Anyone who has ever been to an air show knows the mesmerizing effect aerobatics can have on an audience. It is always a thrill just to see a jet plane flying at enormously fast speeds, but to see such planes fly in tight formations, or in crazy patterns, or upside down, or straight down and then suddenly pull up at what seems like the last possible moment before crashing into the ground, makes for an exciting experience indeed.
There are five maneuvers which compose the foundation of aerobatic stunts. Those are horizontal and vertical lines; loops; rolls; spins; and hammerheads. Some of the types of tricks which can be done by combining these maneuvers are called the Cuban Eight; Half Cuban Eight; Reverse Half Cuban Eight; Chandelle; the Stall Turn, or Hammerhead; Immelmann which is also called the ‘roll-off-the-top, or the split five.
One maneuver that is a real crowd pleaser is called Pugachev’s Cobra. In this stunt the airplane’s nose is suddenly pulled up. The plane then pitches up to about a 90-120 degree angle of attack. After that the nose falls back down to the horizontal, and the plane flies away in the direction it was first heading.