The loop looks easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult to make the maneuver symmetrical and consistent. The loop is the first high-G maneuver that aerobatic students learn, and the first one in which the horizon isn’t always visible when looking forward over the nose. The key to success is knowing where to look so that you stay oriented throughout the maneuver.
Illustration by Charles Floyd.
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All about AOA
In stalls, it’s angle of attack—not attitude
Can the airplane’s wing really stall when the nose is pointed straight down at the ground? Yes. The wing can stall at any attitude, even straight down. If it ever feels during a loop like you’re driving a car over a rough country road, that’s the stall buffet. Relax back-pressure on the stick to lower the wing’s angle of attack, let the airplane accelerate, and then pull again.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.