More than one pilot has asked me out of the blue "Do you think this plane could do an aileron roll?" Or "can we spin this plane?" Since I don't fly aerobatic planes very often and many of the aircraft I fly are not approved for intentional spins, my answer is usually "Not with me on board!" And I'm quick to add that there are plenty of places where a pilot can rent an aerobatic aircraft, hire a competent instructor, and while wearing a parachute they can do all sorts of maneuvers and be in complete compliance with FAA regulations. Most importantly, the level of risk while performing aerobatics under the correct circumstances is reasonably low.
Maybe the very fact that certain maneuvers are forbidden in most aircraft is what makes some pilots want to attempt those very maneuvers. Like a moth to a flame. Here's a case in point:
The airplane was substantially damaged during recovery after the captain attempted an intentional aileron roll maneuver during cruise flight and lost control. The cargo flight was being operated at night under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 at the time of the accident. The captain reported the airplane was "functioning normally" prior to the intentional aileron roll maneuver. The captain stated that the "intentional roll maneuver got out of control" while descending through flight level 200. The captain reported that the airplane "over sped" and experienced "excessive G-loads" during the subsequent recovery. The copilot reported that the roll maneuver initiated by the captain resulted in a "nose-down unusual attitude" and a "high speed dive." Inspection of the airplane showed substantial damage to the left wing and elevator assembly.
It's been said that a simple, two-word phrase is the harbinger of bad things in the aviation world and it makes one wonder if the captain in the above incident said "watch this" before starting a maneuver that may have ended his flying career. What could he have been thinking? Maybe he was bored with his job? Maybe he just wanted to show off? Or maybe he wanted to know if it's possible to perform an aileron roll in a Lear? He certainly has his answer now.