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Precision Aerobatics - A Surprisingly Affordable Life Experience

Updated on October 11, 2016

Have you ever been to an air show and seen a dramatic display performed by an aerobatic pilot and wondered what it takes to perform precision aerobatics? This hub summarizes how you can have this experience without even being a licensed pilot.

Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Aerobatic Team
Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Aerobatic Team | Source

Don't I have to be a licensed Pilot?

To become an expert in any field requires training and dedication in addition to skills. However, before you file your new found dream of performing precision aerobatics under the of list expensive, time consuming and unlikely things you’ll ever do, you might be surprised to find that you don’t have to be an expert, or even a licensed pilot in order to have a fulfilling life experience as a barnstormer.

You do not even have to be a licensed pilot to fly the plane!

Though in order to actually fly the aerobatic maneuvers you have to be with a qualified aerobatic instructor, not just a commercial pilot.

Pitts Special
Pitts Special

How adventurous are you?

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Preparation for Precision Aerobatics

Each flight experience is unique so it is best to speak to the instructor pilot in advance to determine what level of preparation is required. Consider reviewing the Anti-G Straining Manouver (AGSM), while usually not necessary it will make you feel more like a fighter pilot.

Ensure you get plenty of rest in advance of the flight and eat light dry meals. Stay hydrated throughout the day. No caffeine or pop as those will dehydrate you.

It is somewhat energy intensive resisting G-forces even for a short time.


My precision aerobatic flight adventures:

I’ve had the pleasure of two separate aerobatic airplane adventures to date. One where I was a passenger only in an aerobatic glider, first gracefully sailing beside the scenic mountains in British Columbia then exciting and skilled acrobatic maneuvers in an adventures memorable afternoon. The approximate cost of the adventure was $250 Canadian.

The second airplane adventure was as a pilot, seeking advanced flight training. I performed five training sessions learning a new maneuver in each session followed by a sixth flight putting on my own private air show with smoke and everything. The approximate cost of this multi-week adventure was $1600 Canadian including video and memory card.

There are however, individual aerobatic adventure flights available for as little as $200 to $250 where you can have the chance to fly the plane.

Aerobatic Aircraft:

My precision aerobatic flight experience was in the Pitts Special Aerobatic aircraft. This aerobatic bi-plane is a two seat tail dragger which has the option of open or closed cockpit. We did flights in both configurations. This beautiful and agile plane is reminiscent of barnstorming but somewhat higher performance.

Important Notes

Cost: ~$250+

Time: Allow half a day for the event. Typically 30-45 min in the air.

Location: Airfields all around North America

Deals: Look on group discount sites

Prep: Be well rested in advance and eat dry foods

Share the thrill

Get the most out of your adventure. Bring a GoPro and be sure to document with pictures and video from the experience so that you can share and remember the unique opportunity you have had. Find out where the instructor will perform the manoeuvres and then invite friends and family to observe from the ground and take additional pictures and video. It is likely that they use one familiar aerobatic box that has been prearranged with air traffic control.

Once you’re back on the ground you’ll immediately start looking for flight training or Aerobatic aircraft for sale. It is that much fun!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts SpecialMy aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts SpecialMy aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special | Source
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special | Source
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special
My aerobatic flight adventure in a Pitts Special | Source

How to afford these unique adventures?

These adventurous experiences can be had by simply opting out of a few dinners at a restaurant and give you memories that will last a lifetime.

I’m a believer that you don’t have to be rich to live a comfortable and exciting life. It takes some planning and budgeting along with establishing your priorities.

While it is absolutely important to organize your finances to prepare for rainy days, and retirement it is also important to enjoy and live your life throughout that whole process.

Take those bucket list items, like precision aerobatics, and put a time line and price to those items. Break that price down into a daily amount and make sure you are saving / offsetting that cost and you’ll be surprised how you can turn a coffee and doughnut a day into a life experience that will stay with you forever.

Tell me about your flying adventures

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      While this is a very interesting hub, flying in a small plane scares me, but I don't mind flying in a large plane when traveling at all. I really enjoyed all the facts in your hub.


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