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An aeronautical slaughter of epic proportions


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This is a good and thought provoking article. I am learning to fly in a Jabiru UL-D. In the stall training I've done to date, the stalls appear to be predictable which perhaps leads to some complacency. One of the best training experiences to date was when asking to do some more stalls, and anticipating whether the aircraft would drop the left wing in the stall which seemed to be the predicted pattern, the aircraft stalled with the wings remaining perfectly level. It taught me that we might expect and event to unfold as previously experienced, BUT always be prepared for what actually happens, not just what you expect to happen.

 

Flying predictable patterns and circuits is good fun and reassuring, but I am lucky to have an instructor who keeps pushing the learning envelope. When practising emercency landings, I lost my place with what I thought he wanted me to do and I told him so. Rather than taking over the controls and explaining again, we still had plenty of height so he forced me to think the situation through again and carry out the drill. A great lesson in 'flying the plane', give yourself time to think, then act accordingly.

 

On the back of this article, I'll be asking to do more stalling and more drills for when things go wrong. Like most things, the test of how well you can do something, is not when everything is going well, but how you are equipped to react when things go wrong.

 

Safe flying,

 

Mathew Ker

 

 

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A great read Ian. Another 4 pages for the Human Factors manual, & something for all of us to consider, esp Flt instructors & RAA admin.

 

Mathew a well constructed post. Would you consider placing your last sentence in the Quote Library of the forum?

 

Regards, Decca.

 

 

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Considering the fact that to get an Ultralight Certificate in Oz needs a minimum of 40 hours, we probably haven't done too badly if Richard Collins' accident rates are kosha. Most ultralights seem to be pretty hard to spin and we should all be taught how to recover from an incipient spin before it is allowed to develop.

 

I wonder what the road accident rate per 100,000 hours is by comparison?

 

David

 

 

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Yep, a good read Ian. Now, a word of warning for Mathew. I don't know about the UL-D but the LSA-55 Jab will drop a wing if you pull it into a stall faster than normal, ie, not in landing mode when every thing should be going nice and gentle. Next time you're up with your instructor, ask to try it and be ready to kick in that opposite foot. I don't know about going into a spin as I've always caught it quickly. On that subject, a general question, should we all be taught spin recovery anyway?

 

 

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Just a thought - is it possible that the reason why we are not taught spin recovery is that our types of aircraft are not certified to allow spins - as I said, just a thought!

 

 

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Doug,

 

Thanks for your word of caution. ;) Your comment is exactly the reason why I am keen to practice more stalls at height so I become more aware of what may happen and why. My experience in a number of areas other than flying is that if you can rehearse for what may be expected, you are better equipped to react when the unexpected occurs. I might add that when I was parachuting in the Army, I never jumped without rehearsing in my mind the drills I had been taught by excellent instructors. I firmly believe this always gave me more time to think through the situation and act accordingly. :;)6: The irony is the more you preplan and rehearse, the less chance there is that something will go wrong in the first place!

 

I understand that recreational flying has an inherent risk factor - but so has life. My aim is to understand the risks as best I can, and then act responsibly to minimise the risks to myself and others.

 

This flying business is great fun. ;)

 

Regards, Mathew

 

 

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Does that mean our aircraft won't spin Ian? I know intensional spinning is a no-no, but if you accidentally put yourself in that position, could you get out of it (assuming RAA certificate only)

 

 

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Guest TOSGcentral

Yes and No Ian. It is a bit convoluted.

 

While AUF seemed content to be a pale shadow of GA so went along with the GA abandonment of spin training, the central reason is probably regulation.

 

Spinning is classed as an aerobatic manoeuvre. Ultralights are prohibited from aerobatics, ergo no spinning, ergo no spin training.

 

A significant danger point is with those bans in place there was no compulsion to do full spin testing for certification.

 

If my memory serves correctly the usual requirement was that the aircraft had to be coming out of the spin within one turn after being in an established five turn spin at an “extended C of G Aft†weight and balance configuration. Generally you needed to go to 8-10,000’ for that stunt and that presents another problem because we are not allowed above 5000’ agl.’

 

So the clowns currently spinning ultralights are not only breaking the law they are going into untested areas – I hope they are as good as they think they are!

 

Significantly, the major thing we could and should be doing on at least spin prevention training is formal teaching of Lateral Damping and Safe Speed Near the Ground – how many readers even know what they are?

 

Tony

 

 

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I agree with you Doug - spin training would be a great inclusion in our training syllabus but how can we train ourselves for it if an aircraft that we are using for training isn't certified for spins - does the international certification standards have to change to allow for it - I just wonder whether it could be done in a simulator but then all our training facilities would have to have access to a certified Sim. There is also the cost associated with all this as well but then you could argue what is the cost of a life.

 

I think there are many considerations that would be needed to include spin training in out syllabus and it is something that may evolve over time - the problem in that itself is that more people may have to die first before action in this area is taken

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

Instead of worrying about what we haven't got perhaps we should think about what we have got and can do.

 

I had the wonderful experience as a glider pilot nearly 30 years ago of having extensive stall/spin training. We can't do that though, because we don't have spin certified a/c and it's not part of the syllabus because of that.

 

In any event spins aren't going to kill us at 3500 feet. They're going to kill us at 500 feet turning final. At that point we don't want to spin. Instead we want to not enter a stall.

 

Spins rely on 2 things: firstly the aerofoil has to be stalled; secondly that stall needs to be asymmetric and that usually means that yaw is present.

 

So what we can do and what is most important is that we can practice stall recovery in all sorts of configurations. We want to be able to recognise a stall in any configuration and circumstance and reliably recover from it before it develops into an incipient spin or a fully developed spin. All of that is possible in our a/c and within the regs. Perhaps not ideal but certainly a strong contributor to safety.

 

If a particular aircraft in an aggravated stall tends to roll inverted and pitch down then we had better be able to identify the onset of the stall at the earliest possible moment. That's far better than having to recover from an established spin at low level.

 

Just as an aside the Tecnam is a very passive aircraft to stall power off or power on clean. But if you put it into approach configuration - flaps 15 and power on then it will drop a wing fairly briskly in the stall. If you haven't practiced this recently in your aircraft then you should go to 3500 feet or more and do it - preferably with an instructor. You should do it until you can recognise the onset and reliably and instinctively respond to it. That way you won't have to recognise and respond to a spin or an incipient spin.

 

Secondly can you repeat without thinking the NASA standard spin recovery? Can you sit in your armchair and reliably recover from a spin using that technique? If not why not? It's not ideal but it's OK. If you fluff your stall recovery then knowing this stuff might save your life.

 

But you don't want to be fluffing your stall recovery. Go and practice.

 

My two bob's worth.

 

Mike

 

 

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I made a mistake earlier when I said we need a minimum of 40 hours. It should have been 20. Must have been having a "Senior's moment". Actually, I believe most people take a few more hours than that, so our CFI's are dong their jobs pretty well.

 

Getting back to the spinning problem, my 701 will drop a wing very quickly if you try a power on stall, but that isn't the sort of thing you would do accidentally, even in a very tight turn.

 

David

 

 

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pelorus32 said: 'In any event spins aren't going to kill us at 3500 feet. They're going to kill us at 500 feet turning final. At that point we don't want to spin. Instead we want to not enter a stall.'

 

In the mid to late 1950's DH-C1's (Chipmunks) were banned from spin training after several full blown fatal spins quickly developed from incipient spins during stall and spin practice above 3500' AGL.

 

I looked at my RAAF (NST) logbook for 1955 and the first 50 hours included 3 hours dual and 7 hours solo specifically dedicated to stalls and spins in DH-82 and DH-C1 acft. Below 500' AGL recovery from a stall in a Tiger Moth might be possible but most unlikely in a Chipmunk. Spin from below 500' in either (or any acft) and you're history.

 

3000'+AGL and a Tiger Moth will recover from a stall, hands off, if the trim is set 'straight-and-level'.

 

In the early to mid 1960's I was in the back of a DC6, returning from training at Narromine, while the crew were practicing stalls. I'm not sure if it was normal practice or if the instructor (a WW2 war-ie) was 'showing off'.

 

All pilots should experience a stall/spin with an instructor during training, however most fatal stall/spins occur below 500'AGL when any amount of training won't help.

 

As pelorus32 suggests...avoiding potential stall/spin situations is paramount.

 

Bruce

 

 

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I originally trained in the eighties on a Thruster (40 hours) and then gave it away, I am now three quarters of my way to regaining my certificate (on a Gazelle). Back in 80s at the flying school where I trained the usual thing was to have a one off lesson in a suitable aircraft, of course this didn't tell you anything about the aircraft you are learning in but it does give you an idea of how it feels to spin, how to determine the direction of the spin etc. This seems like a reasonable compromise, but to me the most important thing is not to get into a spin in the first place, it's a bit like my old mum - she wouldn't know how to get out of a skid in her car but has a 50 year accident free record (course she does drive everywhere at 50 kph:confused:).

 

 

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Spins & all that.

 

I think we went down this road some time back. If someone has a reference wouldn't it be a good idea to revisit it?

 

What has been said about the Chipmunk is quite right . It has killed good pilots ,(some known to me). You never quite knew how each aeroplane would behave, and it would take 2 or 3 turns to settle into the spin most times. If the spin flattened out ( nose raised a little higher than normal ) it would be a bit harder to recover from. Commencing from 5000 ft is still too low. If the recovery is botched you can end up in an inverted spin,or a spin in the other direction, just to make it a bit more interesting.

 

I have one piece of advice here. DO NOT SPIN AN ULTRALIGHT. You are in unknown territory. I spin appropriately certified aircraft only and make sure they are rigged and balanced properly, No matter how proficient and experienced you are with spinning, to spin an unknown, untested, uncertified, aircraft deliberately would indicate the need to have your head examined.

 

I can understand the feelings of pilots who would wish to have this training just so they can experience spinning and be capable of putting in a good effort at recovering from one if the need arose? The official jury is still out on that, world-wide. My personal opinion is that all serious pilots should do emergency manoeuver training, which would include rapid recovery from spins spirals stalls & any upsets without overstressing the aeroplane. There are plenty of specialist schools who do this, and although you would have to do it in a VH aeroplane, it's all dual anyhow and I would be surprised if you would have a problem. JDI... Nev...

 

 

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This is an age old argument, one we are unlikely to resolve here. When I got my training, back when Pontius was a pilot, we were not only taught recovery from the developed spin, but also recovery from unusual attitudes. In spite of this I am not convinced that spin training is very beneficial, at least not more so than recovery from the incipient spin. If you look at the stats, the majority of stall/spin accidents result from turns at low altitude, 'roo stalls', (or 'moose stalls' as our American friends call them), from which recovery is usually impossible anyway. As has already been said, identifying the conditions under which these can occur, even at speed well above the 'book' stall, is a skill more likely to save lives than teaching a recovery that in the real world most will not have the height or time to exercise.

 

 

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I'm sorry I might be a bit off the track here because I can't download the article (I've run out of download time. Oops.) I'm also a bit of a ring-in because I'm a GA pilot.

 

I've read the comments about stall/spin training though. I'm a big fan of really good advanced stall training and preferably spin training. As you've said though, the problem is that you can't spin your aircraft. Is there any way that RAA pilots can do a session of dual spin training in aerobatic GA aircraft?

 

There are so many things that could go wrong and put you into an unexpected situation.

 

I think stall training is often not done well enough. As soon as you get close to a stall most instructors want a recovery. It's possible to fly the stall. You can fly fully stalled (descending of course), keeping straight with rudder, or even turning slightly with rudder. Please don't do it without an instructor though.

 

Stall (and even spin) training is usually done from a slow deceleration approach, but in real life it may happen from a much higher airspeed with power on. That's when they can get a bit nastier.

 

If you can do it, I recommend Emergency Maneouvre Training (which is done at some GA schools using aerobatic aircraft like Pitts Specials). It is really worthwhile.

 

 

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As browng posted, it's the low speed x turning at low level mistakes which are unrecoverable. When the promised Low Level Endorsement is introduced, that training should produce an improvement in aircraft handling.

 

Prevention really is better than cure because there often isn't time to use the cure!!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hats off to my RA-Aus instructors 011_clap.gif.c796ec930025ef6b94efb6b089d30b16.gif. They obviously know the importance of giving students an awareness session of what a spin looks and feels like and what to do to get out of it. They arranged for me to spend time in a Bocian glider with a GFA instructor. Pretty frightening at first but after a couple of spin attempts soon got the hang of it and an idea of what to do ... just in case. Time spent well in my opinion. I'd advise everyone "new" pilot to try and do this under the care of a good instructor. It doesn't cost a lot in gliders either, besides the silent ride is well worth it.

 

Paul

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My first instructor spent 1 full hour with me in an auf reg skyfox doing spins and recovery's..now, he knew he was being naughty, but said that it was the rwego diff between the auf and Ga skyfox that made it an illegal manouver..now im not sure how correct that assumtion was...a few years later the wing tore off his plane and killed himm and his son...the crash report said a "massive" overload on the airframe ...probabl;y a combination of pilot handling and turbulance forces..

 

I am greatfull that i have in my skill arsenal spin recovery techniques, but im reminded of the current GA standards of testing in twins with regards to assymetry and engine failures..GA training in this area use to involve shutting down an engine on takeoff...and subsequently many pilot and instructors where crashing and dieing in training.. The powers that be realised that the "training" for the event was killing more ppl then the actual occurances of 1 engine failing on takeoff.. i never ever intend to let my aeroplane stall and spin, and its much more likely to happen at low altitude when something else has gone wroong..amd all the training should be foccused on NOT letting that happen..if it does, ya can kiss ya bum goodbye anyway..not much sence training for it..

 

anyway.....i do go on don't i...lol

 

 

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