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Airplane Tricks


March 19, 2005 05:13 PM PST

Earlier this month, I got to fly a friend's private plane around the San Juan Islands. I've never flown before, but subtract takeoff, landings, and any emergency situation, and it's pretty much like Crimson Skies. This little two seater is actually a kit and was built by the pilot, a retired commercial airline pilot. It's got two seats; front and back, both pitch, yaw and throttle controls. I think it goes about 130 mph, and can do rolls, loops, etc. I got to fly it from the back seat for 20 minutes between about 1000 feet and 3000 feet.

It was a clear, crisp spring day...

We took off from the Roche Harbor airstrip.

Zipped over San Juan Valley.

Did some wing-to-wings. (We're 90 degrees of horizonal here.)

We're in the middle of a full roll. You can see the camera reflected in the cockpit and no wings because we're upside-down at this point.

Coming out of the roll, we're a bit closer to Spieden island! Lost a couple hundred feet of elevation because we did more of a gradual spiral than a hard roll. (Apparently - I was just grabbing the seat bars and holding down the shutter on the camera!)

View up-island towards the Canadian Gulf Islands and beyond.

Back on the ground, a bald eagle flew overhead and I happened to catch a rainbow around the sun.

Comments (7)

John, March 19, 2005 09:32 PM:

Luckyyy! Gosh.

Wheelson, March 19, 2005 11:13 PM:

That looks like an RV-4. I too knew a commercial pilot who had one of these. He also knew how to perform aerobatics. Man that was an awesome ride. We did just about every trick in the book. Then he let me take the stick and said, "Ok, try doing a roll." I did loops, rolls, the works. He had a g force meter and said during one of the loops we pulled 3-4g's, which wansn't too bad, but it was only for a few seconds.

You're right, it was sort of like cimson skies.

Gavin, March 19, 2005 11:25 PM:


Paul, March 19, 2005 11:56 PM:

The first time I ever flew in a plane (1988), was in an ex-girlfriend's brother's cessna. There was this thing he did with the wing flaps that caused the plane to drop really quickly for a short distance. He called it "The Elevator". Quite accurate, and completely scared the crap out of me.

J, March 20, 2005 10:38 AM:

Wheelson - close, it's an RV-8. And looking at the specs, it can apparently easily do 200mph. Neither of us was about to have me try doing the tricks though!

J, March 20, 2005 10:43 AM:

Oh, you guys will like this. We're both wearing noise cancelling headsets, and after taking off and broadcasting our position, I hear this background music come on, like some 50's music. Turns out, the pilot has hooked his MP3 player into the system so when no one's talking you've got tunes!

Gavin, March 20, 2005 09:29 PM:

When I was flying in Alaska the pilots would plug a tape into the system for the passengers to have a narration about the Juneau ice field as the pilot flew the plane.
When we flew cargo/passengers to cities around Alaska they would plug in a tape of music (not nearly as high tech as MP3) into the same system. The funny thing was, even with great headsets, you had to put ear plugs in, then the head sets and turn the music way up just to hear it in the old DeHavilland Otters (9 cylinder circular engine right in front of you).
Good Times...

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