aerobatic aircraft

To the general public, aerobatics are synonymous with stunt flying. This is very untrue however, since aerobatic flying involves precisely defined manoeuvres in specially constructed aircraft, limiting risks to the maximum. Aerobatic championships are always flown above a predetermined height, so in case something goes wrong there is always time to react. At air shows on the contrary, pilots fly in relatively close proximity to the ground limiting recovery time in case of misjudgement or technical problems.

As can be seen on this page, most of the aerobatic machines are relatively small but high-powered. Modern construction techniques and composite materials have dramatically increased the aircraft's capabilities in recent years, up to the extent that the pilot becomes the limiting factor. Here is a selection of typical aerobatic aircraft.

  Cessna 152 Aerobat

The Cessna Aerobat could be described as the basic trainer and examples can be found on many airfields. A strengthened Cessna 152, the aircraft is capable of 'gentlemanly aerobatics' and is without doubt one of the safest aircraft around if rather boring.


When German aerobatic pilot Walter Extra constructed his Laser kit aircraft, he realised there was a true market for factory-assembled aerobatic machines. His first own product, the EA.230 was based on the Laser but modified to ease series production, albeit on a rather artisanal basis.  Extra aircraft are found throughout the World and take part in major competition.

  Mudry CAP

Out of Claude Piel's Emeraude, Auguste Mudry developed an aerobatics-capable version called the CAP 10. Its side-by-side configuration and relatively low power make it an ideal training aircraft for the starting aerobatic pilot. In the hands of a capable flyer, however, it can still perform impressive manoeuvres. Up to this day, it remains a popular aircraft thanks to its sturdy construction.

  Sukhoi Su 26

Built around a large radial engine, this Russian aerobatic machine is currently one of the best aerobatic mounts available.

  Yakovlev Yak-52

Basically a twin-seat version of the Yak-50, the 52 sports a rather odd-looking tricycle undercarriage. When retracted, its wheels remain largely exposed minimising the risk of severe damage in the event of a wheels-up landing.


One of the first post-war aircraft devised specifically for aerobatics, the Zlin series has proven very sturdy. 2-seat variants are in use as aerobatic trainers.


Although perhaps not quite up to top competition these days, the Pitts Special is still a first rate aircraft and is available as a single or twin seater.

  Christen Eagle

Developed in the late 1970s, the Christen Eagle II set a new mark of excellence for home built kit aircraft. The Eagle II, based on the famous Pitts Special, was designed by Frank Christensen as an unlimited class aerobatic aircraft that could be used for competition, advanced aerobatic training and sport cross-country flying. Since its introduction, more than a thousand Eagle IIs have delighted their owners and found homes with both professional and amateur pilots alike.