Archive for Aerobatic Competition

Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Work – A Nice Lazy Start

Posted in 2010, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , on June 14, 2010 by mars58

So I figured; after a nice long mornings sleep and arriving at the field just before noon, rather then the usual 8 in the morning for brief and practice, due to the morning rain, I would be ready to go. We’ll… have you ever had one of those days where you were a little off? And I don’t mean off in an unsafe way. Hell, we are flying aerobatics, this is a great day. But when it comes to flying precisely, a sequence of 10 to 15 figures, for people that are looking for five degrees of error in all three planes and deducting 1 point for every five degrees, not being “on” is usually not great for well scored competition runs. LOL. But hey it’s the first contest of the year and it is May. How much practice have we gotten in, right? So I am approaching this one as the warm up, but seriously none the less.

I saddle up for my practice flight of the “Known” sequence. Launch off for the last flight in the box before pilot brief and the start of the contest. So it’s kind of a weird spot but no big deal, I get to fly.

By the time I get to altitude things are feeling better and I get about 30 seconds to think while the guy before me is called, “times up, clear the box” then I am called in for my ten minutes. Ron and Steve are on the ground and are kind enough to take an interest and add some great critique.

“Ok guys, I’m on base about to dive into the box”

“Gotch you, insight”, they reply.

As I am diving in everything seems ok and I start the sequence. I get through the first half of it and miss a roll, zero the figure, it’s practice, I have 10 minutes, so I climb back up start over. Toward the end I miss something else, not a good practice run. I ask how much time is left?

“They aren’t ready down here so you have time.” Ron says.

“Huh”, I figure “wow, lucky me”, I am thinking.

“Let’s do it again” I radio down. Thinking to myself, “I’ll get it this time.”

As I dive in for my third attempt, I get through figure one and they call me off, times up…

Knowing I was pushing it anyway, I break off and land. As I am taxing up everyone is already waiting for the brief to start. So I get 98R shut down, double check mags and master, make sure she is parked then get my ass to the brief.

The 2010 Competition Season has Started

Posted in 2010, 98R, Aerobatics with tags , , , on May 19, 2010 by mars58

This past Thursday, 5/13/2010 we arrived at Greenwood Lake airport for the first annual Jersey Skylands Aerobatic Contest. The flight over was uneventful and beautiful. A CAVU day for sure. It was great to see everyone after the winter break and we were all excited to kick the season off in the North East. Pictures from the contest…

I was able to get in two practice sessions Thursday. I had practiced the known a few times a couple weeks prior and the flights seemed to go well and I had another practice scheduled for Friday before the contest started so I decided to work my Free sequence. The two runs Thursday went pretty well. There were definite things I needed to work on. The main thing was to relax in the box.

It sounds simple, but it is not something that is readily on your mind, especially when you are at 3500 feet in the air, pushing over to a 45 degree line, now rocketing toward the ground at 210 MPH, adrenalin pumps at max capacity, and heart racing. The excitement level is truly off the charts in a great way. One of the biggest aspects of this sport is the mental side. It is one thing to; put aside all the obvious thoughts of peril and lost friends throughout the years, to amass a skill set where you are capable of flying competitively, learn and train to control your aircraft at the razors edge etc. But it is a completely different discipline to control your body and mind, physiologically, under competition circumstances, especially diving into the box in front of the judges line. So by the end of Thursday I was reminded to take deep breaths diving into the box, between figures and to take my time so the sequence presents nicely and not rushed.

Thursday night started after a great day of flying and kibitzing. The weather Friday morning was sure to be rainy and un-flyable till at least noontime, so we all planned on a late morning start which meant a late night! Sleeping off a well earned hang over Friday morning we headed out to the airport around noon under clearing skies, planning on a 1:00 briefing. Unfortunately this meant no practice and flying the “Known” cold…

When we arrived at the airport, the scene was that of a busy ant hill. Everyone was scurrying around getting ready to kick off the contest. Organizers feverishly finishing the last details, competitors getting themselves and their mounts readied. Some were even getting in a practice flight. So I cornered the starter, the guy responsible for getting people off the ground and into the box in a safe and orderly manner, and asked if there was any time left for me to take a 10 min slot. Unfortunately there were 5 guys ahead of me and the pilot brief was planned to start in 30 mins… To make long story short, for various reasons they pushed the brief off about 45 mins which allowed me to get a practice in. Perfect, just what I needed… Or was it… to be con’t…

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! 🙂

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

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

Northeast Chapter Fundraiser and Critique Camp

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

I started the season by hosting the first ever Northeast Chapter Fundraiser and Critique Camp at the end of May and it was a great success! We had fantastic weather and a good turnout. Greenwood Lake airport was a great host and was very thrilled to have us!

First off, a huge thanks to everyone who helped to get this off the ground.

A special thanks to Doug Lovell, Miriam Levin, Steve Seidel, Sergey Prolagayev, John Fellenzer and Mark Mattioli for making this one happen! What a great team I can’t thank you guys enough!

We had a lot of interest, but some southern WX and airplane issues had nixed about 6 people. We had four guys show up for this one and I would like to thank them for their interest and effort. Nice work, Aaron, George, Ron, and Scott!! I can’t thank the judges enough for working with everyone and doing a great job this weekend!!

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