Flying the Slick 360 : A pilots perspective - by Helmut Ludwig (Multiple AWAC competitor)

As an active competitor in Advanced aerobatics for the past six years, I have flown quite a large number of single and two seat aerobatic planes – Sukhoi 29, Extra 300L, Laser, Pitts S2B, Pitts S2A, Yak 55, Yak 52, Chipmunk, Tiger Moth, Cessna 150 Aerobat, Yak 19T, Zlin 142 – to name a few. Then of course there is my own aircraft, my beloved Zlin 50 LS. Generally speaking, all aerobatic craft can be divided into two broad categories. There are those you get into and then there are those that you wear! The list of the “wearable” ones is short, but the Slick 360 is definitely on it. It is an absolute joy to fly!

The way an aerobatic aircraft performs once you have coaxed it off the ground is of course the primary consideration, but it is by no means the only one. There are many more characteristics of a thoroughbred aerobatic mount. Here is my personal list of the things I look for in a first class aerobatic aerie (in no particular order) :

  • “What is the all round visibility in the air?”
  • “Can I push it in and out of the hangar on my own?”
  • “Is the cockpit ergonomically friendly, i.e. can I tighten the straps easily and get in and out of the plane without having to be Houdini?”
  • “What is the ferry range of the plane?”
  • “Can a smoke system be fitted easily?”
  • “Are my sighting devises where I need them?”
  • “Can I get spares for the engine everywhere?”
  • “Will I have proper factory back-up when I need it?”
  • “Cost? Acquisition and running costs?”
  • “Are the primary instruments easy to read at a glance?”
  • “and the of course the biggie : how does it fly? Here I look for the following :
  • “Spin and flick characteristics – flick or snap roll performance being the primary one”
  • “Roll rate”
  • “Vertical upline performance”
  • "Handling at speeds near the stall and in the stall”
  • “Control balance (are the stick and rudder harmonized and well balanced?”
  • " How does it present to the judges once in the air?"

Without doubt, this little aeroplane scores highly in all departments. It might be argued that since it is a newcomer to the market, its re-sale value might be low. This argument is however not particular to this magnificent plane, but it applies to all aerobatic aeroplanes. Lets face it, aerobatic machines are a vertical market regardless of make.

There is no doubt in mind that this aerie will become the plane of choice for the seriously competitive aerobatic pilot and aerobatic connoisseur collector alike.

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