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Barrel Rolls occupy a unique position in aerobatic maneuvering. Gentle, slow-paced, and Positive G throughout, they are the perfect maneuver for initial demonstrations to new aerobatic students and "ride-alongs." Additionally, they make an ideal teaching tool: the maneuver is deceptively complex, involving continous rotation around all three axes from start to finish. In the Sunrise Basic Course, Barrel rolls are a "graduation" level maneuver: successful demonstration requires thorough mastery of basic rolling and looping skills.
On the other hand, barrel rolls have fallen from favor somewhat with "serious" aerobatic pilots. This has occurred exclusively because barrel rolls are difficult to judge externally and have therefore been eliminated as a competition maneuver at every level.
Despite this apparent disadvantage, barrel rolls remain one of the most pleasant maneuvers in the basic aerobatic repertoire. Thanks to the low G forces, they can and have been performed in virtually every type of fixed wing aircraft--from gliders through Boeing 707s.