“Pull the stick all the way back and keep the turn going,” said my instructor from the back seat.
We were upside down, and I could feel the pull of gravity and the allure of the earth tugging me. And just for a brief moment, all thought ceased as I gazed downwards mesmerized: by the green earth still lush with myriads of color ranging from green to browns and even some yellow and vibrant oranges; the azure of the skies, clear from any clouds; and the turquoise blue waters of the Potomac. I was almost expecting us to be crashing straight down towards earth any moment!
There is something fascinating about staring straight down, upside down at 3,000ft above the ground. The feeling in the pit of my stomach was akin to the emotions of going fast on a roller coaster, just when it dips down hill or sweeps round a curve at breakneck speed.
It was a beautiful, but slightly chilly Saturday morning. I was expecting to be wearing warm winter gear that morning. Despite the weather forecast, the temperatures were mild and in the 40s. The sun was shinning brightly and with clear blue skies, there was unlimited visibility. A light sweatshirt was all that was needed.
After departing Potomac, we headed straight for the training area, which is a mere 10nm south east of the airfield outside the FZ, and right along the Potomac river, to practice some aerobatic maneuvers.
I pushed the nose down and let the speed increase to 130knots, before pulling up and applying full left rudder and left aileron, this time transitioning us into a roll. “You need more aileron. Push it all the way to the left,” instructed Marianne, helping me put us into a roll to the left all the way around, before we returned to straight and level flight.
It has been almost two months since I flew the Citabria and more than four months since I tried aerobatics. I was glad to see that I hadn’t forgotten all that I learned. I am definitely getting more comfortable flying the Citabria.
After practicing some rolls, loops and hammerheads we headed over to Maryland airport for some practice landings before heading back home.
My flying plans have not been successful the last few weeks hindered by weather, winds or aircraft availability or some other reasons. Winter is almost here, and chances of opportunities to fly, like this past weekend, are going to be few and far in between. It was good to be back in the air. And good to practice some aerobatics again.
The Citabria is a fun aircraft to fly any day!