In less than a month the World Aerobatic Championships are to be held in France, and aeronewstv offers you a series of videos on the discipline’s main figures. After the Barrel Roll and Spin, this is the hammerhead turn.
An experienced pilot explains how, from the cockpit of an Extra 200. André-Marie Semet, Aerobatic Pilot - Midi-Pyrénées Aerobatics: "What we’ll do today is study the Hammerhead Turn (Stall Turn or Fieseler). We enter the figure at full power up to maximum airspeed, which we really need, and pull the aircraft up through a quarter loop to climb vertically. The speed will drop off, but before upward motion stops, firmly apply full rudder to turn the aircraft through a cartwheel of 180°, until the nose is straight down. The direction is often dictated by the type of aircraft depending on the way the propeller rotates. Having allowed the ‘plane to rotate on its axis at the top, dive vertically to the same altitude as the manoeuvre started, then pull out, exiting in the opposite direction.
So, to start, I'll gather speed up to 140-150 knots (160-170 mph). Into vertical. I use the rudder only to correct my triangle on the horizon to maintain vertical. There, I pull on the stick, check and align the bar on the triangle with the horizon, and correct with the rudder. I correct - there - perfect. Now - reaching critical speed. Rudder hard over to the left. Check with the triangle to see if I’m vertical. Correct with the rudder. And once again pull on the stick. It’s then that you feel the G’s."