Info for interested Aerobatic Course enrollees who haven't taken the solo course

This page is for aerobatic pilots potentially interested in attending 1st U.S. R/C Flight School who did not originally learn to fly solo at the school. Exceptions to the school's prior enrollees only policy are occasionally made when certain criteria are met....

Quality training, not merely quantity!

[One aspect of effective instruction involves the instructor clearly communicating the appropriate lessons that he has learned to the less experienced student so that the student doesn't have to go through the same mistakes that he did while learning. Off-the-cuff instruction and trial-and-error methods are never used at this school.]

Along with an openness to learn new things, those who attend the school's accelerated aerobatic courses must have a decent foundation on which to build in order for the student and the school to continue to be successful. That foundation starts with a habit of flying parallel lines with the runway centerline:

The tendency of most aerobatic pilots is to start a maneuver and then react to deviations—when the real solution is to find out why the airplane deviated in the first place, and correct the situation. Yet, without consistent positioning, even the same deviation in the same maneuver can look quite different each time. Relating to instructions and identifying the deviations common to any given maneuver can therefore become very difficult, thus hindering the pilot's learning. Read Details

On the other hand, by performing your center and turnaround maneuvers along the same parallel line, like watching a familiar scene over and over, you'll make the connection between what you're seeing and what the instructor is saying much quicker, and thus progress at a much more efficient pace.

Secondly, unless you and your instructor followed a complete training syllabus when learning to fly, you are, for all practical purposes, self taught through the trial-and-error method, and your approach to flying is based on "reacting" to the airplane. Reactors typically wait to see a deviation before it occurs to them that a correction is or was needed. In view of the compound effect a deviation has on the rest of a maneuver, their skills tend to plateau at a point where reacting to deviations after the fact is already too late to perform any maneuver very well. If persistent, those who do get better at correcting deviations require great amounts of time and fuel to do so. Read Details

Concerning the school, the challenge of training a reactor is that he tends to make 3 to 4 times more control inputs than what the maneuvers require when flown correctly, and thus the pilot who is continually making inputs has little opportunity to be thinking about or receiving instruction on how to become a better flyer. A high quantity of inputs also increases the likelihood of errors, and as such the reactor tends to get different results every time he or she attempts the maneuver. Hence, while the instructor can call out the mistakes made each time, he can not offer concrete solutions if the pilot continues to introduce different variables. (Expo promises to tame the consequences of making a lot of inputs, but it does not address the cause.)

For both the student and instructor to be successful in an accelerated course, that is, make the most of every minute on the sticks, the student must learn to control the airplane, not merely react to it. Controllers are knowledgeable, executing each maneuver using predictable commands with the airplane following along. When a deviation is encountered, they take that opportunity to determine why it occurred, and from that point forward they are able to anticipate the appropriate correction(s) to prevent that deviation from happening, before it happens. In other words, they are ahead of the airplane.

The decisive quality here being that while reactors are often too busy attempting to correct deviations to really learn what’s causing them in the first place, the controller's consistency allows him to pinpoint what’s needed to make significant strides in just a few attempts! (Even if he is committing an error, the error is consistent, and therefore more quickly diagnosed and remedied.)

Establishing a foundation of parallel lines and learning to control what an airplane does (instead of reacting to it) are thoroughly covered in One Week To SoloSport (Basic) Aerobatics, and Precision Aerobatics manuals. If you appreciate the concepts discussed here, we would ask that you acquire the manual relevant to your skill level and study these subjects, and then call David Scott to share with him your commitment to becoming a better flyer and to discuss your interest in attending the school.

Note: Since the proactive controlling principles that 1st U.S. R/C Flight School teaches are largely contrary to the reactive approach used by most flyers, experienced flyers who wish to attend the flight school must also practice the principles outlined within the manuals beforehand, since waiting to practice proactive flying upon arriving at the flight school is not enough time for these techniques to become habit and therefore foster steady advancement.