Happy Birthday Bug! It’s hard to believe you are 7 years old already! We all love you very much!

Today I flew my 5th aerobatic lesson with Mike Love. We started out with the normal aileron rolls on our way out to the practice area. We actually went a little farther north, just beyond the Wisconsin River near Sauk City because other students were practicing to the south. Once we got there, I did several loops, pretty nice ones too. So now aileron rolls and loops are old hat, not really a challenge to me anymore, and they don’t make me sick. Time to move on!

When you are learning aerobatics you start of with rolls and loops because they are the building blocks of more complex maneuvers. I was hoping for some Cuban 8’s today, but those will have to wait, the Immelman Turn is the obvious next step. It is named for the World War 1 German ace that invented it. The object of the Immelman is to reverse direction by 180 degrees while gaining altitude and losing airspeed. It is the nearly opposite of a Split-S. If the animation below does not work, just click it.

To perform the Immelman in a Cessna Aerobat you start by diving to get your speed up to 130 knots, about 10 knots faster than when doing a loop. You then pull up to about 3.5-4 G’s and hold that until you are near the top of the loop. At the top, you provide a little gentle forward pressure, just enough to hang there for a short second. This is real easy so far, now on to the part I had trouble with.

To roll the wings level you can roll either left or right, but have to initially provide opposite rudder. So if you roll left, you need some right rudder, and vice-versa. But you only use opposite rudder for a second, then switch to the other foot. It is similar to doing a crosswind landing, but upside down. I had a problem with this. I just could not seem to roll left and use right rudder, or roll right and use left. It actually became quite humorous, I just could not convince my feet to do what I wanted them to. The result was dubbed “The Osborne Turn” by my instructor, it is like an Immelman, but instead of turning 180 degrees, you turn either 90 or 270. Quite interesting πŸ™‚

The first one I did actually resulted in me being pinned to the ceiling of the plane. I did not have my seatbelts tight enough, and the hang-time at the top of the loop made my head hit the ceiling. It was not comfortable, but it was funny. I tightened the seatbelts πŸ™‚

Mike also warned me about the possiblity of spinning out of the top of an Immelman, that it is sometimes called the Immelman Spin because of the good likelihood of this happening. I guess I just had to prove it to myself. I did spin out of one unintentionally, but even that was fun.

I never really got the hang of the Immelman, at least not yet, so I will be back to face these again next week. The rest of the flight was real nice, a beautiful morning to fly.