In the early days of flying, some pilots used their aircraft as part of a flying circus to entertain.
Maneuvers were flown for artistic reasons or to draw gasps from onlookers. In due course some of these maneuvers were found to allow aircraft to gain tactical advantage during aerial combat or dogfights between fighter aircraft.
Aerobatic aircraft fall into two categories — specialist aerobatic, and aerobatic capable. Specialist designs such as the Pitts Special, the Extra 200 and 300, and the Sukhoi Su-<wbr>26M and Sukhoi Su-29 aim for ultimate aerobatic performance. This comes at the expense of general purpose use such as touring, or ease of non aerobatic handling such as landing. At a more basic level, aerobatic capable aircraft, such as the Cessna 152 Aerobat model, can be dual purpose—equipped to carrying passengers and luggage, as well as being capable of basic aerobatic figures.
Beside aerobatic and others risky flights there are also many attempts at human-powered.
Early attempts at human-powered flight were unsuccessful because of the difficulty of achieving the high power-to-weight ratio.
Prototypes often used ornithopter principles which were not only too heavy to meet this requirement but aerodynamically unsatisfactory.