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Sewanee Aerobatic School is operated by flight instructor Catherine Cavagnaro who holds CFI-I certificates in both single- and multiengine land airplanes. She is also a Professor of Mathematics at the University of the South and chairs the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Catherine has served as a spin demonstration pilot at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) as well as on research and flight testing teams for the aircraft icing project using the UTSI variable-stability Navion.
Aviation author and aerobatic pilot William K. Kershner founded Ace Aerobatic School in 1969 using an aerobatic Beech Musketeer. Bill wrote many books on flying: The Student Pilot's Flight Manual, The Instrument Flight Manual, The Advanced Pilot's Flight Manual, The Flight Instructor's Manual and The Basic Aerobatic Manual. These texts and associated syllabi serve as the foundation for the spin and aerobatics courses. Bill served as Supervisor of Flight Testing at Piper Aircraft in the early 1960 and assisted Cessna Aircraft Company by writing the manual for their new Aerobat in the late 1960s. This work eventually evolved into his Basic Aerobatic Manual.
From 1984 until the end of 2006, Bill ran the school as a "one-instructor, one-airplane" institution with a 1979 Cessna Aerobat named "Two Loops Lautrec." Several years ago, he teamed up with Catherine who provided the flight instruction. The pair also conducted many flight experiments to gather data and provide information for his texts. Catherine's article on glide testing (propeller stopped versus windmilling) appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of STATS Magazine.
The Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association featured Ace Aerobatic School in its August 2006 issue and published two associated multimedia presentations. National Public Radio featured a trip in Catherine's Cherokee "Sally" for a summer series on where one can fly on $100 worth of fuel.
Catherine honors Bill's wish for aerobatic training to continue at KUOS and now runs her own Sewanee Aerobatic School specializing in individualized instruction that is tailored to the needs of the individual student. We believe that a one-on-one ground briefing and a thorough preflight inspection of the aircraft is at least as important as the actual flying. The Aerobat provides the perfect training platform for emergency maneuver training -- side-by-side seating, yokes, low power -- making the aircraft similar in handling and recovery characteristics to most general aviation airplanes.
When Catherine introduced "Wilbur", her own 1979 152 Aerobat, "Two Loops" was renamed "Orville". With Bill's passing in January 2007 and Orville's departure to be featured in the National Air and Space Museum at the Udvar-Hazy Center, now Sewanee Aerobatic School is a "one-instructor, one-airplane" institution based on the same principles on which Bill's aerobatic school was founded
Sewanee Aerobatic School would like to thank Woodrow Blettel for the use of some images used on this website.