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As aerobatic airplanes don’t use gyroscopic instruments such as attitude indicators, what instruments are used to indicate the aircraft’s attitude in flight?

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  • $\begingroup$ One way is talked about here $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Nov 18 '17 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ They aren't doing aerobatics IFR, so the best way to determine attitude is to look out the window, some have additional decides on their wingtips to align the horizon. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Nov 18 '17 at 20:37
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The basics: Acro airplanes don’t have attitude indicators because they don’t need them. The airplanes are certified at Day/Night VFR flight only and gyroscopic instruments are not required equipment here, not to mention can be precessed and damaged by aerobatic flight.

The only attitude instruments needed here is the horizon itself and the pilot’s Mk I eyeballs to see it.

Sometimes pilots make use of aerobatic sights mounted on the wingtips; these look something like eight spoke cowboy spurs or a 45° right triangle frame and are used to fly certain reference lines during aerobatic flight.

Some acro aircraft do make use of glass cockpits and solid state Attitiude, Heading, and Reference Systems (AHARS) as a safety backup on cross country flights, but they are not used during aerobatic routines.

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  • $\begingroup$ Aeroobatic aeroplanes might have attitude indicators, or be certified for IFR flight, I think you may be thinking of competition aircraft, however there are a lot of aerobatic capable aircraft that are used just like normal GA aircraft, like the Cessna 150/152 Aerobat, or the American Champion Citabria, Decathlon, and Super Decathlon, mechanical attitude indicators can be equipped with caging mechanisms during acrobatic flight. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Nov 18 '17 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ I’m aware of very few aerobatic aircraft equipled with attitude indicators or gyro instruments, primarily because the airplanes don’t need them for day/night VFR flight. An aerobat might but the Citabria/Decathalon line does not use gyro instruments. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Nov 19 '17 at 2:59

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