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Up, Up and Away…

Robinson gives clients scenic
or adventurous plane rides

He has been flying since age 16
and also teaches other pilots

(November 2014) – Looking for a thrill? Robinson Aerobatics offers the rare opportunity to experience a plane ride unlike any other, allowing riders to sit in an open cockpit and experience loops and rolls while flying over scenic Madison, Ind.
Robinson Aerobatics offers rides in a Stearman PT17 bi-plane, with a 500 horsepower fuel-injected radial engine.
“I offer a smooth, scenic ride for people who don’t want to do loops. It’s a scenic view of the Ohio River and Madison,” said Cliff Robinson, chief pilot and owner of Robinson Aerobatics. “For those who want thrills, I do loops and rolls with them.”
Plane rides are available to anyone seeking an exciting ride. “I’ve never had anybody get sick,” Robinson said. “Sometimes people say, ‘Give me all you got,’ but I never do that.”
With over 8,000 hours of flying experience, Robinson is a seasoned pilot. He has been offering aerobatic rides for 12 years, but he has been flying for more than 30. His flying career began at age 16.

Photo by Alyssa DelPrete

Zach Ricketts (in front seat)
prepares for a ride with aerobatic pilot Cliff Robinson in October
at the Madison Municipal Airport.

“My father was a flight instructor,” he said. “I learned to fly when I was 16 years old. I got my commercial license at 18 and became a flight instructor at 19. I’ve been flying in one form or other ever since.”
His passion for planes originated with his father. “My dad (now deceased) and I originally purchased a plane together, and did those sorts of things together. We did air shows and aerobatics.”
Robinson Aerobatics offers rides throughout the entire year and is open seven days a week. “I’m only not here when I’m gone at air shows,” Robinson said. “I have 15 to 18 places to go every year.”
Robinson, 65, lives in Madison. In addition to Robinson Aerobatics, he operates a real estate business here, Hoosier Real Estate. Both are full time ventures.
Robinson’s main focus is offering plane rides to clients, but he has also used his expertise to teach fellow pilots aerobatics. Joe Boone, age 57, has completed 40 hours of flying with Robinson.
“It’s difficult to find people who teach aerobatics and have experience,” Boone said. “He’s a great instructor.”
Boone had known Robinson prior to receiving lessons from him. Boone, who has been a pilot for about 30 years, had been out of practice with his flying when he began working with Robinson.
“I just wanted to know more about flying,” Boone said. “I thought I would fly better if I learned aerobatics.”
Boone, who owns his own airplane, does not practice aerobatics on his own. He approached Robinson to enhance his safety as a pilot. Learning aerobatics, he says, prepares him for potentially dangerous situations.
“Cliff likes to do spin training,” Boone said. “You can enter a spin accidentally, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will crash.”
A spin results when the wing on the inside of a turn stalls or when both stall at different angles of attack. Pilots must recover from a spin in order to avoid a crash.
“Learning aerobatics is definitely an asset to aviation,” Boone said. “If you want to be a serious pilot, it’s money well spent.”
Robinson offers aerobatic rides to pilots, who have the option of co-piloting their rides. Zach Ricketts, 24, recently took advantage of this opportunity. He received his pilot’s license at 19 but had neglected to use it for three years – until his ride with Robinson.
“It was new to me being in an open cockpit,” Ricketts said after his aerobatic ride. “It’s more than a regular four-seater.”
Ricketts said he enjoyed the aerobatics experience. “We did a loop and an aileron roll.”
Robinson allowed Ricketts to participate in a bit of the flying, and it served as inspiration for the out-of-practice pilot. “This was the push I needed to get back into flying.”
Robinson Aerobatics is located at Madison Municipal Airport in Madison, Ind. Smooth, scenic rides are $120; aerobatic rides are $150. Those wanting to fly the plane themselves can do so for $150. Robinson also offers air show packages for events.

• To schedule a ride, contact Cliff Robinson at (812) 701-9990 or visit: www.CliffRobinsonAerobatics.com.

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