I fly a low wing (CZAW SportCruiser) and am looking for aerobatics training schools, however I can only find schools with high wings available for training. My plane has "no aerobatics" placards inside the cockpit, so apparently I can't use my own plane. Are low-wing aircraft less safe for aerobatics training?

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    $\begingroup$ Aerobatic specials are low-wing (Zlín Z-50) to mid-wing (Zivko Edge 540; Extra 300 is somewhere between). I can't think of any high-wing one. But there is a couple of common high-wing aerobatic-capable trainers, which is what the schools use. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jul 24, 2017 at 17:47

2 Answers 2



It has nothing to do with the configuration, but the structure, the engine and the fuel system of your aircraft. The SportCruiser is certified in the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category and is meant for flying right-side-up. For aerobatics, you need

  • a fuel system than can still feed the engine when the load factor is less than or equal to zero,
  • an engine which can still lubricate all moving parts when it is experiencing a negative load factor, and
  • a structure which can tolerate higher load factors than what you can expect from cruising along at 115 kts max in fair weather.

The wing location has no impact on aerobatic fitness. You might even argue that the unrestricted view up in a low wing aircraft helps to see better what is ahead in steep turns.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not trying to do aerobatics in the sportcruiser, but knowing how to fly an aircraft to the extent of its flight controls I'm told by several of my instructors could one day save my life $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2016 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ @boulder_ruby: I fully agree. I would even go further and would recommend to train spins in the cruiser once you have some experience and have gone through the exercise with an instructor. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2016 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ @boulder_ruby That's a sensible objective, but it's hard to learn fly a plane to the limit of its performance envelope, until you have learned to recognize when you might exceed that envelope, and how to recover if you do exceed it. A drill like intentionally entering and recovering from a spin is not just about doing the right things with the controls - it's also about training your mental ability to get into and out of a potentially fatal situation without losing your personal self-control! You don't want to start by adding "fear of breaking your own aircraft" to the training scenario. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Nov 6, 2016 at 0:11

Well, here's the thing. Technically any type of airplane is CAPABLE of aerobatic flight to a certain degree, even normal or utility category aircraft, as this demo by Sean Tucker in a Cessna Corvalis TT.

Bob Hoover famously flew his air show routines in a Rockwell Shrike Commander.

And Boeing test pilot Tex Johnson famously rolled a 707 - twice - in front of Boeing execs and Pan Am representatives during SeaFair. He was very nearly fired personally by William Allen for the stunt.

None of these aircraft mentioned are approved for aerobatic maneuvers, yet can cexcute certain ones in the hands of a skilled pilot who keeps the airplane flying within the load factor limits of the structure, engines, and systems.

As mentioned above by Peter, aircraft that routinely fly aerobatic maneuvers are approved to do so by the manufacturer after a rigorous flight test schedule which include carefully approach the design limits in meticulously planned test points and having multiple backups in the event of an emergency i.e., parachutes, spin recovery chute canisters, etc.

Low wing or high wing really has minimal effect on how good of an aerobatic airplane it is, though most dedicated aerobatic platforms and military fighters use a shoulder mounted wing for neutral roll stability.

And even then an aerobatic aircraft is only approved for certain maneuvers fully demonstrated during flight test and only when operated in the aerobatic category (they are often certified in both normal and aerobatic categories). A Bellanca Super Decathlon, for instance, is prohibited from doing aerobatics when loaded in the normal category CG range; in the aerobatic CG range, it is prohibited from doing tailslides and Lomcevaks .

A sport cruiser, while designed to fly straight and level can be put through a benign aerobatic maneuver like an 1G aileron or a barrel roll and do just fine. However you have to know what you're doing with the plane first; if you don't you're inviting disaster. Aviation is full of seemingly benign situations which quickly turn into death traps when approached by the negligent, the incompetent and the neophyte. Aerobatic flight does not require a license, rating or instructor sign off to attempt largely because the participants have s lot of respect for the capabilities of the aircraft, know their limits and seek qualified instruction first. Let's keep it that way.

Bottom line is if you don't want to fly with the pointy end forward and the dirty side down, do so in an aircraft specifically designed to do so, operate it within the OEM's published limits, and obtain instruction from a competent source.


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