The Propensity to Roll and Airplane

The ballistic roll, the easiest roll to learn, is an aileron roll started from a 30 degree pitch above the horizon. The elevator is moved neutral, and then full aileron is applied in direction of roll. The airplane goes ballistic; therefore, no adverse yaw and rudder is not required.
The ballistic roll, the easiest roll to learn, is an aileron roll started from a 30 degree pitch above the horizon. The elevator is moved neutral, and then full aileron is applied in direction of roll. The airplane goes ballistic; therefore, no adverse yaw and rudder is not required.
Pilots have a propensity to roll an airplane. Put a pilot on an airplane simulator and one of his first maneuvers is a roll. Put a pilot in a high performance aerobatic aircraft, and the aircraft and pilot become one as they roll, and roll and roll some more. So what is behind a pilot’s propensity to roll? Does it even matter? It is what it is and it is a good thing. Pilots want to roll because they aspire to have fun. Aviation should be about fun, emotion and accomplishment.

In this month’s featured video, I try to capture the “romance and freedom of flight”. click to see

But wait, there is a dark side – the roll done at a low altitude.
The pent up propensity to include a roll in a low pass over ground observers is dramatic and part of our heritage from the golden days of aviation; however, unless you are a professional airshow pilot, that scenario is not the place for a demonstration of the roll. Every year, general aviation suffers fatalities because of low level maneuvers. Safety seminars, flight instructors, and every aviation organization speak to the consequences associated with maneuvers done at low altitude. Their message is – don’t perform low altitude maneuvers!

It is ok to have fun and succumb to your propensity to roll, but do it at a safe altitude and only roll airplanes certified for aerobatics.

A final comment: Do not teach yourself to roll or perform any other aerobatic maneuver. Take lessons!