Archive for the 2009 Category

East Coast Aerobatic Championship – September 18-20, 2009 at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, Known Video

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2010 by mars58

I finished the video of my 3rd Place Known sequence. You should be able to watch it at the link below. I am working on the Free sequence next, stay tuned! 🙂

Video

East Coast Aerobatic Championship – September 18-20, 2009 at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, Midland, Virginia (KHWY)

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , on February 23, 2010 by mars58

Well the last contest, at least for me, in 2009 has come and gone. The East Coast Aerobatic Championships in Warrenton, VA, hosted by IAC Chapter 11, had great weather and was a great time. The flight down Friday Afternoon was great. I left Danbury around 1:00 and an hour later I met a buddy of mine, Aaron in Lancaster PA. Aaron flies a Christian Eagle. The two of us flew formation down to Warrenton and arrived about 3:00 PM. We quickly registered and got our airplanes tech’d so we could get in our ten minute practice for the day. Since my training with Sergey was at Warrenton the box was familure and felt good. My practice run went well and I felt ready to go. By the end of the day, everyone got to fly and it was time to take out coolers! There is nothing better than flying all day and kicking back at the end with some burgers, dogs, beers and good friends.

Warrenton was an important contest for the North East Regional series as well, especially in the Sportsman category where Aaron Hamm, Grant Russel, Joe Flood and Jason Flood were battling it out. Their category was very tight.

Personally I flew my best all season and finally scored well. Everything had finally slowed down again and the sequences were more manageable. The training with Sergey had really paid off. My first flight, the Known sequence, I scored 79% of points available and took third place. My second run, the Free Sequence, I scored 78% holding 3rd place. I finally have my free program worked out.

Unfortunately I fell victim for a second time to and inverted, outside rolling turn in the unknown and didn’t do so hot. Luckly almost everyone had issues with the sequence so I was able to hold on to 3rd place overall for the contest. Since my move to the Advanced category this year and struggling in the first three contest, I am very happy to have ended well and to be competitive again. A lot of this I owe to my weekend training camp with Sergei Boriak, thanks to Denny Thompson. So I am very excited for the 2010 season!

Edit: I was holding this post off until I was able to get he video together. Unfortunately I have hit some snags with that and will have to post it later. Hopefully before the 2010 season starts! 🙂

Training With Sergei Boriak Part II – First Flight

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2010 by mars58

After arriving at Warrenton we unpacked our planes, locked everything down inside the plane and switched from travel mode to aerobatic mode. I met Sergei and we talk a little about what I was doing and what I wanted to work on. I explained to him that I had just moved to the Advanced category and I wasn’t flying as well as I should be. He said ok, go up and fly the Advanced Known routine and we will work from there.

Sergei sits on the ramp and watches us fly and he critiques us through our mistakes over the radio. All the while he would also be talking into a small voice recorder that he would give us to listen to, review and make notes after the flight. This was great because everything up there is happening so quickly and so many things are going on that after 20 to 30 min flights it was hard to remember all the little tricks and tips Sergei was telling you throughout.

Denny went up first and I watched as Sergei coached him through inverted spins and other aspects of his flight. And after about 30 mins, Denny was done with that flight and it was my turn. I walked out to my airplane and recognized the normal butterflies that I get before every flight which is being judged or critiqued. Luckly they always scatter as soon as the engine cranks up, at that point the prop is spinning and it is all business.

I taxied out to the runway and took off for the box. As soon as I got up to altitude I switched over to the box frequency and waited for Sergei to call. “Ok Rob, can you hear me?” “Loud and clear Sergei”, I replied. “Ok, go ahead and fly the Advanced Known.”

So I started my dive into the box, 3 sharp wing wags to get the judges attention and announce my impending start to the sequence. See the video of the flight. Unfortunately it starts from figure two, but that is ok because things don’t start to fall apart until figure 3 and forward. Most of my poor scores were from my poor snap technique and my push to the hammer head as you can see in the video. When I push to the vertical up line of the Hammer head, from the ground, you should see the top of the airplane, not the side. Unfortunately every time I push I end up anywhere between 20 and 90 degrees off. As you can see in the video I am 90 degrees off. The uncanny thing about training with Sergei is that even though he is on the ground he can tell you what you are doing wrong in the airplane. After I botched the push to the Hammer, I aborted the sequence and asked, “why have I rolled 90 degrees?” Sergei’s reply, “Stop looking at wing, when you push. Look over nose of airplane and don’t look at wing until last minute when you set the vertical line. When you look at wing too early you are putting in slight aileron and that is rolling you off heading.” How did he know where I was looking, I thought. Sure enough we practiced some pushes to the hammer and I did what he told me and all my pushes were nice and strait.

The next thing we worked on was Snap Rolls. The important thing is to pull back on the stick abruptly and until the wing buffets. At that point kick the rudder and around she goes. This is the video from my practice snaps.

Training With Sergei Boriak Part I – Enroute

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , on January 16, 2010 by mars58

So after three contests in Advanced and no real improvement it was time to get some professional training. My snap rolls have never scored well and my free program was far from working. While at the Green Mountain contest, Denny had told me that they had an open slot with Sergei Boriak down in Warrenton, VA. This is an excerpt from his bio:

Sergei was born in Kazakhstan in the former Soviet Union in May, 1955, but is now a U.S. citizen residing in Fairfax, VA. He is one of the most respected aerobatic flight coaches in the world, having trained the likes of Patty Wagstaff, Gene Soucy, Mike Goulian, Kirby Chambliss, and Matt Chapman. His accomplishments as a competition pilot rival any he has had as an instructor, having won the 1984 U.S.S.R. Aerobatic Championship. He was also the 1986 World Aerobatic Champion and the 1994 German National Champion. He moved to the U.S. in 1993, and was the coach of the U.S. Aerobatic Team from 1998-2003. He also competed on the Aerobatic Grand Prix circuit from 1996-2000. Sergei has competed and coached all over the world, and now brings his dynamic flying style and experience to the ACAP eXtreme Airshow Challenge series.

If you spend even a little time in this sport you learn who Sergei is and how good he is. I heard many of the stories and now it was time to take advantage of his expertise. I departed DXR (Danbury) for N81 (Hammonton) Friday afternoon with storm clouds all around the area. Danbury was clear but visibility was down to 3 miles over the new York area, although once through NY it was showing 6 miles over Jersey. So I launched and almost immediately I could see the front over new york. The GPS was showing heavy storm activity to the west of New York and limited activity over Long Island. So I decided to take the Long Island route which goes below the JFK class B airspace. You have to be 500 feet or below off of the coast of the island till you hit Hudson Harbor and then you can turn south and climb up to 1500 feet. So as I transitioned over the island I had a good 6 miles vis, but as I got lower and lower the visibility continued to get worse. At 400 feet I had 3 mile visibility and while the legal limit, it was still a little disconcerting at 160 MPH. At no point was I in danger because I was over the water, no mountains in the way… 🙂 and if I had to, I could have always climbed back to the 6 mile vis above me. I would have busted JFKs air space but I’d be alive to get punished. Luckily I had a good 3 miles and as I worked South the weather got back to 6 miles. I landed at Hammonton and about 15 mins later the next front was over the top and closed the airport. While I got there safely, it is not the kind of flying I want to repeat in a Pitts.
Denny is based at Hammonton, so he came out and helped me tuck the airplane away and we agreed we’d meet up early that next morning to head to Warrenton. I stayed the night with my Aunt who lives down in Mays Landing and flying into Hammonton is always a great excuse to go see her.

The next day the front had completely cleared and it was CAVU to say the least. We blasted out of N81 about 8:30. Denny had me fly lead and he was there off my left wing. The flight crosses the Delaware Bay, then across the across the Northern part of the Chesapeake Bay and South East around the DC ADIZ . We navigated our way around the restricted areas and landed in Warrenton about 10:00ish, exhilarated after a great flight.

Bill Williams Joy of Flight Award

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2009 by mars58

One of my favorite contests I have ever been to was Chapter 38’s Maytown 2007. Mostly because of all the Maytown lore, all of it I can attest is true! This was my third year participating in IAC competition, really my second because 06 was a washout, weather wise. So, chapter 38 holds a soft spot in my heart, mostly because it is the first time I placed in the top 3 but more accurately due to the VFW!! That place was great! When you order 9 shots, mostly top shelf and give the girl $20 then get $10 back!! God Bless the VFW!!! 🙂 Unfortunately Maytown’s airport no longer provides gas to fuel the airplanes so that killed any further contest. Luckly tho, the Wildwood venue opened up and provided Chapter 38 a place to hold another contest.

So I am sitting at the Wildwood Acroblast, Saturday night banquet, and I’m reflecting on the struggle I had completing the last two sequences off in my own world while Craig Wiseman, the MC from chapter 38, is handing out the awards. Craig starts talking about a gentleman from their chapter who was the inspiration behind the Bill Williams Joy of Flight award. As I sit there listening to Craig describe Bill; a great pilot, a lot of fun, always smiling, happy, funny, practical joker, ball breaker, true aviation and aerobatic enthusiast, etc. and as Craig talks about the impact Bill had on their chapter and what a great individual he was, I start thinking to myself, wow what a cool guy, my kind of people, I hope I can someday have the kind of impact on the people, friends and sport like Bill had…

Craig says, “and this years award goes to, none other than, Rob Marsicano…” I have to tell you, I was blown away. This is one of the greatest awards I have been given in my life and one I am honored to have received.

Bill Willson Joy of Flight Award

Bill Willson Joy of Flight Award

Green Mountain Aerobatic Contest

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , on December 12, 2009 by mars58

Well two weeks later, July 10–12, we are at the Green Mountain Aerobatic Contest Hartness State (VSF) Springfield, Vermont. I have always been a fan of this contest and flown well here since 05. It has a great box, great references and is a good time with great people. We’ll all that was still true, but I continue to struggle with the Advanced sequence and need to get more time to practice.

So we got here Friday and I was able to get a practice slot. Ron and Kendal were kind enough to give me critique. It was apparent that I was going to have a rough time this contest. LOL On top of things, I still have not gotten my Free program right and this was the first chance I got to fly it, and it has many issues. hahahaha.

Luckily Saturday night Denny Thompson told me about an upcoming training camp with Sergei Boriak down in VA and an open slot. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity. Thanks to Denny I got some good video of that and will be posting about that soon.

Down the Line

Down the Line

Early Morning Briefing Saturday

Run Up

Ron Lookin Like I Felt - Zeros Were Popular

On The Judges Line

Russian Blues Brothers at the Banquet Sergey & Kirill

On The Way Home

On The Way Home

Wildwood Acroblast 2009 is in the Books

Posted in 2009, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2009 by mars58

So the long awaited aerobatic season has finally gotten underway here in the North East for us New Englanders. Unfortunately with all the recent rain and things going on I did not get a chance to practice as much as I wanted to. I decided to move to the Advanced category this year so more practice was definitely needed. I set my goals pretty low, happy to just get through the 3 sequences, and here is why.

I attended a practice session at Green Wood Lake, NJ at the end of May. I did an airshow flight and then ran the Advanced Known at the end of the day. The airshow routine felt good and flowed well. It should have I just got out of the seat with Tucker… LOL. The Advanced Known, well as a good friend of mine put it, “welcome to serious aerobatics”. And if you know Sergey with the accent, it was priceless. And he is right. For the uninitiated, in IAC competition, things have to be done technically well and tactfully well for the kind of airplane you are flying. So every little mistake is scrutinized by the judges. Every competitor starts every figure with 10 points. The judges deduct points as you make mistakes. Make enough mistakes and you can get to zero really fast. I believe it is one point off for every 5 degrees off. If you pull off or on to a line and your heading is off 5 degrees, one point; if your roll ends five degrees past where it should have, 1 point; if you hammer head torques over the top and is 5 degrees, 1 point… On and on and on.

So what this session exposed, thankfully, for me was the Half Snap from Inverted on a 45 degree up line (figure 3 09Adv Known). This is a real cool figure when you get it, kinda like rolling turns, it’s a very zen move. Good snaps in general are very Zen things. Like a great Tee shot in golf. I have never hit one, but hell I sure know when I see one. Fffffwhooop! Crack! Ting! ffffffff and you see the perfect arc of a great shot as that ball rockets away with an incredible transference of energy. That is definitely what a nice snap feels like. Especially Half Snaps on a Down Line. Every time I tried the half snap on the 45, I blew my heading by at least 30 degrees and that is not good unless you like zeros. So Sergey explained, in a snap, you are kicking rudder, which pushes the nose off heading, then with great timing you have to pull back on the stick to initiate the stall and the right combination rockets you into the snap roll. So why am I always coming off heading. Of course when you kick the nose you are inducing a change in heading, to counter act the initial rudder input, when the airplane is knife edge, you have to push put yourself back on heading, know that you have pushed, when you get to inverted you are going to be nose high so you instantly have to pull the nose down and reset the vertical 45. All very zen and momentary. Finally you have to stop the snap as if the roll hit a wall, hard, sharp and clean. This requires good, strong opposite rudder from what you initiated the snap with.

The other weakness of mine right now are my pushes. Headings and wing drags are getting better, thanks to my friend Kendal, he echoed what Holland and Tucker said, “you have to fineness a push at low speeds”. I have to go out and just do inverted slow flight next practice. That is the first thing Ron and I did, Ron loves to push and I definitely agree, everyone says pushing hurts, and they are right, but it’s a, “hurts so good” kinda thing! And if you do it well, it looks so good. So anyway I got through the sequences and as with every flight I have flown, a story follows each one in True “Rob” fashion.
As I get time I will hopefully fill in more of this.

So for my first competition in the Advanced category, I achieved my goals and got through all three sequences. I learned that flying a Pitts S2B in advanced takes a lot of skill and while I thought I had mastered enough aspects of this airplane, I have much more to learn and get through. The contest was a blast and a great challenge and I can’t wait for the Green Mountain, Springfield, VT contest in two weeks!

Check out all the Pictures at IAC 52

Advanced Competitors Zero Club

Ham shot with the ladies

Barbara Chadwick, Ann Salcedo, Rob Marsicano, Joann Ardovini, Bob Sabbatino

The One and Only Ann Salcedo

On the line for practice critique

Briefing... Anything but brief lol

Landing

Jo and I at Moreys Piers Friday Barbeque

Morey's Piers

Coaster At Morey's Piers

Receiveing the Bill Wilson Joy of Flight Award

Saturday Night at the Hotel

Ohh Boy...

Fueling Up

Climbing Out

Kendal doing the dirt dance

The Flying Floods

Check out all the Pictures at IAC 52

All photos courtesy of Laurie Zaleski

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