Aerobatics is an extreme sport that is exhilarating as it is liberating. The ability to fly at great speed and altitude while performing amazing manoeuvres is considered a great achievement, especially if you are doing it without a pilot’s license. Aerobatics has come a long way and its origins are as interesting as the sport itself. Here are some interesting facts and trivia on one of the best adventure sports on the market.
1. The first recorded aerobatic performance was in 1904 by the Wright brothers, as they performed the first aerobatic manoeuvre which was a 360 degree banked turn. They used a wing warping system to flex the whole wing to perform this aerobatic manoeuvre.
2. The first loop was performed by a Russian Army Lieutenant, Petr Nikolaevich Nesterov on September 9, 1913. He was arrested for risking army property, but because of the death defying stunt, he was then declared a hero and promoted to captain.
3. Low-level aerobatics require more intense training and practice as compared to high-level aerobatics. A pilot’s ability to perform low-level aerobatics is first reviewed before he can be permitted to reduce the height at which they are allowed to fly their performance.
4. Sherila Johnson, at 14 years old is the youngest pilot to fly in an aerobatic competition. She will remain the youngest since the age limit for the sport was set at 17.
5. There has not been any fatality in an air-spectator show since the 1950’s. Safety regulations on aerobatics are so strict, absolute and complete, compliance is a must.
6. Henry Haigh Sr is the oldest pilot to win the world championship in aviation at 64 years old. To make this achievement more interesting, he won the championships using a plane that was built in the 1970’s by his own two hands.
7. The Roulettes are the Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic team. When not performing amazing manoeuvres and aerobatic feats, Roulette team members are flying instructors at the Air Force’s Central Flying School
8. The most famous aerobatic airplane is the Pitts Special which was designed specifically for aerobatic flights. Built by a man named Curtis Pitts.
9. Lincoln Beachey is the “father of aerobatic flying”.
10. Betty Skelton was the first woman to complete an aerobatic manoeuvre know as the “inverted ribbon cut” in the International Aerobatics Championship in 1949.