Surviving as a Pilot | Spin Training

Surviving as a Pilot | Spin Training


Hey guys, Jon from fly8MA.com and today I’m
here to talk to you about Spins. We’re going to talk about what a spin is,
what it looks like, how to enter into a spin, and also more importantly how to recover from
a spin and, extra important, how to recover at the first sign of a spin instead of actually
going all the way into it. So the first thing we’re going to do is climb
up to a safe altitude over the top of the airport here where we’re clear of all traffic,
and in a position to land in case, we had a problem with the aircraft. And we’re going to put the aircraft into a
spin deliberately. I’ll walk you through those control inputs. Typically it has something to do with stalling
the airplane and having the ball way off to the side, having an uncoordinated stall. So, to do so, I’m simply going to go ahead
and clear the area here– make sure there are no other aircraft around us. Once I’m satisfied, we’re at a good attitude,
we’re clear and make sure there are no other airplanes near us, We’ll make a radio call
and let everyone know where we are and what we’re doing, and then enter into procedure. The procedure is going to be stick pull-back
to raise the nose, power at about 1500rpms or so– we don’t want too much power but we
need a little bit to make the aircraft spin. We don’t want too much to make it do a very
aggressive spin, and then full left rudder, and that’s going to bring me right into a
spin. Now, as soon as the aircraft stalls we’ll
notice the left wing dropping and at that point, we should be stepping on the right
rudder to step on the high wing and lower that wing. But we’re going to do the wrong thing and
hold in full left rudder and hold the stick full out, and as we see the ground, and get
scared, we’re going to continue to pull full back on the stick and hold the aircraft in
a spin. When I want to recover, I’ll do my normal
spin recovery procedure “PAR:” Power to idle. aileron to neutral, opposite rudder the direction
of the spin and briskly pushing the elevator forward to break the stall and recover from
the resulting dive, by pulling our nose up, and once we get our nose up even or above
the horizon. I go ahead and do one last clearing turn to
make sure we’re clear. “Venice Traffic, Silver Champ, over the field,
maneuvering 2000 and above, Venice Traffic.” That way, we’re well above 2000 feet here,
but we’re kind of buying ourselves a block altitude of airspace to try and keep other
airplanes away from us as we do these aggressive maneuvers. Alright, I’m noting my heading, gauges set,
everything looks green, check the area one last time. I’m going to go ahead and set power back to
1500 so I don’t get into too aggressive of a spin here. Pull the stick full back, and as I’m raising
my nose, right before I get to the stall, I’m going to go ahead and kick in full left
rudder. And now we are going in the incipient phase
and here is the developed phase of the spin. We’re spinning down, I’m looking at my altitude,
I’ve got about 2600, passing through that. Now to recover from this, I’m going to go
power to idle, opposite rudder, pushing the stick forward, and there we are flying again,
airspeed’s coming up awful quickly, so I’m pulling back on the stick. I’ve got my nose up with the horizon, at full
power climbing away. Now, I’m doing all that stuff a little bit
faster than I can even talk,, so it happens awfully quickly. Now you may say, “I would never that stupid. I would never pull the stick full back and
fly full left rudder, and make the aircraft enter into a spin.” Well, okay I’ll buy that. Sure, you won’t do something like that. However, pilots, unfortunately, die in spins
every year. Not just one guy a year, lots of pilots kill
themselves when they make the final turn and a spin. And why that is– well, it’s for a number
of reasons. There’s never one single factor that causes
an accident, there’s always an “accident chain.” Let’s talk about that accident chain as we
climb back up here. Well, you probably overshot base to final. It’s probably a gusty day and there was probably
some sort of reason for making you feel like you have to make this landing– feel like
you have to make the turn tighter, turn back to final, rather than just adding full power,
going around to the side of the runway, and climbing back towards the runway in a safe
manner and trying again. So, what could those factors be? Let’s say we’re in a Cessna 172, we just flew
a 2-hour cross country, and we’re coming back, the weather’s not good, it’s a little gusty. Normally we would have stopped by now but
we continue to press on anyway because we had passengers with us, we had two people
in the back seat of that 172. Maybe it was all four people, high gross weight
and high stall speed, and we had baggage with us too. So we were at gross weight, higher stall speed,
and we had an Aft center of gravity. So now we’re setting up for a not-good scenario
just to begin with. Then let’s say we’re coming in a little fast
so we trim more nose up. So I’m going to go ahead and set my trim here
way nose up. So now we’re trimmed up and we’ve got an
Aft-CG, so the aircraft is getting dangerously slow and we happen to have a strong gust of
crosswind. And so, we’re on a left base and we have a
crosswind for the runway coming ultimately from the left if we were on final. And that makes our base go buy really fast
and we overshoot base to final. So, what ends up happening is with about power
set here, and without a decent power setting, I go ahead and I start to bank the left, and
as I bank to the left, I’m overshooting so I kick left rudder. I don’t like how much the aircraft is banking,
my passengers gasp, so I push right stick and now I notice my nose is dropping, I pull
back on the stick and this is just so wrong. But there’s the ground, I keep the stick full
back, and now I’m in a spin again. I have to apply full opposite rudder, power
to idle, and push the stick forward, recover and raise my nose back up. I don’t care about turning to the runway at
this point, I just care about living. I’m adding full power, pushing forward on
the stick to fight that trim and fight that Aft-center of gravity with all of those passengers,
and there we go, we’ve recovered. Now, on that maneuver, we lost about 200 feet
or so. If your base to final at 500 feet, and you
recover immediately, then hey, you could still live. But what happens most of the time is when
you see that ground coming up at you, you pull the stick full aft and you hold the aircraft
in that spin. Now, obviously, things are wrong with the
airplane. We could hear it, we could feel it. It didn’t like what we were doing to it, so
why did we do that. Well again, we had an Aft-center of gravity,
we had the trim set nosed-up and maybe we didn’t pull the aircraft into the spin, or
into a stall rather. We didn’t pull the aircraft into a stall,
and then make it end up spinning because of uncoordinated use of the controls. Perhaps the aircraft was just above stall
speed, and we were watching it carefully, but it was a gusty day, remember, and we had
a little bit of headwind, and it sheared from 20 knots down to 10, and we lost 10 knots
of airspeed just like that. All of a sudden the left wing stalls and we
roll over. So what we really want to practice here, and
what you’ll do in training with your CFI if you go through spin training, is practicing
recovering at the incipient phase of the spin, right before the aircraft enters into the
spin, into the stall. Right when you realize something’s going terribly
wrong. So let’s talk about what that looks like. We’ve got the runway off to our left there,
our imaginary runway, and I’ve overshot it, I’m going to go ahead and kick left rudder
while I’m banking the airplane left. I don’t like how much I’m banking, so I push
the right stick. Oh, my nose dropped, I pull back and I notice
something’s wrong. I’m going to go ahead and recover now with
right rudder, pushing the stick forward, recovering from the stall and raising my nose back up,
adding full power and climbing away. On that one, we didn’t even lose 100 feet. We recovered at the first sign of something
going wrong and the main factor of recovery was don’t pull back and use rudder opposite
the direction of rotation. Our nose was sliding to the left, I pushed
right rudder. I could step on the ball. You could say that, but come on, when you’re
staring at the ground and you’re scared that your plane’s doing things you’re not used
to, are you really going to be staring at the ball? You’re probably going to be looking out over
the nose, and freezing in panic as you see the ground rushing up at you. So, if you see the nose sliding left, step
on right rudder. If you see the nose sliding right, step on
left rudder. Whichever way the aircraft maybe entering
into a spin, step on that (opposite) rudder. The other way to think about this is, step
on the high wing. When you enter into that maneuver– we’re
clear here– the left wing is dropping. If I just step on the right rudder, I can
level the wing and keep the airplane flying straight without going into a spin. I don’t necessarily have to put in control
inputs as long as I’m using rudder and keeping the wings level with rudder. Rudder will probably be one of the most important
tools you use here. Let’s go ahead and clear the area one more
time for ourselves. So now, let’s go ahead and try this and just
let go. At the first sign of something going wrong,
let’s just let go and see if the aircraft enters into a spin or not. And I bet, actually, that we won’t go into
a spin, we’ll rather go into a spiral where we’re not fully stalled, we’re maybe in a
dive– in a spiraling dive– towards the ground, but our airspeed is above stall speed. If you notice on that other spin, our airspeed
was hanging around 40 as we were going through those rotations. So, let me go ahead and put the aircraft into
that bad situation again. Overshooting our runway, I’m going to go ahead
and bank to the left, take left rudder. Oh too much bank, right stick, pulling back
and oh man, I really don’t like this. Something is definitely wrong I’m just going
to let go and guess what, the airplane is still flying. I can go ahead and recover it normally using
coordinated rudder and ailerons. So just let go sometimes, can help you figure
out what’s going on. Let me pull it into a little more aggressive
spin, or incipient phase of a spin. We’ll actually get the airplane to stall this
time and then just let go once it stalls and see if it recovers on its own. A little bit more power there. And now I will let go, but I’m also going
to reduce power to idle because leaving power is definitely going to kick the aircraft into
a spin. Our area is clear– no other aircraft around,
raising my nose, and I’m kicking left rudder. I’m entering into that spin, and now I’m just
going to go ahead and let go. Power to idle. And guess what, look at that, as soon as power
came to idle, the aircraft started to recover. I’m going to go ahead and recover from this
dive here because we don’t want to get too fast. The most dangerous part about practicing these
is that actually getting the aircraft too fast, or overstressing the airframe with G-forces
on the pullout. So, just by letting go and reducing power
to idle, the aircraft stopped spinning. Not all airplanes will do that, but I bet
most of them will. The most important thing to take away here
is that rudder is probably your best friend. Along with power not being pushed in. When the aircraft starts misbehaving, get
rid of your power, hopefully, you have at least enough altitude to trade for airspeed,
even if you’re only at a few hundred feet, you’re probably better off getting rid of
power. And then, also use rudder. Don’t use the stick, use rudder. Use the stick and rudder together, but more
importantly, use rudder. Do not leave your feet on the floor like so
many students who fly Pipers and Cessnas do. You must rudder and you must use it as much
as it takes pretty authoritatively, pretty aggressively. When the aircraft starts rolling over on it’s
back to the left, if I’m in a 90-degree bank here, and I want to fix that I can just go
ahead and press right rudder and the aircraft will fix itself. Alright, much more so than aileron will do
when you’re in a stall. When you’re in a stall the ailerons will not
help they will only make it worse. So, you’re takeaway here: power and rudder. Those are your two best friends. Also, don’t get yourself into those bad situations. Don’t be trimmed way nose up. Don’t be flying an airplane at gross weight,
with people in the back, with an aft-center of gravity, on a gusty day, when you’re pressed
for time and making poor decisions. Stack the deck in your favor, do everything
you can to ensure a positive outcome of your flight, and even if that means delaying your
passengers, or delaying your flight a little bit, it’s not the end of the world. you can always do it tomorrow. If you push it, you might not be able to do
it tomorrow. So, rudder, power, be safe, think through
things. Everything will be alright. Hey guys thanks so much for watching, and
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