How do you recover from a stall?

Thank you! :blush:

«Watch this» :smile:

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She sounds like Snuggles :smile:

The stall series during flight training is most assuredly something that needs to be treated with care. My own experience is not something that I’m proud of, but hopefully will be a good lesson to CFIs that semantics mater.

Let’s take the phrase stick forward for example. Seemingly innocuous, it can be interpreted in several ways by a student pilot. For instance, how quickly and with how much force forward? During my stall training, I took this to mean press yoke into panel with adrenaline induced force. This caused the windscreen to be filled with the blue waters of Lake Lanier, and a very near elbow to the bridge of my nose from my CFI when he couldn’t immediately regain control of the the airplane. As he shouted, “MY AIRPLANE!”, I only let go when my Cessna press “Theory of Flight” (hard cover edition) struck the back of my head as it fell from where I had tossed it in the rear of the aircraft. My instructor, whom had about 700 hours teaching and had just received his notice of employment from ASA (Delta feeder), was pretty shaken. He gruffly said, “Take us back to the airport.” I felt ashamed.

Back at the FBO we debriefed over a Coke and after I described what I thought the recovery process was, he rephrased the actions to relax back pressure, rather than apply forward pressure. A light came on and I never had another issue again with any of my flight instruction. It seems pretty simple instruction, but one has to remember that a student is probably not going to be comfortable with high angles of attack, especially during accelerated stalls (power on), with the added incentive of the stall warning horn blaring.

Robby and I got along fine after that and we worked through stalls, slips, short and soft field takeoff and landings. He’s probably a Delta B767 capt now. So glad that I didn’t kill him. LOL.


The guys in this have covered it all.
I just have a slight add on.

Try adding a little negative elevator.
A RL pilot tought me this a few years ago and I have the feeling that recovery is a bit faster.

Of course, opposite rudder will recover faster. But that assumes you properly recognize the direction of autorotation. If you think this should be easy, try being in an accidental inverted spin close to the ground. It is sometimes impossible, especially if you are looking straight up (down) though your canopy at a bluriously rotating earth. Using the Beggs method you don’t need to know the direction of rotation AND you don’t need to know whether the spin is outside or inside (also sometimes very difficult to identify.) Flaps (or slats) would be the ultimate mistake in a spin. They don’t reduce angle of attack and they don’t stop the rotation. All they would do is create the potential for overspeed damage in the recovery (if you were lucky enough to recover while fiddling with the flap handle.)

An airplane can stall at any speed and at any attitude. “Stall speed” should be completely removed from the aviator’s lexicon. Yes it is real of course. But the term teaches new pilots, who already have a weak grasp of theory, an idea they will never forget and one that can kill them unless they do.


About “stick forward”. This is another idea that has killed numerous pilots—especially Pitts pilots. Pushing well forward of nuetral in an inside (upright) spin will result in a crossover spin, where the spin has coverted from positive AOA to negative. In the Pitts, we are talking just a few inches of stick travel. If this happens coincident with opposite rudder, the victim enters a spin that reverses both direction and attitude. The first time this was demonstrated to me it scared me so badly that I simply refused to practice it on my own. Until…

Early in my relationship with my plane I start practicing snaps. I was just doing half snaps from upright to inverted and then slow-rolling back upright, then repeating. After 10 or so of these I decided to do an outside snap back to upright. Totally dumb. I had never done an outside snap nor had I ever done an outside spin on my own. So I pushed full forward (wrong!) and kicked. I buried the snap and entered the most confusing tumble my idiot self had experienced to that point. I tried to recover but whatever I was doing at that moment was pro-spin. I then said “goodbye”. I am not kidding. That’s what I did, calmly. Something eventually worked and I recovered with 800 feet to spare. I have the video but I still can’t watch it. After nearly killing myself, I do crossover spins from at least 7000 feet at the beginning of the season and at regular intervals thereafter. And don’t get me wrong. I flat LOVE spinning. And no plane ever made is as good at it as the little single-hole Pitts. But instructors who know only slightly more than their students are teaching them fatally wrong. Period.


Only reading your post scared me enough to be honest.
When a guy who says “I love spins” says he was scared… no thanks, not for me.
Glad you lived to tell the tale!

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Thanks! Spins are not out-of-control manuevers. They can be trained like a well behaved dog. They are fun and very beneficial to practice—with an experienced instructor.


They don’t call @smokinhole smokin hole for nothin’ :love_you_gesture:


Yeah, this is true.
It’s supposed to be understood as ”move forwards” since you are most likely holding the stick aft, in a stall situation, and letting go of the controls is not a natural reflex when you’re startled.


Letting go of the stick takes care of that. One thing we haven’t mentioned is aileron. A spin starts with a roll element. If you apply aileron opposite the roll, which is a perfectly reasonable impulse, the resulting adverse yaw is pro-spin. In my plane, full outside stick will double the rate of rotation.

[Edit: Replying to @Troll below] How this is taught SHOULD change. Consider the most common scenario, a left incipient spin base-to-final. The plane will roll rapidly to the left. The instinct for any of us—full right aileron—will likely be fatal as it will strengthen the spin. That is why letting go, just for a brief instant is the best instinct to teach. Also this has nothing to do with aerobatic flight. When I do spins in competition I use pro-spin aileron (bad) to enter the spin, power to stabilize the spin (bad) and forward or aft stick in the recovery (potentially bad). In competition we do these (bad) things in order to control the entry and to recover on heading instantly. There is a 0.5 point deduction for every 2.5 degrees off heading. Also, ALL competition spins must end with the nose pointed exactly 90 degrees down. (Same point deductions apply). The differences between competition entry and recovery and emergency entry and recovery are very nearly opposite one another.

Sorry for the hijack btw. My wheelhouse is very small. :nerd_face:


Yes, but a flightschool instructor would never teach a student to let go of the controls, unless hearing «MY CONTROLS» :wink:
And releasing the stick forces, while holding the stick, must become a reflex action. A flight student will probably pull the stick, when things start to go downwards.
Now, a seasoned aerobatics jock, is a different beast… :slight_smile:

Well, I touched the subject in the beginning.
Coordinated flying, in general, will be a good protection against incipient spins.


Well, I think we did well at my old flightschool.
Teaching students to actually let go of the controls really goes against the rule of always staying in control of your aircraft. I know you are right, though. It would fix things. It’s a bit like saying, if you don’t know what you’re doing, do nothing.
We did a lot of «traffic pattern stalls», at altitude. A regular stall on downwind. An accelerated stall on base followed by a power on stall in the go-around.
We were taught to steer with the rudder, in the slowflight and keep the ball centered.
We stalled so many times that putting the stick in the center became instinct.
Teaching the student where to place the controls is the better option in the long run. That’s how I see it, anyway.


Edit for deletion.


At work, we teach “release the steering wheel and feet off the pedals” as the first step to solving a developed skid/spin in a car. The first time I taught it, I said exactly that. My first student proceeds to basically go spread eagle in their seat, almost hitting me in the face with his right hand (left hand drivers seat in the US remember) as he “lets go of the wheel” in a very umm exuberant manner. I have since modified my instruction to “remove any pressure from the steering wheel and let the pedal go slack” without a repeat of that performance.

Also as a non vehicle related instance… We had cadets on the line at the firing range, and one of them kept putting his finger on the trigger when he wasn’t supposed to. We were about to get to the point of physical remediation if he did it again, so I made a point of pulling him aside. “Cadet, let me see your gun hand. That finger, that one right there, keep it off the trigger! Do you understand me?” Cadet vigorously affirms that he does. I look back 30 seconds latter and instead of his index finger (the finger you normally use on the trigger) being on the trigger, his ring finger is now on the trigger. He was special.