I've heard the term "gentleman's aerobatics" over the years. Can anyone help explain just what this is? I really enjoy unusual attitudes, I thought spin training was a blast.. so I'm curious as to what maneuvers are approved for the 750 series. From what I understand you would have to work at getting a spin or two out of one.. I'm aware of the plus and minus 'G's limitations and the requirements for parachutes etc... was lucky enough to get a few flights in a Citabria years ago and couldn't get enough wing-overs, immelmans, alierion rolls etc. Anyone have any thoughts??

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John: "gentleman's aerobatics" is obviously not a precise technical term, but a common definition would be maneuvering flight limited to gentle loops and rolls, satisfying that occasional need to get upside down. Think the opposite of more extreme maneuvers such as snap rolls or lomcevaks, which are also "harder" on the airframe. 

Doug, thanks for the clarification. I guess my next question is while observing all limitations and regulations and using a lot of common sense, what maneuvers are approved and or prohibited for the 750 series (specifically the STOL ). 

No Zenith models are approved for aerobatics.

Thanks Ian , this is good to know,  think I'll check the FARs  for more specific definitions, maybe have a more in-depth conversation with Sabastian or Roger. Thanks again for your input.

do a web search for ZENAIR CH-180 Super Acro-Zenith

You are correct. I should have specified CURRENT Zenith models.

check out this video of the CH-180 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJDyf10AHHk

I forgot about the CH-180. I wonder if Zenith would start selling plans again. A super beefed up 650 option would be awesome to do some moderate aerobatics in.

Any airplane is capable of aerobatic flight if flown carefully and within the limitations of the airframe and engine. The most famous example of that is when a Boeing test pilot did a barrel roll in the prototype Boeing 707. The President of Boeing was taking the President of a big airline golfing as part of making a visit to the factory pleasant. The airline was considering buying the still in development 707 and the airline guy was at the factory gathering information. One of the concerns of the airline guy (and his pilots) was that a plane as fast and slick as the proposed jet airliner might not be adequately manueverable. The chief test pilot of Boeing, without telling anyone his plan, flew low over the golf course and did a barrel roll. The airline bought the clearly manueverable Boeing 707.

To legally do aerobatics in a plane requires that the plane be approved for it. You, as the manufacturer of your plane, can do any manuevers you want during your test flight phase and then approve the plane for those manuevers. I am not saying that is a good idea, only that you could, in theory, do that. The factory recommends NO aerobatics for its airplanes. It's up to you.

Gentle positive G manuevers like aileron and barrel rolls, loops, maybe an immelman, can be done by almost any airplane in the hands of a skilled pilot who can keep those manuevers within the G and speed limits of the airframe. However, if you accidentally get messed up during the manuever it is very easy to exceed the airframe limitations if the plane is not beefed up considerably to handle the "oops" factor. Bob Hoover did amazing aerobatic manuevers in a fairly modern corprate twin engine airplane, an Aero Commander . Matt Younkin does an aerobatic show in a Beech 18, a 1930's corporate twin. Both of them stay inside the plane's limitations and have the skill to keep them there. Most of us do not.

To be clear, if yoiu want to do even limited aerobatic stuff in your plane, you need to do it during your initial test phase and include those manuevers in the operating restrictions and limitations you generate for the plane during that test phase. Just keep in mind that the guy who designed the plane (and his factory) say no aerobatics. If you do any (and you should be able to safely do so with caution) be sure to do them well inside the design limits of the airframe and engine.

Bob... Thanks!!! this is useful information. I'm beginning to understand that there are no hard and fast rules besides the design load limitations and the FARs...I plan on a good amount of transitional training, ( there's an outfit in Tennessee that does everything Zenith from build assist to BFRs etc.). I'm sure that they have some experience in this area. I don't want or intend to " wring-out " my airframe, but I also believe that it's important to understand the limitations of Man and machine. I was fortunate enough to see Bob Hoover's " Energy Management " show in the 80s, Awesome!  I think it was ' Hoot ' Gibson who rolled the 707 or maybe Bud Anderson anyway, thanks again for your input.

"Tex" Johnson was the Boeing pilot who did the deed...........


The correct response is " who was Tex Johnson" , and thank you for playing Test Pilot Trivia!!... seriously , thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.


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