Air & Space Airshow Spotter's Guide
You know how to tell a Viper from a Hornet, but does your airshow-newbie friend? Here are recognition tips, bite-size histories, specs and info links for the airplanes most likely to appear at airshows this year.
- By airspacemag.com
- AirSpaceMag.com, April 01, 2012
Illustrations by Harry Whitver
How to recognize: Low-wing monoplane. Aerobatic monoplanes all look alike: thin wings with symmetrical airfoils, sleek fuselages, tapered vertical tails. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the performer’s paint scheme.
Claim to fame at airshows: Michael Goulian has painted his Castrol Aviator version in the sponsor’s trademark lime green, with a red-tipped tail and nose cone.
Claim to fame in service: The Extra family of aircraft is one of the most successful piston designs in aerobatic competition.
Mission: Aerobatic competition and display, particularly for maneuvers placing a high stress on the airframe.
Performance and specifications: The airframe can take up to 10g’s plus or minus, Goulian can roll the Extra 330SC at 380 degrees per second. A 350-hp Lycoming Thunderbolt IO-580 propels the aircraft to 260 mph, with its carbon fiber wings 24.6 ft wide and a steel tube fuselage. Gross takeoff weight of the model 300L is 2,095 pounds, and it can climb at 3,200 ft per minute (fpm).
Main variants: Walter Extra of Germany is a premiere designer of aerobatic competition aircraft, who has produced at least five models numbered from the -200 to the -500 series. Besides this basic family, competitors and air show performers have made personal modifications that result in new model numbers or designations.