging the Aileron Roll and Hesitation Roll Manoeuvers

The Aileron (or Slow) Roll and the Hesitation Roll are complex co-ordinated exercises requiring continuously variable aileron, elevator and rudder control inputs.  These rolls are not actual figures but are manoeuvres which require another manoeuvre, such as straight line, to make them a figure and judgeable.

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Flying and Judging the Loop Manoeuver

The Loop is an important element in competition aerobatics as it is a fundamental part of many other figures of the Aresti catalogue.
The aim is to fly a loop that looks perfectly round to a ground observer.

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Flying and Judging the Stall Turn / Hammerhead Manoeuver

The Stall Turn / Hammerhead is another important manoeuver in aerobatics, firstly because it is a compulsory manoeuver for the Free Knowns or Frees, but also because at a higher level in the free knowns it is a good reversing figure or cross box figure.

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Flying and Judging the Spin Manoeuver

The spin in an aerobatic competition sequence is, indeed, a finely controlled figure throughout. A lot of finesse is required to achieve a good result that conforms precisely to the judging criteria.

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Flying and Judging the Steep Turn Manoeuver

An aerobatic steep turn is different to a steep turn learned in PPL training. It is a turn of at least 60° angle of bank where the bank angle is initiated without turning, then the aircraft is made to turn.
The turn is then stopped and then the bank rolled off after the turn is completed.

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Australian Aerobatic Club - Queensland Chapter

Australian Aerobatic Club
Queensland Chapter