Life ain’t half bad when you’re hanging upside down 4500 feet above ground in a 2-seater Cessna Aerobat. Rolls, loops, barrel rolls, stall turns, wingovers and spins. I did them all today, and still kept my lunch…
As a final treat to myself before I move to Norway I decided to give myself an aerobatic lesson at Parafield Airport in Adelaide. David Forsyth with Forsyth aviation is the only one that does aerobatics at Parafield these days. Unfortunately, the Pitts S2A biplane that I was hoping to do the stunts in was in maintenance, so I settled for the Cessna.
After a quick ground briefing we set out to the Dry Creek/Torrens Island acrobatic area, and before I knew it we were pulling over 3 G as Dave pulled us through a loop. The feeling was incredible. The horizon just disappears and comes back upside down. Dave showed me some other manoeuvres before I got to try myself. It’s a pretty freaky feeling when the plane is upside down, sideways, or some other angle it wouldn’t normally be in, and you know you did it on purpose just to see if it would upset your stomach or not.
After 20 – 25 minutes of looping and rolling I was beginning to feel a bit queasy, and we nose-dived into a spin to get us back down towards the airport again. After the lesson I went to have a look at the Pitts plane in maintenance. It sure is an imposing aircraft. But what also caught my eye was the Cessna 150 VH-UGN that was standing just by it in the hangar. A few weeks ago VH-UGN was stolen by some lunatic that “just wanted to go for a joyride”. A pilot had just returned from a flight and had left the keys in the plane. And this nut who’d never flown before jumped in and got the plane started. He managed miraculously to get the plane airborne, taking off across the tarmac instead of on a runway.
Unfortunately, the nutcase didn’t know too much about planes, and left the flaps out for his entire ride (which wasn’t very long). He never really gained too much altitude, and within three minutes he clipped a light pole on nearby Montague Road, Pooraka and crash-landed on a median strip in peak hour traffic. Miraculously, the only major damage was to the aircraft. The aspirant pilot was only slightly injured. Regardless, the plane was not a pretty sight. The left wing had more or less fallen of. The entire front was crushed, and propeller was bent like a toothpick. Note to self: Don’t land into light poles.