Stall training
1 min read

This is the first in a series of questions we’ll be posing to our readers. We’d like to hear your opinions on various aviation topics, so tell us what you think. Just enter your comments below–there’s no need to sign up.

Stall training

Question: Most inadvertent stalls that result in serious accidents occur at an altitude too low for a recovery. Do you think this means that practicing stalls at altitude is a waste of time?

Richard Collins
231 replies
  1. Steve Kittel
    Steve Kittel says:

    I dont think it is a waste of time. I was practicing short field takeoffs with an obstacle and happened to over rotate after I had cleared the obstacle…I dont know if the wind speed changed or what, but the airspeed dropped to around 50 knots… I immmediately/instinctively pushed the nose over. Had I not had stall training and had pulled back instead of pushed forward to stop the rapid airspeed decline, it could have easily turned into a stall right onto the runway.

    • odyluvs2av8apple
      odyluvs2av8apple says:

      Hey Steve, I agree, it is not a waste of time. I personally believe this kind of reaction has to be instinctive. Even more important is SPIN training. Picture this…your turning base to final and you undershoot the centerline and while still in a bank you push a little top rudder to get over to the centerline…guess what happens next…spin city. That little scenario can also be effectively demonstrated at altitude.

      • lakotahope
        lakotahope says:

        Turning onto final I remember going cross controlled to realign myself with the centerline. I had plenty of speed and used this to slow down also. I look back and realize, luck is a skill that will get one out of situations where nothing else will.

        • Malte Höltken
          Malte Höltken says:

          Nah actually, crossed controls aren’t the problem, as long as you know what you are doing. Any slip (side- or foreward) is a very stable flight with crossed controls, and both work in turns, too. In fact, it is part of the gliders training in Germany. Tried it in a C150 earlier this month and found that rudder authority of the 150 isn’t too good for slipping, but that is an other topic.


          • lakotahope
            lakotahope says:

            Yeah, but I was a student pilot at the time, and I didn’t really think about it until reading an article sometime afterwards….Just to have fun, keep flying (decades ago)

    • Donald Will
      Donald Will says:

      I don’t think it’s at all a waste of any pilots time. The more training you have, the more you become aware of the dangers that coulud happen. At anytime at any altitude.

    • Max Rosenzweig
      Max Rosenzweig says:

      Stall recovery was just about the best training I had.
      Cross control in a cross wind landing was probabally the absolute best. You are near stall and need to have complete control of the aircraft to make a good landing. Most spins occur when cross control is not
      controlled. If you haven’t been trained for this get with your instructor.

  2. @ZaneJobe
    @ZaneJobe says:

    No. The point of stall training is to recognize the symptoms before they get bad enough to matter. This can only be done through practice to see how the plane reacts. However, I think more time needs to be spent on spin and partial panel training (think AF447).

    Y’all need to sign up on Twitter, so you can disseminate this information and get more traffic!

  3. Mike H,
    Mike H, says:

    A lot of flying is simple muscle memory (feel and reaction), same goes for emergencies such as a stall during takeoff or landing. I’m glad I practiced stalls during training and if they were not required I’d hope my instructor would have taught them anyhow. Another thought, an off airport landing is better achieved wings level and stall training has you do just that so even if you don’t fully recover having wings level could change your odds for survival.

    • TIDEferrari racing,tom davis,jr.
      TIDEferrari racing,tom davis,jr. says:

      Terrific, Stall training & ALL basic training is not a waste of time. The more hands on seat of the pants traning the better. Pilot since 1962,[mostly puddle jumpers,] 2700 + hours.My Dad; Tom,Sr. OX-5 member RCAF,RAF, [1939-1942] U.S.Navy pilot 1942-1946. Mary Gaffney gave me ny commercial check ride around 1964 in a tail dragger. Racing historic sportscars & hydroplanes the last 35 years go back to flying this winter in Palm Beach area in a antique.

      • rebecca cummings
        rebecca cummings says:

        Exact comment, Basic training keeps many low time pilots alive. One never knows when one mant have to land in the Hudson river. Bet capt. Shey had lots of terrific basic training! Remember, ladies that fly upside down will have a “crack-up.”

  4. Mike B
    Mike B says:

    I don’t believe that it is a waste of time. As stated above, not only are we teaching proper recovery technique, more importantly we are teaching (or should be) stall recognition. This includes not only actual aircraft handling characteristics, but emphasizing the situations that one can find themselves in that lead to such aircraft performance. Another training maneuver that is often overlooked for its importance, is Steep Turns. Of course we’re looking for altitude control, but many instructors overlook another reason for the maneuver….and that is to show how increased load factor feels as the bank is increased. Many times the student is taught to trim in this maneuver, and I’m guilty of this myself; however, by trimming we are eliminating the feel of the increased load. This deprives the pilot of a big warning sign of a potential stall.

    Blue skies and tailwinds!

  5. SteelBreeze
    SteelBreeze says:

    Definitely not a waste of time. Not only is recovering from approach & departure stalls a great confidence booster, behind the scenes you’re learning how to do multiple things at once while learning that ‘seat of the pants’ feel for what is going on. Add to that the distraction of the stall horn and the slight fear level, and you end up just reacting instinctively, which is what really needs to happen. Reading about handling stalls, or being taught that you should learn to fly w/o stalling is like learning to drive and being taught you should never lock the brakes. It’s going to happen eventually so you might as well know what it feels like, which will better your odds of avoiding the situation in the first place.

  6. CFIChuck
    CFIChuck says:

    I’ll have to disagree with the prevailing wisdom here. I think stall training is a hold-over from the World War II mindset and isn’t worth much. We don’t practice crash landing, after all–we simply learn not to do it. Same for stalls–there is no reason to ever stall, period, and practicing it is just checking the box. If you ever stall for real, it’s too late, you won’t recover. It’s fine (and important) to learn what scenarios might make you susceptible to a stall, and how to avoid one. But actually going to 3000 ft. and feeling the break? A bad investment. I’d rather teach better decision-making, better pre-flight planning and better airspeed control through all phases of flight.

    • Bill Campbell
      Bill Campbell says:

      My first comment is that I believe in stall training and stall recovery. It is not an arcane WWII exercise. Have the laws of physics and aerodynamics changed since WWII? All of us risk stalls on final if the wind shear takes a mere 15 kts away from our forward speed or an engine sputters. The instantaneous assessment of the situation and appropriate corrective action is all that is between you and death for your passengers.
      As far as not practicing crashes, we do it at every landing. My father, an Air Force pilot who retired in 1962, always taught me that flying is “The art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing” Stall recovery is a major part of the “missing”.

    • David Heberling
      David Heberling says:

      I cannot believe you feel this way. What the statistics do not tell us is how many pilots get themselves out of the first indications of a stall correctly. In your mind, no knowledge of the slow side of the airspeed indicator is good? If that was true, no one would have any idea they were entering into a pre-stall condition or any idea how to recover from a full stall.

      Aerodynamics has not changed since WWII. So, why was it necessary to teach WWII pilots about stall recovery, but it is not necessary now? Pilots get into trouble at the slow end of the performance envelope for a number of reasons. None of them look much like we practice them at altitude. We do a disservice to students telling them that airplanes stall at any airspeed and any attitude. While the preceding statement is true, it lacks context. Where will accelerated stalls most likely occur? In maneuvering flight. This is particularly true in the traffic pattern. Here we are dividing our attention between flying the airplane and keeping track of traffic around us, and our relative position to the runway. This last one is of particular relevance since we are trying to align with a feature on the ground (the runway) from our base leg to final turn. This descending turn can turn ugly if the pilot does not observe a couple of simple rules: 1. Never use more than 30 degrees of bank in the pattern. 2. If your turn to final is going to carry you wide, do not tighten the turn – go around. It is good practice, going around, as we do not practice it hardly at all and pilots continue to come to grief in this maneuver as well. Or is that a wast of time too?

    • NewGuy01
      NewGuy01 says:

      “If you ever stall for real, it’s too late, you won’t recover”. Your a CFI? Ok well, I have stalled and it happened at night. The only thing that saved me was my stall training. the training the is designed to familiarize a pilot with the feel of a stall. It works. It also positions the student to start thinking about how to not get into stall situations. So you half write. Good luck.

    • Dave Oberg
      Dave Oberg says:

      From CFIChuck’s comments, it appears that he does not really use his aircraft’s full capabilities. If he did, he’d know that there are times he had better be able to feel what his airplane is doing rather than just monitoring his airspeed indicator and keeping it in the green. I was taught early on to keep my head outside the cockpit and to learn what the aircraft I was flying was doing by feeling and listening. You need to know what the aircraft feels and sounds like during an imminent stall so you can recognize it immediately and react to correct the situation. This training has stood me in good stead throughout thousands of hours of low-level surveys and horsing loaded floatplanes in and out of short ponds in Alaska. Without that training I probably wouldn’t be around to write this. And yes, Chuck, I have stalled at low level, and it was NOT too late.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      CFIChuck, You are a stall/spin accident waiting to happen in my opinion. If you don’t do stalls, how in the world will you ever know what the airplane feels like when it is approaching a stall? Airplanes don’t slways stall at the same indicated airspeed, but you should know that since you have CFI in your name.

      • CFIChuck
        CFIChuck says:

        I’ll stand by my statement. If you want to get really good at short field approaches, and learn to fly slow, then go practice that. Practicing a stall break at 3,000 feet won’t help you. I’ve flown into plenty of really tight strips in my thousands of hours, and precise airspeed control is essential. So is good stick and rudder feel. But stall training the way we do it now just doesn’t help either of those issues. I don’t buy it. And believe me, I’m no 200-hour glass cockpit snob. I love taildraggers and seat of the pants flying.

        • Richard Warner
          Richard Warner says:

          If you are truly a CFI, I’m glad you weren’t my flight instructor. Learning what an approaching stall feels like and how to stop it before the airplane flips over on its back and drills a hole in the ground with you in it is the purpose of stall training. I also love tail draggers and seat of the pants flying and have been doing it safely for 58 years. I also flew airline, and believe it or not, we did approach to stalls, stalls, and stall recovery there too.

        • KCCFI
          KCCFI says:

          I too am a CFI with 30 years of flight experience. Stall training is an essential part of teaching students how to avoid getting themselves into a serious situation. Shame on you if you haven’t prepared your students for that moment when they have to immediately react, and save their on life! You are wrong….

      • Ray
        Ray says:

        Not sure I have a strong opinion, but while it might be a good thing to teach so that a student knows the feeling of an incipient stall (seems to me older airplanes give more “feel” warning in the ailerons than newer airplanes which might support those who think it was more important in the past). On the other hand, conveying the thought that anyone can recover from an approach or departure stall at 200 or 300 feet has not looked at their altimeter during practice (or accident reports) and could be getting a false sense of security because they can execute a crisp recovery at several thousand feet. My view is most accidents occur from overconfidence and inattention, not lack of fundamental flying skills.

    • Scott
      Scott says:

      I personally disagree that there is “no reason to ever stall, period”. I stall my plane during every landing. I have always owned taildraggers and have relatively low time in tricycle geared airplanes. I very seldom do wheel landings…

    • Alfonso Lebron-Berges
      Alfonso Lebron-Berges says:

      I disagree now.

      No doubt, prevention is the best course to follow, but unfortunately nothing goes perfect all the way. Steve Kittel post shows that.

      Better be prepared for prevention as well as for fixing mistakes/errors when they happen.

    • Billy
      Billy says:

      I have no idea what you’re talking about. You ain’t a makin’ no sense Chuck. Nothing wrong with the things you mention at the end of your post. Very important. I, myself, feel much more confident having dealt with stalls at altitude for practice. I know what they feel like when they’re coming, and can in an instant stop them, especially before they turn into a spin. It is really crappy flying, as is most slow flight training, really crummy, especially forcing a power on stall. Glad I did it though. Good luck to you!

    • Donald S. Foreback
      Donald S. Foreback says:

      Well, Chuck…I feel sorry for your students. If you never teach them how to recover from a stall or spin, you have basically doomed them to crash if one of those scenarios occurs. I for one, welcome stall and spin recovery training, and will make it a part of my semi-annual re-training. While I know it isn’t needed, annual or semi-annual re-training keeps one current on different instrument configurations, as well as any new developments in aircraft control methodology. I think CFI’s should have a base curriculum mandated by the FAA that includes stall/spin recovery methods. As has been stated, the time to figure those out is when you have an instructor sitting right seat who can walk you through the process so that the muscle memory can be developed…not when one is spinning out of control, or breaking in a stall. If you were my instructor, Chuck…I would fire you and find another. Just Sayin’.

    • SkipBraden
      SkipBraden says:

      I flew enough in the Alaska bush to learn that any training u can get to show u how to extract the max performance from ur A/C is beneficial and potentially a life saver – this may not necessarily apply to flying off prepared runways with attending conditions – the morre u know/understand ur equipment the better/safer u will be. The “seat of ur pants” is one of the best gauges u can have.

    • Viktor Rothe
      Viktor Rothe says:

      Every landing should be executed as close as possible to the slowest airspeed. That saves tires and brakes. The more you practice flying at or close to stall speed the better will grease your aircraft in. If you can’t fly at stall speed for at least half a minute you should instantly look for a flight instructor to get the training.

  7. Michael David
    Michael David says:

    The key is your bank angle, for as you know as the bank angle increases, stall speed increases. A slow speeds, make you bank angles minimal as possible!

  8. Joseph Chambers
    Joseph Chambers says:

    As a student pilot I think Stall training is worth while for more than just the obvious. Very few people get outside their comfort zone (smartly so in an airplane), which stall training is for most people. You don’t know how you will react the first time you do a stall (especially a full power on stall). You need to know that you can calmly react when you get outside of normal flight parameters. The first stall is quite a ride for someone that hasn’t been raised on airplanes.

    You learn to respect but not fear the edge of the flight envelope, the behavior of the plane, and the knee-jerk reaction to push forward when you feel the plane start to stall. To me stall training was much more than just pulling back until I stalled and putting to practice what I had learned. You should also recognize the approaching stall w/o the instruments, which seems to be a lacking skill.

  9. ConcernedPilot
    ConcernedPilot says:

    If you are learning to fly an aircraft and you don’t ever teach a student the capabilities of the aircraft then you are setting them up for failure. Flying is NEVER going to be an ideal situation every time. When you get into more advanced situations and bush flying you often fly right at stall speed. THERE IS NO WAY you can teach a student slow flight without teaching them what happens if they go outside that envelope. One thing that comes to mind for me was being taught at the buffet you recover. One of my most memorable lessons was from an instructor in a 172 that said don’t recover at the buffet, wait for it to break. I said “What break?”….WELL LET ME TELL YOU IT BROKE, I had a face full of ground in the window and it scared the sh*t out of me! So not only do I learn the signs of a stall and recovery, but I learn that BAD things happen if you don’t remedy the situation immediately. You need to make sure you teach students the characteristics of the airplane, including the bad ones.

  10. Andrew Underwood
    Andrew Underwood says:

    I can see points for an against. On one hand, I agree with CFIChuck – teach good decision making and the scenarios that might get yourself into such a situation.

    However, as one contributor already posted, it’s important to teach the recovery because flyin isn’t, and most likely never will be, ideal. Stuff is still going to happen. Knowing what to do in that instant where you realize you’re in a stall, or about to enter one, greatly increases the odds you won’t become another statistic.

  11. Tom of Elgin
    Tom of Elgin says:

    In addition to practicing stalls at altitude, students should also learn to maintain the full-stall condition and learn how to ride it. I was afraid of stalls for the longest time. Then, a very savvy CFI had me enter a stall in a 172 and hold it. “Now,” he asked, “If you were flying in IFR conditions and lost your engine and electricity on a stormy night, you could ride this plane to the ground.” Forward speed was 40 knots (46 mph) and the headwinds were about 15. I’d have hit the ground at about 600 fpm and probably bent the gear a bit. But I also could have hit an obstacle and survived. I thanked him for a lesson that may yet save my life one day.

    • Dick Collins
      Dick Collins says:

      So far, this is interesting and mostly good stuff. I will tell Tom of Elgin that his stormy night ride down at 600 fpm would likely end in disaster, Why? When the airplane descended below a couple of hundred feet, the headwind would vanish, the nose would pitch down, and the vertical speed at impact would be off the chart. To this point, only one person mentioned the word “spin” and that is the elephant in the room. If, as one person said, we need to teach them everything about the airplane, that would have to include spins. A low speed loss of control results in the beginning of a spin entry. It never fully develops because of the low altitude but, given the chance, it would. So the follow-on question for all who like stall training would be about expanding that to include spin training? I have never thought so but I have always thought that every pilot should see a spin demonstration and learn to recover. If the airplane spins while you are practicing stalls, the recovery is yours alone unless of course you are flying a Cirrus and are high enough for the chute to work.

      • Joseph Chambers
        Joseph Chambers says:

        I think spin training should be required for IFR and beyond. Since many IFR and commercial pilots are also CFI then they have had spin training.

        I do believe there is benefit to simulator training and I have induced spins on a desktop simulator (with rudder pedals) and recovered many times, except for disorientation it is my opinion that it teaches you the needed skills to recover from a spin. The one thing it doesn’t reproduce well is slow flight.

        Totally different than flight training but I believe a valid point. I was taught to drive by someone that required you to spin out the car in a controlled environment, that knowledge has saved me paint if not more at least once. I think the roads would be much safer if driver’s ed included hydroplaning, spinning out/skidding, and emergency breaking (straight and in a turn) i.e. racing 101.

        So if you are going to learn to fly,drive,skydive or anything else that can kill you and dangerous aspects can be taught with enough safety margin they should be, it may save your life.

        • Nathan Wang
          Nathan Wang says:

          I think that Spin training should be introduced at the beginning of one’s start of ppl Training, since if they do not have experience in spins, then they would not have been able to recover correctly in an event of a spin. I am a low time student pilot, of only 8.8 hours, and i requested as much training as possible, including spins and spirals. i don’t get what the point is, of not teaching every student what happens to an aircraft in different conditions if they want to be prepared.

      • Tim Howard
        Tim Howard says:

        I agree with what Richard said about spin training, here in Canada a student pilot must be able to demonstrate spin recovery as one of the items pre-solo, and dagain demonstrate spin recovery on a commercial flight test.
        Spins scared me initially, but I’m glad I learnt to put an aircraft into / and OUT of a spin( partial and fully developed)

      • Kenn Hinick
        Kenn Hinick says:

        Spin training as well as stall training are tools that can make every pilot a safer pilot. The recovery from either is not the main purpose of the training but to understand how each comes about within the flight envelope. By knowing how an action or series of actions will produce a spin or stall we can learn what not to do to put ourselfs into a spin or stall condition. I am sure we all have done accelerated stalls which is basically a spin that has not yet developed. There are power on (Takeoff), power off (Landing), accelerated (Turning), and cross control (Slipping)stalls and different recoveries for each. The best recovery from a stall is learning what produces it and learning not to put your aircraft into the that attitude and airspeed.

  12. Tim Harward
    Tim Harward says:

    I agree with @ZaneJobe on this. “The point of stall training is to recognize the symptoms before they get bad enough to matter.” I don’t even know why there is a debate about this! Any training is good training! A good pilot is always learning!

  13. George Grierson
    George Grierson says:

    Stall training was never a wasted effort on me (as well as incipient spins – I was trained here in Canada). I have always appreciated getting to know the aircraft (in my case it was Cessna 150’s and 152’s) and their characteristics.

    • Des
      Des says:

      George ..I was trained in South Africa by a WW2 instructor ….. Paul Plumstead … he did the same training and on two occasions it save my life by being able to recognise and recover from the situations.

  14. Peter Tracy
    Peter Tracy says:

    “Most inadvertant stalls that result in serious accidents occur at an altitude that is too low for recovery” tells us only that people still stall airplanes at low altitude and have serious accidents–nothing more. It tells us nothing about how many accidents stall training prevents, or does not prevent. At best, it tells us that “at altitude” stall training is not 100% effective. But, of course, it is a human system and will never be 100% effective.

    Having said that, I instructed for many years and did stall training at altitude. I lter saw all of my students recover from potential stall situations at low altitude and I believe that they did so because they learned about stalls at altitude.

    I suppose that we could do an experiment where we teach some students stalls at altitude and not teach others and see what the effect of each has upon serious accidents. But this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Our job is to keep our students safe.

    We teach out students stalls “at altitude” because it is a safe way to teach stalls and stall recovery. Certainly, many students learn and many accidents and deaths are avoided because of that training. That such training is not 100% effective speaks less to the propriety of such training as to the fact that humans will always make mistakes.

  15. Barry Orlando
    Barry Orlando says:

    I think it’s a worth while investment – but I also think that showing people how to keep the plane from running out of fuel and NOT flying into clouds / bad weather will save far more lives. It also depends on what you are training on. With a Cirrus – don’t bother – with a Cessna sure. Watching SPEED and ALTITUDE solves many GA issues and training that focuses on those aspects is probably the most valuable and along with how to land in a crosswind as the next one I would highly recommend.

    • Nathan Wang
      Nathan Wang says:

      “With a Cirrus – don’t bother – with a Cessna sure.” i think that that is a bad flying attitude, as sometimes the cirrus chute may fail, and you would be facing a scary ride down to the earth if you do not know how to recover. we should always be prepared, expect the un-expected.

  16. ginny wilken
    ginny wilken says:

    Gosh, no, not a waste! You have to be able to “swim” in the air, familiar with both the presence and absence of lift, and how to use it. There is no better way to put confidence in all your flying than to be acquainted with how the air works. Flying stalled, as the other guy illustrated, is still flying. And, about fluttering all the way to the ground, assuming he broke out at all, he could have unstalled the plane and landed with a controlled flare somewhere, as opposed to plonking it in at 600fpm. And yes, seat of pants awareness, as opposed to instruments alone, is necessary. I have never understood why people want an AoA indicator.

    • Dick Collins
      Dick Collins says:

      Most general aviation pilots fly without an AoA system but all successful pilots have a constant awareness of the angle of attack and know when it is getting close to a critical value.

      • Bob Shlafer
        Bob Shlafer says:

        Agreed …. I’d bring back spin-recovery training as well. Great confidence builder if nothing else. :)

        If you’re going to learn flying … learn flying ….. including “recoveries”.

  17. J. Albertson
    J. Albertson says:

    Why would it be a waste of time? It’s not a waste of time to learn to drive in a parking lot even though most driving is done on a road. You learn to do dangerous things in a controlled environment that is relatively free of danger.

  18. Don Trosky
    Don Trosky says:

    I feel it can be a waste of time though I got some of my best training from the MS Flight Sim where if you crash you just reset and go on… Before I soloed I was slow on approach and spun in (on the sim)…. The first time I brushed it off but the second time I realized the sim was telling me something (keep the airspeed up). It was worth every penny I spent on the sim for that alone. I fly my sim whenever I can not fly and with other software I am training for my instrument rateing. I believe it gives me a real leg up especially given that you must turn off your body indicators and just fly the plane.

  19. Dick Merrill
    Dick Merrill says:

    I think it is a necessary part of training. Stalling is the endpoint of flight’s speed envelope and exploring it allows pilots to be comfortable in all speed ranges. Fear of stalling often results in pilots flying too fast in the pattern or on approach as well as poor speed control in other flight regimes.

    You will never fully understand flight without learning stall behavior and recovery.

    • Dick Collins
      Dick Collins says:

      Stalling is the endpoint of the slow side of the envelope. Certainly we don’t teach pilots to mess with the high speed or g-load limits of the envelope. I was always more comfortable somwhere away from the edges of the envelops.

      • David Heberling
        David Heberling says:

        Unfortunately, we have to land at some time. Landing requires that we fly very close to the endpoint of the slow side of the envelope. Surely you do not advocate flying the airplane onto the runway at higher speed just to avoid the endpoint of the slow side? This would increase the risk of running off the end of the runway, or landing on the nose wheel. We also have to take off, where we start at zero airspeed. We have to transition through the endpoint of the slow side of the envelope. If it is a short field and/or a field with an obstacle, we have to climb out at Vx which is not very far from the slow side limit. Ad to that density altitude effects on performance where the endpoint of the slow side of envelope creeps upward. Yes, the goal is to avoid the endpoint of the slow side of the envelope, but we dance very close to it on every take off and landing.

  20. Ben Gibbs
    Ben Gibbs says:

    Not a waste of time! I suggest to students that whenever checking out a new aircraft, whether a single or twin, stalls in both landing and cruise configurations should be included. Only in that manner can one determine best approach and landing speeds, which should approximate 1.3 VSO in most aircraft.

  21. Jerry Orsbun
    Jerry Orsbun says:

    Stalls are a very important part of your training. So you can react immediatly to a stall warning. Without it couldn’t you imagine how many more accidents there would be. The only time I have found stall warnings to be a good thing is 12 inches or less above the runway while landing.

  22. Fred
    Fred says:

    For those of you that think it’s a waste of time, read the Colgan Air crash report near Buffalo and the Air France off the coast of Brazil. When the airspeed got low, both captains pulled back instead of pushing down on the controls. Today’s airline pilots rarely fly their planes,instead most of the flying is done by the auto pilot..

  23. Mike
    Mike says:

    I’m an advocate for the training as well as bi-annual review refreshers on it. Heck, it wouldn’t hurt to take a qualified CFI out every once in a while to go practice in your specific aircraft (I own and love knowing my specific aircraft).

    I was coming out of Atlanta as recently as couple weeks ago, with topped off fuel and shortest, upslope runway out of PDK. So climbing with the tall buildings and towers ahead I was at an angle where the stall horn was occasionally beeping. If you are competent with steep climbs and manage the throttle console/MP-RMP Boost (high performance turbo), angle of attack, and know your plane’s specific flight characteristic, its a totally managed situation. If you are fully sensitive to the stall horn and any shutter or aerodynamic response characteristics, you have a flight management situation rather than a serious risk problem. Go practice routinely and become a skilled pilot.

  24. Jerry
    Jerry says:

    I’m in favor of more practice, more frequent flight reviews and better proficiency. But I’m with CFIChuck for the most part–that doesn’t necessarily mean the standard stall training helps. The Colgan crash is a great example, here. Sure they stalled, but would some more practice at 4000AGL in good VFR have translated to a dark night in and out of IMC? I’m not sure it would. Better overall airspeed awareness and just discipline in general would have worked.

  25. Art Pauly
    Art Pauly says:

    I don’t think it’s a waste of time. I learned to fly in the late 60’s and earned my license in 1970. I learned stalls and spins in an Aeronca Chief. I think it taught me to be “one with the airplane”. It helped me to be a “pilot” not someone who just drives an airplane around the sky. I think a previous comment called it being a “skilled pilot”. It’s like the difference between playing an instrument and being a musician. I learned how to command the airplane and control it not just ride along and direct it. Well that’s my $.2.

  26. frank
    frank says:

    stall trainingg has been and will always be a matter of protocal in my trainging, both to conquer the fear of a stall, and, at altitude, have much fun with stalls

    • Nathan Wang
      Nathan Wang says:

      i agree, i’m only an 8.8 hour student, with 17 landings, but after my first stall, i was absolutely hooked to stall practices and other stall-related flight training. I loved stalling the plane at altitude and seeing what happens to the plane. i am kinda the opposite to all other students, as many people would be afraid of stalling the plane during practice, but i think that stalls, spins, and spirals are the best part of training.

  27. frank
    frank says:

    stall trainingg has been and will always be a matter of protocal in my training, both to conquer the fear of a stall, and, at altitude, have much fun with stalls

  28. frank
    frank says:

    stall training has been and will always be a matter of protocal in my training, both to conquer the fear of a stall, and, at altitude, have much fun with stalls

  29. Peter Tracy
    Peter Tracy says:

    The conventional wisdom is that we teach stalls to make our students comfortable with them. I think that this is simply not the case. We teach our students that if a stall is not handled correctly that “very bad things can happen.” So we actually teach our students (at least the early private ones) to do two things:
    1. Fear stalls–so that they get uncomfortable when they get near one or in one, and;
    2. React properly to avoid stalls and to recover from stalls so that “very bad things don’t happen.”
    I have met very few students/early private pilots that like stalls. Certainly there are some. But most early private pilots simply avoid stalls at all costs. That is the reason that pilots are so rusty on stalls when the flight review comes around. And that is the reason that the stall is something that is frequently reviewed in flight reviews.
    Just my $0.02.

    • David Gaeddert
      David Gaeddert says:

      This student–loves stall horn & stall training. “Don’t stall close to ground. Better 2′ above runway than 50′. “. Come to work with me to see real danger. I enjoy pushing the edge–to not go over when it counts.

    • Des
      Des says:

      Peter you have a point ..I even know a few students who quited flying training just because of the fear of a stall or spin. There are a few who like doing a stall or spin (sometimes to boost there ego) but even so ..I believe it is a MUST to have the training.It can do no harm …just make you a better safer pilot!!

  30. David Heberling
    David Heberling says:

    No, stall training in an of itself is not a waste. You still need to be trained to recognize a stall and taught how to recover from it. However, when people end up stalling close to the ground (1,000 feet AGL or less), ground rush becomes a big factor in how recovery is initiated. For some people, it blows away all they learned about stalls and recovery from them. All they want to do is defy physics and climb away from the ground by pulling back on the stick as hard as they can. I saw this for myself when I took some advanced students and did stalls at 1,000 feet AGL. It amazed me when some of them continued to haul back on the yoke when the nose broke and the windshield was filled with ground rushing towards us. I am a big guy and was confident that no student could over power me. I had to forcefully push the nose down to begin the recovery. Once it became clear that there is only one way to recover no matter where you are, they were fine. One way to help students get a better understanding of stall recoveries might be to load the aircraft to an aft CG and then do stalls and recoveries. I think students will find it is much easier to get the nose to a high angle of attack with an aft CG. This seems to be a factor in many stall/spin accidents. We also do not practice stalls from a steep descending turn where we are trying to line up on a feature on the ground such as a roadway. This is where people run into trouble when turning base to final. The stall/spin on take off and initial climb is not properly taught. We always used a maximum of 30 degrees of bank. There really is not much acceleration in stall speed at 30 degrees of bank, but at 60 degrees, there surly is. However, at 60 degrees of bank, the break can be sudden and violent. Also with full power the pitch attitude is so high prior to the stall you cannot see the horizon anymore. You have to look to the side of the nose to see how high the pitch attitude is. So, I definitely see where stall training could be improved. Yes, I agree with one of the post above that even the big boys need training to remind them what a stall is. I am one of them.

    • Des
      Des says:

      David I agree wholeheartedly with you …I had such an experience soon after getting my PPL …in a steep turn onto finals it just broke away …if it was not for the training I was given I would have not been here to share my experience with others.

  31. Steve Gruben
    Steve Gruben says:

    The key word was inadvertent – not much point to practicing a response to an event that will not remedy the situation – that is insufficient altitude to recover. Yes, you may very well recognize a stall is ocurring – but your training will not change the laws of nature – too close to the ground is too close to the ground.

  32. J C Smith
    J C Smith says:

    Stall practice is definitely not a waste of time. The whole purpose of the practice is so you “feel” the immanent stall and take action to prevent the stall from happening.

  33. Spencer Mamber
    Spencer Mamber says:

    This is almost a silly question. As a student, I found it difficult to relate to the practiced stall series, at altitude, to any kind of “real world” experienced in the pattern. As an “old pilot” the first thing I like to do in a new aircraft type, not previously flown, is to do a stall series and steep turns(at altitude), so the airplane can “talk to me.” God willing, it’s not a recovery procedure in the pattern, but an exercise in learning the airplane’s performance characteristics in its low end of the speed scale. A recent high profile aircraft tragedy, drove these skill sets back to the front page.

    • Des
      Des says:

      Very true words Spencer … that was always my modus operandi when flying a new type of aircraft …with the same idea in mind as you have.

  34. Glen
    Glen says:

    Stall training is not a waste. However, if you want the needed skills for the emergency situation, then “unexpected” stall training is more important. Imagine, if it were possible for an instructor to have a student practice slow flight at altitude, and could quickly induce a stall without warning. This would teach the student to react instantly.

  35. RO Mullins
    RO Mullins says:

    Stall training is not a waste of time. The purpose of stall training is to recognise the warning signs of an approach to stall so that the stall may be avoided. And to recover just in case you ignore the warning signs. I think it has a lot to do with how stalls are taught. We don’t practice stalls to learn how to stall, we practice stalls to learn to keep from stalling.

  36. David Heberling
    David Heberling says:

    Who ever raised this question, have you read these responses? I do not think there is any disagreement here about the importance of stall training. Hence, there is no debate. Maybe a better question would be how to keep pilots from killing themselves in stall/spin accidents. No whole airplane parachute will save them, they are too low. You never read about the pilots who saved themselves, only those who died.

    • Dick Collins
      Dick Collins says:

      Sounds like a debate to me. I guess the way to keep pilots from killing themselves in stall/spin accidents is to teach the to fly in a manner that completely avoids stalls. Most of the pilots who saved themselves will tell you about it over a beverage but no, it does not make the statistics.

  37. M. Light (old CFI)
    M. Light (old CFI) says:

    Stalls have always been a part of primary training – but too many CFI’s tend to let students cultivate a fear of them and the consequences – and they inadvertently let the new pilot get fixated on airspeed indicator etc. I had two students who had bought airplanes and had a few hours dual from a buddy who was not CFI (not the same person either) – when I got them they were petrified of stalls already. It took a while to undo the mental part but BOTH did get their license and subsequently had engine failures with forced landings and came back to tell me that they credited me for saving their lives etc. (and I wasn’t even there when it happened)but they remembered what I had taught them. – what can I say! Stall awareness training probably did help save their lives. I don’t think either of them would say it was a waste of time.

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      I have only had three CFI’s. So I don’t know what is common practice in terms of your point on cultivating fear. I do know that my two younger, recent training CFI’s haven’t shown anywhere near what my original CFI did to earn my private. Could be a higher first hurdle bar to jump, or old timer versus newer, I don’t know. But when I originally trained we basically learned to slow stall to the point you danced the peddles and kept nose up control even as the aircraft backslid. One of my recent younger CFI’s thought that a little excessive in skill tuning but had no problem doing slow flight to as close to zero ground speed as possible flying into the wind at about 4000 AGL. With those little 172’s it isn’t hard to hold them at 35 or below with little wind and still not break sideways without complete control. It was a little tougher in a Grumman Trainer or Tiger but they are also much more responsive planes with better force ratings too. The Arrow IV or Bonanza A-36 seem to feel more like the Grumman in responsiveness but you really, really have to try hard to work them into a stall that tips out.

      That said, the Arrow IV T-tail needs about 5 NM/Hr faster landing speed and if you also are then slowing to settle through ground effect in that low wing with much flaps you can pop back up and then ‘settle stall’. As someone noted earlier it is great to hear the horn at 12 inches but not at 12 feet thank you!

      • Nathan Wang
        Nathan Wang says:

        i’ve had a demo flight someone who was a Private pilot getting some recurrent training. there, i have realized the importance of slow flight training and stall training, and get good at it. the pilot was practicing slow flight, with a tail wind of around 20 kts at 5000 feet agl, in a cessna 172sp. the configuration of the plane was clean, and he was doing slow flight with an airspeed of 35, which is 5kts below the dirty stall speed. i realized that good experience in slow flight can allow you to do more things in an airplane and explore the limits.

    • Nathan Wang
      Nathan Wang says:

      really? i’m a low time student with 8.8 hours, and i have only done stalls during my 6th hour. i actually think that stalls are really fun to do, and i think that stall practices are the best part of training. i have only done like about 5 stalls, and i can already recover well enough that i can level off at 250 feet below the stall point. i love doing stalls, and pushing the lower limit of the airplane, not to mention i’m also only 14, the youngest student in my flight school, where i started at age 13.

  38. Steve Giannotta
    Steve Giannotta says:

    As a 45 hour student, I have little credibility in regards to the topic, so I will add the thoughts of my CFI. Repetitive stall exercizes, in the absence of other slow flight maneuvers is probably not valuable. The ability to have a strong feeling for the maneuverability of the plane at or near stall speed may be effective in avoiding the low altitude stall.

  39. John H Allen
    John H Allen says:

    To me, there is no training that is a waste of time. All training causes awareness which shoulod reduce incidents.

  40. Steve Phoenix
    Steve Phoenix says:

    I suppose if it’s possible that an airplane can stall, they ought to at least be demonstrated. But to practice stall proficiency at altitude is a waste of time and money. Low altitude demonstration in a simulator would be more valuable. Of course, if a person is going to perform aerobatics, stall and spin proficiency is a must.

    I doubt that most of the hot shot pilots out there can drift a car or a motorcycle through a fast sweeper, but they still drive. It’s easier to just post a safe corner speed alongside the road and then adhere to that.

  41. Mike Arman
    Mike Arman says:

    Yes, absolutely continue stall training!! Even hero-pilots are not 1,000% sharp 1,000% of the time, even we screw up a little now and again. An airplane can bite even an experienced pilot. If we didn’t teach stalls and how to get un-stalled, the first time someone stalled an airplane they would just sit there dumbly as in “Oh ****, what do I do now?” and do exactly the wrong thing to try to fix it (pull back!) – crunch.

  42. Mike Bragg
    Mike Bragg says:

    Stall training isn’t just about learning to recover; it’s about learning to recognize an impending stall and correct proactively. In fact, isn’t understanding the stall a pretty important part of mastering the landing flare? My first CFI frankly scared me…on purpose…with my first stall. My second CFI understood the need for the training, explained it well, and helped me learn to master it. Still a student, still learning…but much more confident because of the way stall training was presented the second time around.

  43. James Reed
    James Reed says:

    I believe stall training is worthwhile. As a new VFR pilot flying a Cherokee 6 with passengers, I was trying to get about the clouds in a trip from Florida to Georgia. The clouds seems to get closer before I got higher, so I pulled back on the yoke. I was at Vx, watching the cloud, and I unconsciously pulled back further on the yoke as I looked outside. The stall horn went off. I pushed forward on the yoke without thinking, then realized I would go into the cloud. I went into the cloud briefly, my passengers never knew the danger, but it took me another half hour for the adrenalin rush to stop. Without the stall training, I would have taken too much time to figure out what to do. I just did what I had been trained to do. Now, 3000 hours later and flying a Baron 58, I still practice stalls.

  44. Mark C.
    Mark C. says:

    As a current student, my first reaction was to say that stall training isn’t of much value. I’ve done stall and spin training, and kind of wondered what the point was. However, as I thought about it, I realized that it’s about learning how to control the airplane. Stalls teach use of the rudder and a feel for what the airplane needs. I especially think I learned a lot from doing deep stalls, or the “falling leaf” as it’s called. Surprisingly, I don’t mind doing that maneuver as much as I mind just plain stalls, power off or power on. True, you may not have time to recover from a real stall close to the ground, but learning the feel and the muscle memory of the corrections is important. I’ve come close a couple times to stalling turning base to final, and I felt it before the horn went off and corrected, and now I remind myself each time to be aware of keeping the nose down even with everything else that’s happening. I may never learn to like practicing stalls, but I’ll keep doing it even after I’m no longer compelled to, because I believe it makes me a better pilot.

  45. John H Allen
    John H Allen says:

    It boils down to “common sense”. All training starts with “hands on” which has to be proven with the all famous check ride. Then comes the auto pilot, which I feel eases up the fatigue factor for pilots on long flights giving them the edge they need for approaches and landings. Again, if common sense prevails, there should be no problem with the assistance (not dependence)of the auto pilot.

  46. Mel C
    Mel C says:

    After completing my private check ride, I had not performed any stalls until taking my BFR a few months ago. I have always maintained an accute awareness of my airspeed, particularly during takeoffs and approach and landing phases. I had a complete fear of stalls. For my BFR, the CFII that I was flying with offered to incorporate some advanced stall and spin training. Although apprehensive, I agreed, and what a great lesson it was!! I have since started instrument training and am actually looking forward to stalls under the hood. I’ve come to the realization that stalls cannot be practiced enough, and we are all safer pilots for having a comfort level in avoiding, recognizing, and recovering from stalls.

  47. Dean
    Dean says:

    I don’t think it is a waste of time. I believe the stall training I received from my CFI was brilliant. It showed me to be aware of what could happen if I didn’t know the feeling of a stall. My first power on stall nearly resulted in a spin and that really did teach me to watch out for the characteristics of a stall. And lets be honest – it scared the cr*p out of me!

  48. Chuck Simmons
    Chuck Simmons says:

    Stall awareness training has and always should be included in flight training. Slow flight and the approach to stall regime teaches us to recognize the onset of an impending stall. If you recognize what is happening then you can correct for it. I do not know the number of deaths attributed to stalling an aircraft close to the ground but is too many. I think it would be a mistake not to teach stall recognition and stall recovery.

    • Des
      Des says: have it all in a nutshell ..I agree with you …can’t believe there a still a few who disagree ..maybe the are scared of stalls and spins.

  49. John Laming
    John Laming says:

    Stall recovery training is essential of course. However with most LSA it is almost impossible to induce a wing drop in a stall because these aircraft are designed to have benign stall characteristics. If the aircraft does not drop a wing in s stall I do not agree that a wing drop should then be forced by adopting a grossly over-controlling maneuver such as pulling the nose up extremely high then kicking in rudder to force an artificial wing drop. In an LSA this can easily overstress the aircraft.

  50. David Heberling
    David Heberling says:

    If we really want to change how education about the slow side of the envelope is conducted we have to talk about what we are trying to accomplish. First of all, where are these stall/spin accidents most likely to occur? In maneuvering flight close to the ground. What do we mean by maneuvering? Turning, climbing, and descending and some combinations thereof. Where is this type of flying most prevalent? In the traffic pattern. It is kind of hard to avoid the traffic pattern if we ever intend to take off or land. We have to do a better job of educating the pilot population about the high risk areas of the traffic pattern. If we never tried to take off overloaded and/or in the heat of the day at high density altitude we would make a big dent in stall/spin accidents. If we could get pilots to not make descending turns from base to final where the angle of bank is increased in an attempt to not blow through the final approach course we would make an even bigger dent in the accident statistics. We also have to make the go around just another tool in the tool box of flight safety.

    • Dick Collins
      Dick Collins says:

      Good comment, Dave. I like the idea of teaching pilots to never ever exceed 30 degrees of bank below 3,000 feet.

      • JLE
        JLE says:

        Dick, Igenerally agree with you, but ground reference maneuvers required by the PTS involve turns, usually more than 30 degrees, at pattern altitudes.

      • JLE
        JLE says:

        Dick, I generally agree with you, but the PTS requires turns-around-a-point at pattern altitude and turns “not exceeding” 45 degree bank.

  51. David Thompson
    David Thompson says:

    Stalls and stall recoveries are simply part of learning to master slow flight. As I have been learning recently with a top notch instructor, one of the critical aspects of slow flight is rudder control. In my early flight training I always dropped the left wing sharply at the break in power on stalls and usually ended up ‘instinctively’ recovering with aileron. I never had the feeling I was really in control of the airplane, and frankly that scared me. Now I know why, not just intellectually, but because we’ve been flying with the standard 6 pack covered so all I can reference is visual cues over the cowling, sounds (both engine and wind), and the kinesthetics of yawed versus coordinated maneuvers in my ears, back and seat. It has been a fantastic learning experience. For me the question is not whether I can drive the airplane around the sky and land with reasonable safety in low wind conditions. I want to master all the flight conditions I am likely to encounter from take off through landing including reasonable cross winds and gusty winds. I’m a believer in the adage that only perfect practice makes perfect. Part of perfecting practice is learning how to correct for errors or other unintended consequences. In airplanes that is best done at a reasonable altitude with an experienced and competent instructor next to you whose primary objective is to help you learn the art of flying.

    • Des
      Des says:

      David with your positive attitude I am sure you will have many years of safe flying and enjoy every minute of it !!

  52. tim
    tim says:

    Insane! Absolutely crazy! I believe training should be thorough in every single spec of the flight envelope. You should be intimately familiar with all flight characteristics of your aircraft. I hate the current mothodology preaching just to recognize onset and recover, or disallowing some maneuvers. (I am dual rated, and helicopter training in the us leaves a lot out that will be encountered in the real world) I believe that flight training should show you every nasty scary thing that could happen in a controlled environment. This way when you are hovering above the treetops inside the hv shaded area, your response isn’t a spazm of fear followed by death. My favorite training flight when I was working on sel ppl, was dragging a runway…… stall horn screaming, in a severe crosswind, tires constantly touching and chirping…. controlling my craft with precision inches off the runway. I learned so much in that one flight…. that crosswinds be damned (sometimes weather is sneaky and you have to land in unforecast million knot direct gusting crosswind) and jitters be smitten…. I never had a blink about flying in adverse conditions again. All of the training I did that day was strictly forbidden by the flight school. I’m a better pilot for it though. I was indicating 5 to 10 knots below stall speed, it was a chore to control….. should I have recognized a stall and recovered? Or look at alaskan bush pilots. Flight manual goes in the trash. They do things daily with airplanes that most could never even fathom…… and look good doing it. Push the training harder, be more prepared, and never forget to practice the basics… like stalls.

  53. Brian Lott
    Brian Lott says:

    I think that if a pilot cannot deal with stalls and stall recovery, that pilot ought not to be flying airplanes. I would like to see more emphasis on airspeed control in training than I received during my Private Pilot training curriculum. Later on, I flew with a pilot who flew back in the 1940s and 1950s and learned how airspeed control can improve your flying. Glider flying is also a big help.

  54. mark7741
    mark7741 says:

    Ever flown a cfm shadow ultralight? stalls are a non-event and it doesn’t spin. It is incredibly stable from 20kts to 100, in a fair breeze with some flap i’ve hovered it no problem. Look it up, if all aeroplanes were that safe we’d have less problems.

  55. John Laming
    John Laming says:

    Because LSA have such benign stalling characteristics (if any) we now have the common situation where instructors pull these aircraft into the most violent attitudes and using hard over rudder to try and coerce the aircraft into a stall. Then they can tick the box and say that normal stalls and accelerated stalls have now been taught. That is because the syllabus of training always includes “stall recovery”. Change the syllabus rather than generalise that ALl aircraft must be stalled.

    There is the significant risk of unseen stress on the airframe when these completely unnecessary unusual attitude maneuvers are made. The aircraft are designed to be safe and that includes the inability to stall. If instructors insist on teaching stalling in this way then go back to Cessna’s and come back to the LSA after pilots are competent on non-LSA.

  56. Darrell Wells
    Darrell Wells says:

    A well trained Pilot should be exposed to all maneuvers the training aircraft can legally and structurally do. Whether the stall is useful specifically or not isn’t the point. Turbulence can stall an aircraft as can an inattentive “driver”. I want a Pilot who has experienced the entire envelope under qualified supervision to fly my family. Make sense?

  57. Ted C
    Ted C says:

    I am a student pursuing my first certificate, and I read a lot. I haven’t flown enough to become complacent about anything yet, but I am well aware of distractions and excessive workload. One thing I am always trying to learn is how to recognize the edges of the flight envelope, how I keep myself from getting too close to them, and what I would do if I crossed them. I also know that no matter how I work at it, I will always be prone to lapses in concentration, get distracted, forget something… i.e. make human errors. So I decided to include in my training pilots who are EMT and aerobatics instructors, as I felt these would have the best possible guidance to give me on this. They also believe in the “old” way of flying, by the seat of the pants. They teach you to learn the feel and response of the controls as the aircraft approaches a stall, the sound of power or airspeed changes, perceive performance changes in the airplane, and other perceptions necessary to achieve that “oneness” with the airplane. When the G1000 fails, they have routinely showed me that the airplane can be landed safely. When I make a turn to final, the thing that should be foremost in my awareness is “flying the airplane”. Rich Stowell’s insights have been enormously helpful, expanding my view of flight to one that works in ALL attitudes, and a view that allows a pilot to create a mental picture of the AOA. He also makes the point that getting out of unusual attitudes, including spins, require you to be recently PRACTICED, as the confusions to the senses can overwhelm the logical mind. My CFI told me once that he did not lose his “startle” factor in spins until he did a few and recovered. So do I think stall training is a good idea? Absolutely, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Should spin training be required? I don’t know, but if you want to have the greatest command of your airplane and you have the stomach for it, do it. I don’t know if, when it comes down to it, I will have the stomach to do spin training, aerobatic training, or EMT training, but that is definitely the kind of pilot I want to be.

  58. Dave Oberg
    Dave Oberg says:

    A good pilot knows what his aircraft is doing, and NOT by looking at the gauges but by hearing, feeling, and otherwise sensing what is happening. I had an instructor early on that had a habit of covering up the entire panel (not that there was much to look at in my Champ in the first place!)and then having me practice stalls, touch-and-goes, etc. If you don’t know what a stall feels and sounds like, it WILL be too late when it happens to you low and slow. This training has allowed me to get the most out of the aircraft I have flown for over 40 years in Alaska, and has saved my butt more than once.

  59. Jon
    Jon says:

    I’m a student with exactly 3 hours under my belt. I was flying with a friend of mine a while back and said to him: “Let’s stall it.” So we went up to altitude and stalled it.

    Reason I did this? You have to know how to operate your machine on the edge of performance, and you have to know how to recognize the edges before you get there. I don’t have a lot of stick time, but it seems to me you’re pretty close to the edge every time you land the plane, so recognizing the potential for failure is critical. The most reliable gauge in the cockpit is the one you’re sitting on.

  60. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    As a CFI, I think the private pilot PTS is all wrong, and the commerical pilot PTS is what we should teach private pilots too. To be able to reconize a stall at the first sign of stall and recover with minimum loss of altitude. Private Pilot PTS require to recover from a full stall, therefore some low time pilots do not reconize a stall until the aircraft breaks. If students are taught to recover at the first indication, instead of a full stall, I think a few accidents may be avoided. Also I find it scary that most stalls are done in in level flight. Add a banked turn, or an accelerated stall into the flight training to have a student really get a grasp on what a stall is and recover.

  61. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I agree that it is important to include stalls and recoveries in training. Since most stall spin accidents occur in a descending turn, I learned how to recover from turning as well as level stalls. When I was a student many years ago, my instructor, who was ex Air Force and a real good IP, he also had me learn how to recover from the beginnings of a spin. That saved my bacon years later when I was flying with someone who didn’t know how to recover from a spin. I took over the controls and was able to promptly get us out of the beginnings of a spin. Being able to recognize and promptly recover from a stall or a spin is a must for any pilot.

  62. Alex104
    Alex104 says:

    After about 90 comments clearly indicating that the majority of contributors believe in the Red Herring that an airplane stalls because is flying at too low a speed, finally a student pilot (Ted C) and a CFI (Ryan) show in their comment that they know the real reason behind a stall.

    Ted C mentions the AoA and, yes guys, the stall happens because the wing is over the “Critical AoA”, indipendently from the airspeed. Rayn advocating training in banked stalls and accelerated stalls wants to show his students taht in these cases the stall can happen at various airspeeds, well over the stall speed stated in the manual. The lesson to bring home is that an airplane can stall at any speed, but always at the same AoA.

    A pilot who has learned this lesson will never over-bank on final in the false believe that “being over the stall speed he is safe” because he knows that the stall speed increses with the bank. He will also keep the ball centered for the reason I explain to follow.

    A lot of “spin training”, “spin awareness” “spin recovery” has been mentioned, but nobody has indicated why an airplane goes into a spin. Somebody has stated that a stall will inevitably end up in a spin: WRONG! The laws of aerodynamic state that two conditions are necessary for an airplane to spin: STALL + YAW. Therefore if I stall and keep the ball centered, I WILL NOT GO INTO A SPIN, but if I do not break the stall lowering the AoA I will hit the ground in that falling leaf attitude mentioned by somebody.

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      Alex, you’re right–teaching more realistic stall scenarios would be a great start. I agree to a certain extent with CFIChuck that going to 3000 ft. and doing a slow, 1 knot per second, level stall isn’t too useful. But some real world stalls, like the descending left turn, would be great.

      • Alex104
        Alex104 says:

        John, I agree that a 1g stall straight & level at 3000ft is not enough, but it is a good start to begin to understand the behaviour of your airplane in a stall and to rcognize the symptoms.

        What I believe is important is to teach the students that the stall is a matter of AoA and not of airspeed. If this is understood it will became second nature to release the pitch control in an incipient stall, whether levelled, in a high bank turn or an high g pull coming out of a dive.

        Furthermore they have to know that inappropriate use of the rudder when close to the crical AoA can introduce the second ingredient of a spin recipe: STALL + YAW.

        • Mark C.
          Mark C. says:

          Alex, that’s the best summary of the entire issue I’ve seen – students need to be taught to release the back pressure and fly coordinated. Even if they spin, what’s the first step to getting out? Release the back pressure. When turning base-to-final and the controls feel mushy and the airplane sounds different – release the back pressure. Heck, in almost any situation, if in doubt, release the back pressure. Even most spatial disorientation LOC accidents are the result of the pilot hauling back on the controls while the airplane falls to the ground. I’m not convinced that stall training/testing the way it’s done is all that valuable, but doing a few stalls to get the feel of them and learn the necessary recovery actions, then concentrating on maneuvering in slow flight right at the edge, yes. My instructor makes me do turns, level, climbing, descending, in slow flight, while under the hood. The stall horn will chirp, and I’ve learned that to make it stop, release the back pressure, and take a look at the TC to make sure the ball is centered.

  63. John Laming
    John Laming says:

    I go back to my original pilot training in the RAAF on Tiger Moths and Wirraways (1952). Stall recovery training was no big deal as it seems to be now. All RAAF instructors in those days were experienced pilots many of whom had just come back from fighting in wars.
    The Tiger Moth stalling period covered no more than 15 minutes and then we were on to something else. Revision of stalling was later continued throughout training. Stalls in tight turns were practiced during the 15 minutes of stall practice. Then stalls in climbing and gliding turns by the simple process of hauling back stick until the aircraft flicked and rolled. The stall in a gliding turn was more difficult because while gliding down you pulled the stick back hard to get the nose high on the horizon otherwise it would not lose speed to get into the stall.

    The Wirraway (looks like a Harvard) was a big step up from the Tiger Moth. First we did the usual power off stalls and recovery by simply lowering the nose to pick up airspeed. Then power on stalls which always resulted in a vicious wing drop – and I mean vicious because within a couple of seconds the Wirraway would be almost inverted and going into an incipient spin. The wing drop would be countered with sufficient rudder to prevent the wing from dropping further and simultaneously relaxing the stick back pressure and applying aileron to level the wings. We did not use rudder to “pick up the wing” as is still erroneously taught by many flying instructors. That technique was a myth of sixty years ago and amazingly resilient that myth has remained.

    The next part of stalling sequence in the Wirraway was level flight at 120 knots then a hard full back stick. The Wirraway would make several flick rolls for as long as you had hard back stick. Of course it was a high G limit wing and you would not want to try that in todays light aircraft.

    Aerobatics were introduced after the first hour on the Wirraway and after first solo on Tiger Moths. and this gave the pilot great confidence as often both aircraft would stall and flick intoo an incipient spin if the loop was pulled to tight at the top of the loop or the pull-out. With the Wirraway we did aerobatics under the hood on on instruments using the turn and bank indicator. The artificial horizon and directional gyro were cagad before aerobatics and stalling to prevent damage to the gyros. Aero clubs using Chipmunks also did all of the above so it wasn’t confined only to military training.

    In the aero clubs much of this was done by the six hour phase and by the time the average student pilot went on his first solo at usually between eight to ten hours total log book time, he was confident and competent to recover from stalls and spins. Nowadays we see students being taken to the cleaners by inexperienced and dare I say unscrupulous, flying instructors who are intent on building hours, flying 15-25 hours before first solo in Cessnas and Warriors.

    It makes me shake my head when I see current flying school syllabus that have “advanced” stalling in its syllabus. All that should be done during the normal stalling lesson. Stalling in a steep turn and during stall turns in aerobatics are not “advanced”. Why make such a big deal of it as a separate sequence to stalling in general?

    After I graduated as a RAAF pilot with 210 hours, it was straight on to Mustangs after Wirraways. We practiced all types stalling on the first Mustang flight and remember there were no dual Mustangs. There were no frights unless you stuffed up and got into a power on spin. Now that was something else and the Pilots Notes Mustang warned against the manoeuvre as the height loss could be as much as 9000 ft to 10,000 ft during the recovery.

    From my experience, the aircraft that I did not like stalling was the DC3 Dakota which had a very nasty severe wing drop in a power on full flap stall. Being a large aircraft it was heavy and slow on the controls and considerable height (1000 ft or more) could be lost before the wings could be levelled – and that is before the pull out from the dive. We made sure we were never less than 5000 ft agl before stalling the Dakota.
    My apologies for the perceived “war” stories about stalling different types but in all cases so much depends on the experience and confidence of your flying instructor when learning how to recover from different types of stalls in different aircraft. An apprehensive flying instructor does nothing for your own confidence.

    Finally, if you fly LSA aircraft remember that many are so benign it is almost impossible to stall them unless ridiculously gross high attitudes are deliberately attempted – something only a crazy overconfident nutter would try to perform. It is all too easy to overstress the engine or airframe trying to force some LSA to copy the stalling characteristics of more conventional trainers like the Cessna series. Keep in mind even Cessna and Warriors have benign stalling characteristics because that is the way they are certified by airworthiness authorities.

    Any unusual stalling characteristics in these aircraft should be treated with suspicion and reported as a defect in the maintenance document. Incorrect rigging is often the cause of unusual stalling characteristics and it is the pilot’s legal responsibility to write up the defect so that the next pilot is aware of it before he flies. Of course the problem should be rectified before he flies.

  64. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    Another thought: Once your student leaves the trainer for something else, the need for stall and spin training becomes even more obvious. I fly an old Aero Commander 100, a plane that maintains controlability deep into it’s stall. Spinning requires outright abuse but recover is simply a matter of pulling up the flaps and lowering the nose. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 20-something CFI on a BFR ride, convinced you’re about to crash and burn on a cross wind final when you’re 20 feet up, 5 knots above stall, tracking the centerline, ball centered and his eyes are bugging out, foam flecking his lips, snatching the controls away from you to turn a good landing into a drive-it-down rough one.

  65. John L. Wesley
    John L. Wesley says:

    You could fill volumes with this discussion, but then you could fill them with what students are not taught today and what they don’t learn from the current crop of pseudo-CFI’s.

  66. Mark Evans
    Mark Evans says:

    I know the original poser of this question knows the value of stall training and has presented this as a discussion starter.
    Not only is stall training necessary, I insist on doing it in every new to me aircraft. If I knew that a CFI didn’t believe in it I would not fly with them!

    All the aircraft I have owned and several others I have flown have be single seaters, when I go out the check myself out in a single seater, the first thing I do is go to alt. and do some incipient stalls.
    I can not imagine someone not wanting to know what there aircraft feels and sounds like just before she stops flying!

  67. Dave Tate
    Dave Tate says:

    I think that training is training stall training can be and is of great benefit, from a student stand point it builds confidence and there can never be too much of that. We all have to reach a comfort level if stall training helps build that level then I am all for it. It ceratinly was a confident builder for me. Maybe you veteran pilots don’t need confidence but us rookies do!!

  68. George Dorris
    George Dorris says:

    I would say to everybody, “See previous item about Air France 447″ That was a simple high altitude stall. All discussion of failed computers aside, a simple high altitude stall” End f discussion, nuff said.

  69. MikeCFI
    MikeCFI says:

    All pilots need to experience flight beyond the confines of “normal” flight attitudes so they can better understand the recovery process should the need arise. Any glider pilot who thermals at steep bank angles and low airspeeds can tell you why this is important (BTW – that’s every glider pilot). How any aviator can think otherwise is frightening.

  70. Jon
    Jon says:

    As a glider pilot working on my CFI it sure seems to me that stall/spin training are part of the kit. In a glider there is not much between the pilot and the plane. It seems to me an integral part of the physical part of the training, sensing the prestall, stall and recovery. I stall all the time in thermals with wind gusts and changes. When I get into the pattern to land it is another frame of mind. Proper speed, get the angles right, speed control to the landing.
    Just another perspective.

  71. C Umphlette
    C Umphlette says:

    Here’s part of the problem, If stalls are only demonstrated at altitude by hauling back on the stick until the break and then pushing students start to think they can’t stall in other ways. At alt. try simulating a base to final turn, slow the airspeed, overshoot the centerline, start to add rudder to a skidding turn (shallow bank) and see what that break feels like! That’s how you make the news. Stall training needs a good scenario based training to be effective. I’m a glider pilot, without that power setting to confuse things its easy to practice stall and spin entry and recovery until a correct response is an automatic reflex. Everyone needs a full skill set for good airmanship. Not teaching stalls is like driver ed without using brakes because cars skid before they crash.

  72. Gordon Switz
    Gordon Switz says:

    Not giving and taking stall training is the most foolish idea to be considered in flying. Many pilots do not realize the effect that the rigging of an aircraft has on its performance in a full stall. I have personally experienced aircraft that always instantly go inverted and straight toward the ground from a power-on full stall. Others, to varying degrees of severity, drop one wing or the other. Properly rigged aircraft proceed pretty much straight forward, although certainly down, with wings level. Not knowing this, with each aircraft you fly, puts your life in the hands of the mechanic, who (re)assembled the plane last, in a very unexpected and dangerous way. An inadvertent stall in the pattern is far safer in a well rigged aircraft than it is in a poorly rigged one. Know the aircraft you are flying. Learn to know it by stalling it at 2500ft agl or more, every time you fly an unfamiliar aircraft or after an aircraft has had one or both of its wings removed or re-rigged!

    • John Laming
      John Laming says:

      Excellent point made by Gordon Switz.

      Many years ago I flew a Cessna 152 from a Melbourne flying school. The purpose of the flight was refresher training on a grade 3 instructor who hadn’t flown for a year. On carrying out a clean stall, the 152 left wing dropped exceedingly sharply and we lost 300 feet before recovery was effected. Another stall was tried this time with full flap and throttled back.

      This time the wing drop was really serious and after losing 500 ft we finished up during the subsequent recovery, 180 degrees to our original heading. Despite careful airspeed control and smooth control movements leading up to each stall, the same wing dropped viciously and instant stall recovery action failed to reduce significant height loss before recovery was complete.

      Having flown wartime designed military types I was well aware how to recover from sharp wing drops during stall practice. This 152 was bad news and I pitied any student who might hold off too high on a landing.

      Although the defect was then promptly entered into the maintenance release (the 152 had been like that for months but never written up) the owner who was an LAME, chose to ignore the write up and the aircraft continued to fly like that without rectification. It wasn’t until CASA were notified about this aircraft and chose to test fly it, was anything done by the owner. He quickly re-rigged the aircraft before CASA arrived to fly it and that fixed the problem.

      The moral of that story is this. If you hire an an aircraft from a flying school and decide to practice a couple of stalls, then make sure you record in the maintenance release, any unusual stalling characteristics that may surface. Include comments that may help the LAME to locate the cause of the problem.

      At least that way the next pilot to fly the aircraft is warned he accepts the aircraft at his own risk because the aircraft is likely un-airworthy and should not be flown until the problem is rectified.

      Most light singles built in the past forty years are certified to have benign stall characteristics and that usually includes the ailerons being efficient below stall speed. Picking up a dropped wing with rudder is a myth that has been around for decades and mis-applied by many of today’s flying instructors.

      • Mark C.
        Mark C. says:

        “Picking up a dropped wing with rudder is a myth that has been around for decades”. Wow, talk about misinformation. I don’t know if it’s a “myth” in some models, but I can tell you this – I can level the wings in a Champ, C152, or C172, with the rudder, while stalled, even if the a/c is inches from dropping into a spin. And I can tell you from experience, that flapping the ailerons around while stalled is a great way to put a C152 into a spin.

        • Mark Evans
          Mark Evans says:

          I find too, that picking up the wing with rudder is not a myth but then I fly mostly slow wood and wire aircraft.
          That said, I think it can become a “myth” when there is to much emphasis given to rudder, the real key to getting out of a stall is reducing your AOA, which means center the #%$@#$ stick!

      • MORT MASON
        MORT MASON says:

        You’ll have to explain to me how the ailerons could possibly be effective after the wings have stalled.

  73. Morris
    Morris says:

    I fly a Citabria for non-aerobatic fun.
    After attending a safety seminar about unusual attitude recovery I decided to take lessons in a Super Decathlon with an Aerobatic Instructor.
    Our first flight included simple stalls to accelerated stalls, later we would work up to full spins.
    We were doing this at 5000′, simple stalls, no problem I have done them many times before. When we advanced to accelerated stalls the approach was more aggressive than simply a tightening turn. My instructor demonstrated the maneuver then it was my turn. My first attempt we fell out of it because I did not push it hard enough. My 2nd attempt was too aggressive, full power, lots of control input then the s**t hit the fan. It was more like an explosion; we were inverted and pointing at the ground, full power with a face full of trees. I was in an unusual attitude that my brain could not comprehend, my vision tunneled, my instructors was yelling “power, power, power (trying to tell me to pull the power off). My brain shut down, I had no idea of recovery or the seriousness of the situation I was in. My instructor stepped in and recovered the AC, if he had not done that I would have flown into the ground.
    I was not scared or shaken during the event (till afterwards). I had exceeded my training and had Zero to draw from. At that point we concluded the flight.
    I had to seriously consider whether I should ever fly again. I consulted another well known aerobatic instructor that taught unusual attitude recovery about my experience and his reply was that my experience was quite common. Especially since my primary instructors had not gone much beyond stall demonstration. I went on to complete the course and have it on my list to do it again even thou I do not like being upside down.
    My conclusion from this, it helps explain some accidents that make you wonder what happened.
    If you think you will know what to do when you exceed your training you may be in for a deadly surprise.

  74. Michael J Massey
    Michael J Massey says:

    I am a student Pilot with about 30 hours of flying time. Stall training has been essiential part of my training for several reasons. It teaches you how the aircraft responds at different attitudes, and allows for you to sense when things are about to go wrong before they actually do in a controlled environment. With that in mind hopefully the actual real life stall can be realized before it occurs and the appropriate corrective actions can be applied. It further allows you to get a feel for the recovery when the stall is induced in the controlled environment, and teaches the appropriate control inputs so that they become instictive should a real life stall occur.

  75. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    To not train for both proficiency and emergencies is not the best use of our time (read “dumb”). We WILL make mistakes, and we need to know how to get back out of coffin corner.

  76. Jim Ainsworth
    Jim Ainsworth says:

    Stall training yes, absolutely, but it has to be done correctly. I learned to fly on a dirt field and was taught stalls. I went for my ticket and after the first stall forward and properly recovered, the FAA guy says okay now lets stall on a left rudder. I did and immediately went into a spin which I couldn’t recover. Then he said after he recovered the plane, lets do a stall on a right rudder, same results. He failed me with the comment “Don’t want to see you get hurt.” What an understatement. I went back and got that training until I could dance the C150 on her tail. Lesson learned and probably my life saved.

  77. Mark C.
    Mark C. says:

    Well, this discussion has gotten interesting again. I have a little different perspective than I did a few months ago, having completed most of my training and waiting to schedule a checkride after my SODA ride. I’ve learned to like stall training, at least power off stalls, I still don’t really like or see a lot of benefit to power on stalls. I fly my aircraft gently, and will, I’m not out there to hotshot around. I can’t imagine a situation where I’ll inadvertently find myself in a full-power stall, unless the Cessna seat locks give way and then I’m probably crashing regardless of how much training I have. As for an aircraft that is out of rig and will enter an inverted spin during a power on stall, it doesn’t really matter if I die practicing that or inadvertently, but by not doing power on stalls just for fun, I eliminate that part of the equation. As for stalling with rudder applied, in both of my trainers, a C152 and a Champ, if you stall uncoordinated, you will spin. That’s not stall training, that’s spin training. If you stall in a turn, that’s still coordinated and you will not spin, you just get a little different look at the horizon during the stall.

  78. george
    george says:

    Actual Stall training should always be taught( though I would not want my Cessna used for this in a training school). Words and books will not help you out of a spin once you are in it. I did not know what a stall was, how it felt or how fast I could lose altitude per each rotation of a stall until I took a three day stall course in Santa Paula ,Calif. The first time the aircraft went into a complete stall I was terrified. I knew then that despite all my knowledge from the books and my CFI I would have been a dead man if I had inadvertently entered a stall. At the conclusion of the 3 day stall course I asked the instructor to put me in a what I called the dead man stall, from a base leg going into final approach. I was amazed at how easy and quick this stall happened. We all have opinions as to stall training but until you experience a stall and learn the proper procedures to get out of it you are not a safe pilot. We all know that any pilot can get him self in several situations that alter the CG , whether this is overload or icing. We practice during flight training to learn many skills why wouldn’t we practice stall recovery to complete the necessary training for survival. I recommend that all new pilots do a three day stall course to advance their skills and chances of survival.

    • Gil
      Gil says:

      George, stalls and spins are not hard on airplanes, due to the low speeds… however the recoveries may be, if you are too aggressive.

      Your comment, “The first time the aircraft went into a complete stall I was terrified” is puzzling to me. You should have been trained in recoveries from full stalls in your primary training, not by going to a special course.

      Anyone not comfortable with stalls should be sure to tell that to the CFI when it is time for a Flight Review.

      I once had a woman come to me for practice after she had crashed her J-3 on a commercial photography flight. She needed to master stalls and recoveries prior to a 709 Ride, so we did stall after stall after stall. Power on, power off, straight ahead and in turns, descents and climbs, all sort of stalls. Something to consider if you have problems with this part of flying.

      • Kayak Jack
        Kayak Jack says:

        I kept having the feeling that when George said “stalls”, he was referring to spins. That may help clear up some misunderstanding?

  79. John
    John says:

    In my view if you want to fly airplanes, the first thing you should do is leave egos at the door. And this applies to students as well as high time CFI’s. I never met a student that cared if a CFI had 1000 or 10000 hours as long as he felt he was getting the best training for his money. Aircraft fly and if not done correctly, they stall. Not to teach all the aspects of flight is to short change that person. I received my PPL in 1965 from an old instructor by the name of “Knocky” Nordheim out of Bader Field in Atlantic City. He was from the old school and he taught everything discussed in these replys and you could expect to get a smack in the back of the head when you screwed it up. But he insisted on other things things too. Like never get complacent in an airplane, never assume anything, always, ALWAYS, go around if things don’t seem right. How many accidents happened for the failure to do this simple thing. Egos got in the way perhaps? Only once in these comments did I hear the words “go around”. His best piece of advice was “if you get into a position where you say I think I can make it, you’ve made your first mistake”. When it comes to instructors, I recently got a check ride with an instructor I never flew with before. Let me say here that I was completely unimpressed. He had no more feel for that airplane than the man in the moon. Mechanical is the best term. Makes one wonder who is giving him HIS check ride. For the all the time I have had a license and for the various planes I have flown, I consider myself only an average pilot. But I have gotten off the ground and back on it, so far without bending any metal, for a lot of years. I believe this is because of Knocky’s insistance of doing things the right way.

    • John Laming
      John Laming says:

      and you could expect to get a smack in the back of the head when you screwed it up.

      What is it about students who enjoy getting “a smack in the back of the head when you screwed it up?” Stockholm Syndrome maybe? The solution to those type of troglodytes is to threaten them with the same treatment then walk out and demand your money back. Instructors like that have ruined many a budding aviators enjoyment of flying.

      • Jon R
        Jon R says:

        Stockholm Syndrome? Troglodyte? Nowhere near. These old cusses most likely learned their trade in the military, or someone trained by the military, back in the day when men were men and women wore skirts. Their instructors were not their friends – they were tasked with keeping young dumb spunky kids alive and used techniques that work, work well, and work quickly. There was no sensitivity training back then. Though I was trained as a ground-pounding Infantry soldier, I’d be more than happy to take a few “love taps” from my Drill Sergeant. He knew what he was doing, and he was doing it for my own good. He didn’t like me until after I graduated. That was nearly 25 years ago, and I’d take the wall-to-wall counseling from him even today.

        The big issue is respect — and if you can’t respect your instructor, you need to find a new one. And if you don’t like the instructor’s technique, find a new one. As for me, I’d rather learn from the crusty musty dusty old goat. I’m big enough to take my lumps, and I know when that kind of guy (finally) says: “good job” I’ve actually dome something to earn it.

  80. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Friend John sez, “Instructors like that have ruined many a budding aviator’s enjoyment of flying.”
    Mmmm maybe. But, if done right, they bonded to the student very well. Done right, it’s not an insult, but a bit like a punch on the shoulder from a friend.
    Done wrongly – it doesn’t go over well.

    • John
      John says:

      I apoligize. I should have known I would upset the more tender types when mentioning a smack in the back of the head. Kayak Jack had it right when he said it was more like a punch on the shoulder from a friend. It wasn’t intended to be insulting and I did not take it as such. It was meant to convey a message like “hey dummy, do it like this” In fact I believe Barry Schiff mentioned this very thing in an article he published several months ago and I don’t think he suffered any long term mental trauma. The old time instructors grew up in an era when political correctness was unknown and maybe for the better. I wonder how many budding aviators went on to bigger and better things only to bend an airplane or worse because the important stuff was not stressed. Unlike some instructors today, the old timers were in it to keep people safe as much as to make a buck. Troglodytes, maybe! But I think the aviation community of my generation was far better off for them.

      • John Laming
        John Laming says:

        Quote: Unlike some instructors today, the old timers were in it to keep people safe as much as to make a buck. Troglodytes, maybe! But I think the aviation community of my generation was far better off for them. Unquote.

        That is a generalisation. The so called “Old Timers” are often in it to earn a living as the prime factor. Few have the starry eyes of their youth and love teaching.

        Lets keep the physical side in perspective. I was a military instructor and did my instructors course in 1955. There were 25 of us on the six month course all of whom were experienced pilots. Some had fought in WW2 and some in Korea. My instructor on the course had flown ground attack aircraft in Korea.

        At no stage on the instructors course were thumps over the head or verbal abuse encouraged as good instructional technique. The physical stuff employed by the occasional instructor in my career was due to lack or patience or a short fuse. There were three of such men at one major military flying school. I had one and was terrified he might scrub me. Over the years at reunions the names of these three instructors would crop up in conversation and even though all are long since dead their names did not invoke admiration for their instructional technique. In their trail were the lost flying careers of countless young military students who they scrubbed. Many went on to become fine captains in the airline industry.
        While I appreciate that many of the smack over the head types were joking and meant no harm, nevertheless they should appreciate that one man’s food is another man’s poison. Recently I knew of an airline check captain conducting command training on a female first officer on the 737. He used four letter words freely and told her she must show balls in her dealings with other pilots, flight attendants, and ATC. This oaf had a reputation for being hard headed and was held in contempt by many of those forced to crew with him. Yet some readers here might be perfectly happy to take that nonsense on the chin as proof he was a good old-fashioned instructor who knew his stuff in trying to raise standards. The trouble was the same instructor barely could pass his annual instrument rating.

        Students should avoid making the mistake of glorifying their smack over the head loud mouth instructor just because he may have thousands of hours in his log book. I am sure the majority of keen enthusiastic students would infinitely prefer to have a keen and enthusiastic instructor who has patience and understanding needed to train all types of students. You will find few smack over the head instructors doing that to someone a lot bigger than themselves. And very wisely so!

        • Jon R
          Jon R says:


          Thanks for clarifying your comments and your experience. I’ll buy you dinner if you ever get near KOSU.

          To clarify my comment: I was trained as a foot soldier, so we didn’t have the highest intelligence scores in the service, and we were all-male, so there was a bit more freedom for use of colorful (if limited) vocabulary and locker-room training techniques. My revered DI was a “lead from the front” guy who could outperform us in any skill or event, knew his stuff inside out, and we respected him. He also tailored corrective action to the situation at hand, never getting inappropriate or excessive. His ‘love taps’ were just that — taps on top of your helmet just barely hard enough to make it klunk.

          Conversely, my TAC officers in OCS were a miserable collection of boorish, ignorant loudmouthed frauds to whom I wouldn’t give the scrapings off my boot. I withstood that abuse long enough to get a commission, but the end of the course became more of an endurance contest — I wouldn’t have minded being scrubbed because I was sick of those posers, but they were trying to make me quit, and I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. No physical contact at all in OCS. In their case it would have resulted in an assault charge.

          Your absolutely correct that training should be tailored to the student. But if the student doesn’t respect you, no technique will work.

  81. John Haley
    John Haley says:

    I never felt comfortable, in my early flying hours, until I’d done many stalls and lots of slow flight. Once I had spent several hours doing these maneuvers, most of the lessons that followed had a natural feeling, and I knew the limitations involved.

  82. george
    george says:

    Kayak Jack thank you for clarifying my intended message above. Yes I was terrified when my first “stall” went into a full spin!!!! I had practiced many stalls and felt very comfortable with them. It wasn’t until I went into the spin that I realized what an actual spin felt like or looked like while viewing the ground below. The practice of stalls and recovery is great but unless you know how close you are to the next phase of this series of events then you have no idea how quick you are to death. I will re-phrase my previous statement to say this “unless you know how to feel the stall, respect the stall and or recover from the resultant spin if you fail to deal with the stall then plan on being a listed fatality”
    The 727 that stall /spun at 24,000 feet took 83 seconds to impact!
    A stall does not affect the gyro but a series of spins play havoc on one’s gyro over time
    Stall and spin training should be mandatory for a private license in my opinion.

  83. Eric
    Eric says:

    There is a Dash-8 that crashed in Chicago a few years ago. It would still be flying if time had been properly wasted on spin recognition training. Also dozens of lives would not have been wasted. Even if some light icing was involved. The real cause of the crash was poor spin training.

    What is even more unacceptable, is that they were commercial pilots. How can you get to that level and be so incompetent ?

    I am only a glider flight instructor and I know a few glider pilots whi would have done a better job.

  84. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    I am a pre-solo student and this is what I noticed. When we practice power off stalls for example we set up in slow flight and hold the nose up and wait for the plane to stall to practice the recovery. What if there was an added practice to help build better muscle memory. As soon as the stall horn starts going off or there is an obvious imminent stall we start a stall recovery procedure. This way it would be burned into our heads to immediately act before the stall occurs?

    • Kayak Jack
      Kayak Jack says:

      Jacob, my understanding is that in case the stall warning horn fails, or we ignore it for some reason (distraction or momentary stupidity), then we are practiced at handling a real stall, not just an incipient one. While recovery technique is the same, the overall sensation isn’t. The plane tell us there’s a problem, and we need to learn to feel and listen to the plane.
      Stall practice does have a bit of pucker factor for me, but spin training would have a lot more. I’m confident of my ability to recover from a stall – I’m not at all sure about my spin recovery. Not that confident. Intellectually, I know the PARE routine, but I don’t think I’d perform it that well in the real deal.

      • Mark C.
        Mark C. says:

        That’s what my instructor says, by going to a full stall we learn the feel of a stall, including all the stages up to a stall, with or without the horn. When he first sent me out to do solo stalls, he suggested I begin by just doing them to the horn, then when I was comfortable with that, progress to doing them to the break. That worked well for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn to like spins. At least in the Champ, the entry to the spin is very uncomfortable to me, you begin by going inverted backwards. It’s hard to describe, but you kind of flip backward over your shoulder to whatever side you’re holding the rudder to. Once past that and nose down, I didn’t think the spin was too bad, it’s actually a nice way to look at the scenery. Of course in the Champ, at least for the first couple rotations, recovery consists of letting the controls go neutral, as soon as you stop messing up the airplane it’s happy to resume flying. It does recover nose down and takes a little back pressure to get back to level. The trouble is that 1 – 2 rotations will cost you 1000′. Screw up and spin turning base to final and you’re not recovering before you hit the ground. The most important lesson there is, ALWAYS keep your turns coordinated – that way if you do stall turning final, it’s a stall, not a spin. A stall you can recover from, although you’ll be awfully close to the ground when you do it.

    • Mark Evans
      Mark Evans says:

      absolutely! but as Jack said, we can’t just come up to the edge and recover only because then you won’t be prepared for when the stall goes deeper.
      When I was teaching I taught recovery everywhere from “just a little slow” to “full stall, nose falling through”.
      If your instructor is having you do all of them to full stall, talk him/her into letting you do a few recovery’s at the first buffet.
      To me, 80% of the reason to practice stalls is to learn how to recognize them and to recover early. The deeper the stall progresses the more power/alt it takes to recover.
      As i said in a earlier post, the first thing I do with a new to me airplane is some MCA and some stalls, especially turning, power off (approach to landing) so I won’t have any surprises when I go back to the pattern.

  85. John Laming
    John Laming says:

    Quote: And I can tell you from experience, that flapping the ailerons around while stalled is a great way to put a C152 into a spin. Quote:

    In another era I flew P51 Mustangs. It was easy to flick into a high speed stall if a turn was pulled to tight. The recovery technique was the same as a Cessna 152, Release the backward pressure and the aircraft un-stalls. Aileron is then used to level the wings. For a bad wing drop caused for reasons such as unbalanced flight at point of stall or maybe a badly rigged aircraft, the technique for the Mustang and Cessna was again the same. That is: apply sufficient rudder to prevent the wing from dropping further while simultaneously reducing the angle of attack by lowering the nose and applying power. Level the wings with ailerons as soon as the wings are unstalled. Picking up the dropped wing by deliberately skidding the rudder into level flight was never the correct technique for recovering a wing drop at the point of stall. That is a recipe for flicking into a spin in the reverse direction to the first dropped wing.

    • Mark C.
      Mark C. says:

      John, thanks for the clarification. Yes, once the wing is flying, absolutely the ailerons are used to level the wings. Most students, though, instinctively try to do that as soon as the nose drops, before they have airflow over the wing again, and that can get one into trouble. I think all students should have to master the falling leaf drill, that teaches how to maintain level flight using the rudder while stalled, and not over-controlling as you describe above. That’s another key – subtle control inputs will both keep you out of stalls/spins, and make recovery smoother. Don’t shove the yoke to the firewall, relax the back pressure, don’t stomp on the rudder, apply a little pressure opposite to the dropped wing, don’t flip the yoke one way or the other, ease it away from the dropped wing, but first take a second to glance at the airspeed indicator and verify you’re above stall speed.

    • Kayak Jack
      Kayak Jack says:

      Friend John, you have way more experience in the air than I do. I like to read your posts. We seem to be approaching the head slap issue from a bit different angle; I suspect it may be becasue of different experiences? I respect your point of view, and understand it. I even agree with it,and your comments about hard headed, pushy/arrogant instructors.

      When “Stick and Rudder” advises that we can get out of almost all troubles in an airplane be easing the stick (yoke) forward, he’s acknowledging that we most often get our own selves into trouble by having too steep angle of attack. I had an AOA gauge installed on my plane, and get criticized by some experienced pilots. No sweat. I’ve no interest in pushing the envelope; I’d rather stay tucked inside it.

      • Mark Evans
        Mark Evans says:

        Jack, what possible complaint could someone have about you installing a AOA gauge? That is the most useful gauge not normally found in a light plane, especially if you want/need to do max performance TO or landings.
        I have 1200 hours and a plane that gives lots of “feedback” but if I was to add one gauge, it would be AOA.

        • Kayak Jack
          Kayak Jack says:

          They use the word “gadget”, and by facial expression and tone of voice imply USELESS gadget.

          I have it nearly calibrated, and need one or two more goes to confirm, then maybe remount it on the glareshield. Now, it’s off to the right on the instrument panel, tucked into a space that was conveniently empty. But, it’s too far out of my line of sight.

  86. Alex104
    Alex104 says:

    John Laming

    I enjoy your postings, may be because I had the same experience in military heavy metal (my first solo was on the T6 in 1959! ).

    I notice with pleasure that the discussion is now more centered on the critical AoA and not on the stall speed. Also many people have shown that they know why an airplane spins, when they say that a stall with the ball centered is a stall, but if they introduce a yaw, becomes a spin. Somebody was worried that he would not be able to cope with an inadvertent spin, here is the best advice I can deduct from my over half a century of flying (I still do the odd loop and roll):
    “If you are not a test pilot flying a prototype, the airplane is properly rigged and the CoG is within the limits, centering the controls will give 99% chances to recover from a spin”

    I will say more, if you have lost your marbles completely, let go of the controls, if you have sufficient air below your a**e you can still make it.

    I hope John L agrees with me.

  87. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Friend Alex sez: “I will say more, if you have lost your marbles completely, let go of the controls, if you have sufficient air below your a**e you can still make it.”
    I had a trusted instructor tell me that too. I didn’t have the guts to try it.

  88. Mark
    Mark says:

    All of us are the pilots we are because of our training. All of us have been trained in stall recovery. Therefore, assuming we value ourselves and appreciate our skills, it is hard to say that it should be abolished from initial training requirements. However, with that said I have to agree with Richard Collins. In his book “The Next Hour” he discusses this topic. It is without a doubt the best aviation book I have ever read. I will let his words speak for their self. My thoughts follow:

    When we practice stalls we usually have to make the airplane stall—- that is to say I don’t know anyone who practices “inadvertent stalls”—– these are usually the ones that kill!!

    The ability to recover from an inadvertent stall is important. However, it is routine procedures, and rituals, doing the same thing the same way every time that keep us alive in an airplane. Therefore, I believe that the emphasis should be placed on committing safe procedures and routines to memory to the point that they become habit so that we never find ourselves on a dark rainy night trying to see if we can recover from an inadvertent stall.

    For example who would you rather drive in a car with: a very careful soccer mom (who can’t recover from a hydroplane) or someone with Jeff Gordon’s skills who is reckless, and careless. Obviously a careful Jeff Gordon would be best but in terms of emphasis if I have to choose I will choose the careful soccer mom—-As long as she is not too distracted.

  89. Scott
    Scott says:

    This is truly an interesting debate. I started out flying gliders and sailplanes – inherently I work(ed)/flew at the edge of the stall envelope in many (maybe too many) circumstances. I think I learned a few things about slow flight, stalls and spins doing it. I also learned the value in planning, knowing my numbers and flying within those parameters. So I honestly do not think that one method of training is exclusive of the other in ANY way. To diminish time and exposure to one in favor of the other maybe foolhardy and downright negligent and in my humble opinion needs to be balanced better in our ab initio training regimens.

    Ultimately however, the debate about how much actual exposure and practice of stall/spin situations is too much or too little and the arguments for more or less focus on procedures, flying the numbers and decision making most likely will continue ad-finitum. Similarly we will probably never truly know for certain which is more effective in preventing, reducing or eliminating (never happen) low altitude/low speed/stall/spin accidents; it would be difficult to sort that data set out if one could get a decent sample methinks.

    Regardless of all of the above it is my observation as an aviator (a guilty one at that), that elements of old fashioned “aviating” are disappearing/have disappeared amidst our feel good concepts, our technology and our overt “don’t go there” rules and limitations. Air France may well prove to be a real good example of failure to recognize a stall and incorrect resolution to it and may be as a result of too much focus on numbers, process and “don’t go there” rules. My two cents.

    • Mark C.
      Mark C. says:

      There’s been a lot of talk about the AF 447 pilots not knowing how to recognize and recover from a stall. I truly have no idea, but I wonder if they had any chance of doing so? In an A380, in a thunderstorm, at night, with at least partial panel failure, and a fly-by-wire system with no direct feedback, would anyone have a chance of recognizing the stall? Sure, they probably had an AI but was it reading correctly in the turbulence? Could they trust it in light of the failure of the airspeed indicators and consequent autopilot malfunction? Just some thoughts.

      • lakotahope
        lakotahope says:

        There’s supposed to be a setup that a pilot can follow in the event of a panel loss. Level the wings, put in 75% power and put in 7 degrees nose up and the airplane will fly all night without knowing the airspeed. The numbers may be off, but there are procedures.

      MORT MASON says:

      I’m still flying after 57-years and 20,000 hours of it. Old fashioned “aviating” tells me to keep my foot off the rudder on the high-wing side during turns, especially near the ground. This WILL keep you from inadvertent spins.

  90. Mel
    Mel says:

    Practicing stalls at altitude is a great way to develop the “muscle memory” for recovering from inadvertant stalls, and also if practiced correctly, an opportunity to recognize how much altitude is lost during a stall event. On final, even at 100ft above the runway, you still have a decent shot at a recovery (if you are proficient, and if you anticipate the potential for a stall on every landing).

  91. Greg B.
    Greg B. says:

    This is what happened to me. My wife had been taking lessons and so I let her take off. We were in a Cessna 172 and I told her to give a little back pressure and just let the plane fly off the runway. She abruptly pulled back at about 40 knots. As the stall horn was going off, I immediately took control as the plane started to roll to the right. The nose was lowered to reduce the angle of attack and gain airspeed. I am certain that this recovery was due the training I received (muscle memory) from my instructors on stall recovery techniques and the recognition of the beginning of a stall.

  92. Mark C.
    Mark C. says:

    Having gone to, and passed, my checkride yesterdayI have a different perspective on this now, and since the discussion is still somewhat active I thought I’d add it. Most people could benefit more from stall training if it was done differently. Power off stalls, not so much, they are what they are. But my Examiner stopped me before I could complete my first power on stall, which was going perfectly, just like I’d practiced them with my instructor. The C152 Sparrowhawk conversion I trained in is nearly impossible to stall at full power – it will just keep going up. So I learned to slow it to rotation speed, then pull the yoke all the way back into my gut before pushing in the power, and it still ends up nearly vertical and may or may not break into a stall. The Examiner showed me to pull back the yoke and apply power slowly, watching the airspeed indicator to ensure I stayed on the back side of the power curve, and the plane would reach full power and about 40 degrees nose up just as it broke into a full stall. As he said, you’re supposed to be learning stall recovery, not creative ways to stall the airplane.

    • John Laming
      John Laming says:

      Mark. These aircraft are designed not to stall given normal expected maneuvers. Instructors that teach you to force the aircraft into ridiculously extreme attitudes that would never happen in real life, only encourage new pilots to experiment with their new found confidence and in doing so risk the danger of not only over-stressing the aircraft way beyond what the designer envisaged but the next pilot to fly it may be injured or killed if a wing or tail breaks away. There is absolutely no advantage to deliberately trying to force a stall apart from an ego trip. It is poor airmanship at its best and a potentially deadly game at it’s worst. If you want to practice stalling in extreme attitudes go hire an aerobatic aircraft.

      • MORT MASON
        MORT MASON says:

        Hey, John . . . every landing you make is the result of a stall. I trust your landings aren’t all made from “ridiculously extreme attitudes.”

  93. Dave Oberg
    Dave Oberg says:

    You do NOT have to force an aircraft into “extreme attitudes” to get it to stall. One of the things I have to pound into my students is that an airplane will stall at ANY attitude and ANY speed. Attitude and speed have nothing to do with stall – it’s angle of attack that matters.

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      Dave, I obviously agree that you CAN stall an airplane at any attitude and any speed. But for the vast majority of GA pilots, if they maintain good airspeed control, they will never stall. I know it’s possible, but flying from Point A to Point B or circling the lake on a pretty Sunday, you should never be close to stalling in any type of unusual attitude.

      • Alex104
        Alex104 says:

        Yes, and in that pretty Sunday, if they fly an airplane properly maitained, if they manage their engine/fuel properly and obviously there is no carb ice in a pretty Sunday, there is little chance of an engine malfuction occurring. Therefore teaching Simulated Engine Failure is also a waste of time?

        For my money, teaching a student that there is a safe range of speed is a dangerous proposition even for a Sunday pilot. Only convincing them that stalls have nothing to do with speed, but with angle of attack, as Dave O. has written above, can make them safe pilots any day of the week.

      MORT MASON says:

      Well, yeah . . . but it’s attitude and airspeed that produce “angle of attack,” isn’t it?

  94. Mark C.
    Mark C. says:

    John L., I think that’s a little harsh on the instructors. One point they made was that if a person ever did a real-life power on stall, it will be because for some reason they hauled back on the yoke during climbout. I do agree that it can be a little hard on the airframe and I’ve long believed that near-aerobatic maneuvers including spins should only be done in aerobatic a/c. John Z., I agree EXCEPT most inadvertent stalls will be accelerated stalls on the base-to-final turn as the pilot pulls back trying to avoid overshooting final. And that one you never practice, because it will always end up in a spin, and if you do it at 500 AGL it really doesn’t matter if you know a good recovery technique.

      MORT MASON says:

      A spin, in and of itself, doesn’t put as much stress on an airplane as it enjoys while being tied down on the ramp. The airspeed doesn’t increase (in the aircraft you are probably flying), it’s completely stalled, and is for all practical purposes, at rest. It is a spiral that stresses the airplane, a situation that “John John” Kennedy learned all too late.

  95. Mark
    Mark says:

    Thanks for your posts John L. In reading your past posts I can truly say that I have learned more about flying. The idea about using rudder at the point of stall very gently just enough to keep a drooping wing from dropping more is a wonderful reminder from my training in the past—– but stated much more precisely than my retired Air Force instructor had stated, excellent as he was.

    Also, thanks for your input about the handling characteristics of various aircraft that some of us will never have a chance to fly. This gives valuable insight into the aerodynamics that the aircraft designers build into our aircraft.

    It makes me think about the different aerodynamics that apply to multi-engine aircraft. For example so many people think that just because their 172 will recover from a spin that a twin will also. NASA proved this theory wrong with a test pilot airfame chute and a Baron several years ago. This is why stalls in a multi-engine aircraft can be quite deadly. Because if you are uncoordinated you may not survive. Just like the NASA test pilot referenced above who had to pull the airframe chute. I think the Cirrus singles have the same problem, although when trained properly they can be flown safely.

  96. Jack Voss
    Jack Voss says:

    I fail to understand why any pilot would not want to have training that can save his/her life. Regardless of an FAA requirement, This is like learning to swim and wearing a PFD if you engage in canoeing and kayaking.

    They give Darwin awards to folks who kill themselves doing something that isn’t smart. Maybe I’m missing something here?

  97. J A Cann
    J A Cann says:

    To answer the question, no.

    To explain the answer, since aircraft can, do, and will stall in almost any configuration, attitude, or at any airspeed. With that, anyone at the controls without training in this does not belong at the controls.

    It’s as simple as this.

  98. Bob Reed
    Bob Reed says:

    Stall training is important; both for recognition, and to practice the correction until it is nearly an automatic response.

    Equally important, in my opinion, is spin training. A large percentage of light aircraft fatalities come from spins.

    Just my two cents…

  99. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Bob sez, “Equally important, in my opinion, is spin training. A large percentage of light aircraft fatalities come from spins.”

    Is there a method to teach spin training that will provide more safety than crashes? Spinning would likely scare hell out of me the first few times, but FAA has eliminated it, as I understand, because it was killing more than it was saving. Now, we have spin avoidance training.

    I’m all in favor of avoiding spins, and have had an angle-of-attack instrument installed to that end. Early on, it was recognized that unless you’re about to run into an obstacle, you can almost always get out of trouble in an airplane simply by releasing the yoke a bit to reduce angle of attack (read “Stick and Rudder”).

    IE: we often damage ourselves and planes by yanking back too far, and/or uncoordinated flight.

    So, back to my original question, can CFIs safely teach spin training in any aircraft? Does it take a special aircraft? Are CFIs even trained to do it?

    • Les
      Les says:

      CFI’s must demonstrate spin entry and recovery to qualify as CFI’s, but few actually teach the techniques, particularly to students training for the private certificate. If you want spin training, pick a CFI who specializes in such training, or who, at least teaches all of his/her students the techniques.
      Regarding aircraft, not all are approved for spins. Some that have been have had that approval withdrawn by AD (think C150 until modified to comply with the AD) but many have been “intentional spins prohibited” all along. Choose the training airplane as carefully as you choose the instructor.

  100. Billy
    Billy says:

    Perhaps a bit off the topic but I don’t think so.

    Let me mention something regarding spins, not so much stalls although they go together. The evil twins. An instructor, a GOOD one, last year when I was learning crosswind landing techniques, recommended just a slip instead of crab and last minute slip. I said well, you have crossed controls when slipping and isn’t that dangerous (i.e. asking for a spin). He said, he really did, that a slip won’t cause a spin, but a skid will. I believed him and still do.

    If you think about it, what you often hear about approach spins are pilots who overshoot on base before turning final and try to correct with a steep bank and, given low speed at the time, maybe too much rudder to “help” the correction. Skid with too much rudder. Stall. Spin.

    But, think about it again and although controls are crossed with a “proper” slip, there really isn’t a tendency to spin. The opposing rudder, ahem, opposes a spin. To spin, the tail needs to come around fast to the outside of the turn as the inside wing stalls, or whatever. I’ve run out of my aerodynamic understanding.

    All this good theory of course assumes you don’t actually stall. If you do close to the ground then, well, if you break to the right hit left rudder and back off the yoke, and so forth and so on, including hope for the best.

    I am probably missing something, I think I know “crossed controls” are not good, I know coordinated flight is good, but I somehow I think the guy was right. Hope I didn’t disrupt the thread too much because after all, a spin results from a stall.

    I’d really like to hear comments about this because I, for one, think the idea is important.

    • Kayak Jack
      Kayak Jack says:

      Since slipping is done to lose altitude, and the plane has a healthy – as opposed to too much of – angle of attack, the wings are getting lots of fresh air. I use forward slips (where we’re flying sideways) when I inadvertently come in too high for pattern entry, and need to get down there.
      If you were to haul pack on the yoke while in a forward slip, I think we could induce a stall and a spin.
      When landing in crosswinds – and when aren’t we landing in a crosswind – I use a side slip all the time.
      It’s possible to induce a spin from any attitude or airspeed. We just have to work harder at it sometimes.

    • Mark e.
      Mark e. says:

      Well Billy, I agree with your instructor that slipping all the way down final is a good practice, lets you know a head of time if the x wind is beyond the capability of the plane and there is no last minute transition to do like there is with crabbing.
      That said, don’t believe for a minute that you can not stall spin from a slip!!!! The difference is with a skid you will drop the low wing and a spin will develop quickly, with a slip you will drop the high wing and have lots more time to arrest the stall before it turns into a spin. Also, since you are doing the slip on purpose you will tend to keep your airspeed up.

  101. Mark
    Mark says:

    Here’s some food for thought:

    I have a very good friend who is a two time National Aerobatic Champion. Here is one of the many things that he has told me: “Always remember that every airplane has an unrecoverable spin in it somewhere, with the c.g. just right, temperature and atmospheric conditions just right etc, so be careful, never spin a plane that is not certified for such a manuever, and always wear a chute”

  102. Joseph
    Joseph says:

    Billy, the understanding of what leads to what is the most important part of the training. If you have access to a good simulator give it a try. Stalling in cross controlled situations can be quite abrupt even if you don’t enter a spin. You could probably find a aerobatic instructor that could take you a few real ones at altitude, though its nothing I want to do intentionally.

    You can take the concept of a slip and skid into a car. Slip is under steer (front tires slide) and skid is similar to over steer (rear tires slide). The momentum on a skid adds to the aerodynamic effects to accelerate the spin. If you have a racing school around have them demo this to you. In the over steer situation you usually have enough grip to keep the car straight but not enough to turn, thus countering the spin out.

    In a spin both wings are actually stalled, one is producing more lift than the other because its “less stalled”. Because the wings are producing different amounts of lift and drag the plane will yaw. By keeping the plane coordinated both wings are generally experiencing the same wind vector and will stall equally reducing any yaw momentum.

    You can sort of think of it this way in a slip you are already correcting for the spin when it happens, but you can still enter an incipient spin. So be aware of the plane and if you get close to exceeding AOT or rudder deflection abort and go around before you get to the stall.

    When Slipping to land you need the skills to recognize the approaching stall and correct before it happens.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

      MORT MASON says:

      Hey, Joseph – – – a slip is a cross-controlled maneuver. SO IS A SPIN. You are NOT “correcting for a spin” during a slip, but rather staying ahead of one because both wings are still providing lift. Just add a little up elevator and you’ll see what I mean. When the lower wing loses its lift, over you’ll go.

  103. Thomas W. Ivines
    Thomas W. Ivines says:

    Come on, if you were not taught how a stall occurs, or how to recover from one, how would you recognize if you were about to get into that situation? Secondly, how would you know how to recover from a stall if your were stupid enough to ignore the signs that got you into the stall in the first place?

    Too low, too bad! If your instructor was doing his job right, then you should have known better. If you insist that “stall and recovery training” is not necessary, you may be DEAD right… Duh!?

  104. Billy
    Billy says:

    Thanks for the feedback on slips/crabs/stalls. I guess I didn’t explain myself well enough. My instructor at the time never said that you can’t enter a stall from a slip…….of course you can if the airspeed/AOA gets out of hand. His point was that a slip, as in correcting for crosswind would not, in itself, tend to induce a spin although the controls are of course crossed. His position was that a skid was what, accompanied with a stall, caused a spin.

    Intuitively that makes a lot of sense to me. But then, intuition isn’t always reliable, hence my bringing this up and asking for advice. Thanks again to those who replied.

  105. Jim C
    Jim C says:

    I think that stall (and spin) training is a must, but even more important than stall training, it learning to fly with confidence and precision near, or at, minimum controllable airspeed. Flying the back side of the power curve is about the only way to confidently handle the airplane when something unexpected happens down low, for take-offs, landings, and go-arounds.

    • Billy
      Billy says:

      Jim C, I think you are at the nub of it. It’s at those low speeds that all kinds of bad things can happen. Of course, learning to deal with stalls/spins, if they happen, is important, but being able to fly slow, most especially at the “back side of the power curve” with confidence is probably the best defense against an epic excitement. I think you have it.

      The only problem is, training at those very low speeds is crummy, crappy, no fun, but as you mention, probably very important.

      • Mark e.
        Mark e. says:

        What? crummy, crappy, no fun? I beg to differ, flying at the edge of the envelope is great fun! Or maybe I’m just strange that way? How slow can I fly this thing is a great game at alt.

        • Billy
          Billy says:

          Mark, I can’t disagree in principle, but I think slow flight training while very important just, well, sucks.

          Glad you like it. If you do a lot of it you’re probably a better pilot than me.

          When I speak of slow flight I’m not talking about approach speeds, or maybe even a little less, but as you describe, right at the edge of the envelope (as in almost stalled). Not fun to practice, sloppy, nothing works as it should. Instructive no doubt.

          Have fun.

          • Mark e.
            Mark e. says:

            Billy, your are hitting right around why you don’t like MCA, it intimidates you at least some. I know the things that intimidate me are less fun.
            Practice till it feels natural and then it will become fun.

            Hey! thanx, I thing we just solved my not liking gusty x wind landings….

  106. Ken G
    Ken G says:

    Having recently spent 45 minutes in an Extra 300 practicing Upset Recovery training out in Mesa, AZ, I feel very strongly that in addition to stall training, spin recovery is an essential part of our training that is missing for most. In the last two years there have been at least three crashes of large aircraft that were stalled and kept in a stall until striking the ground. There is a mistaken belief that if the nose of the aircraft is below the horizon and the airspeed is greater than Vs, then the aircraft is not stalled. Also, most pilots do not understand the dynamics of an accelerated stall.

    Pilots need to experience a full stall and get a feel for the stall characteristics so that they can quickly recognize the stall and prevent a subsequent spin.

  107. Mark C.
    Mark C. says:

    Stall training is important to develop the feel for when the a/c is close to stall and the muscle memory to correct for it – although I think training for the real world, i.e., correcting just prior to the stall, rather than forcing your way into a full stall, would be more beneficial than the current standard training. I think spin training has less value – if you never stall, you won’t have to worry about a spin, and at least for the a/c which I’ve spun, it takes a LOT of effort to make them spin, which to me says that most people will never inadvertently spin. The primary value of spin training may be if you screw up a stall at altitude you will know how to recover from the resulting spin. Most spin accidents, however, occur close to the ground, base to final, typically. It doesn’t really matter how good you are at spin recovery if you only have 500 feet of altitude and the a/c will lose 500 feet minimum in a spin, and most will lose that or more. Finally, if you can’t train for stalls/spins in the a/c you will regularly fly, and many are prohibited, that tells me two things – one, you may get good at spin recovery in a Citabria but if you fly a Musketeer you still have no idea how it will spin or what it will take to recover, and two, there’s a reason spins are prohibited and that reason is that the plane can’t be recovered reliably, so spin recovery training may well be wasted on those pilots.

  108. craig
    craig says:

    A retired AirForce fighter pilot told me after my first Solo, Practice Slow Flight,Practice Slow Flight,Practice Slow Flight. Recovering from a stall you know is coming is easy. Knowing what a stall feels like is easy. Whats important is knowing what it feels like just before you stall. Then when you have your head stuck in the cockpit,or trying to stretch a glide, or bank steep and slow, or any thing else stupid when turning final, hopefully that voice in the back of your head will say, “I feel a stall coming on.” Most GA aircraft have nice stalls. Check yours.
    The trick to driving a early short wheelbase Porsche 911 fast is knowing what it feels like just before the rear end breaks loose and correcting for it before it happens. If you wait til the back end breaks loose, you will go off the road backwards very fast.

    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Sounds like very good advice Craig! I’ve done some oval track racing and a car that breaks loose on asphalt is WRECKED the vast majority of the time. On wet dirt a controlled/managed slide is possible but virtually impossible on asphalt—– Interesting. Based on the statistics it appears that airplanes have a lot in common with asphalt racing and you don’t hear too many stories about pilots recovering from inadvertent spins—– but then again maybe we are just a lot more careful.

    MORT MASON says:

    Every landing includes a stall. To pursue “approaches to stalls” training rather than to teach “full stalls” is, in my opinion. an error. So is avoiding spin training. The latter teaches skill and adds confidence. I think a skilled, confident pilot is on the road to becoming a good pilot. Fear (e.g., of spins) certainly doesn’t lead to confidence.

    MORT MASON says:

    To Marc C. – – – spins are NOT difficult to encounter. Just make a relatively tight turn at less than cruise speeds, and then try to keep the high wing down with rudder pressure on that side. Goodbye . . . . .

  111. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Friend Mort sez, ” spin training. The latter teaches skill and adds confidence. I think a skilled, confident pilot is on the road to becoming a good pilot. Fear (e.g., of spins) certainly doesn’t lead to confidence.”

    I concur. I’ve never had spin training. Sometimes, when cruising along, and a gust rolls the plane up a bit, I have these thoughts of plummeting down, out of control. (Distraught mother to Air Force: “How did my son go?” Air Force back to Mother, “Straight in.” Mother back to Air Force, “What was he doing?” Air Force reply, “About 500 knots.”)

    Leads more to self-doubts than to self-confidence and control.

  112. Gennaro Bruno
    Gennaro Bruno says:

    As a private pilot I was very fortunate of having smart and careing instructors from my first flite and every Bi-ennial. So inbetween every time I fly I get some practice in. From take of and landings to approach to landing stalls and high speed stalls. I do this alone or with an instructor only. Also at 3000 and above. My turns about a point and other manuevers are done between 1500 and 2000. Over a field where their is no living population. I’m always in favor of safety and practice coupled with good information on changes are helpfull in my flying. The information is free and easy to get from most of the aviation web sites. So any practice does help and be safe.
    gennaro bruno

  113. ChrisP from NY
    ChrisP from NY says:

    Stall training is a must. And in general, it’s a great way to emphasize the recognition of a problem or a situation that is unfolding and needs the pilot’s attention.

    There are many documented cases were highly trained professionals that had a very simple problem occur and then found themselves unable to decipher what was going on in the cockpit.

    One such case is Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509. The Captain’s AI wasn’t working due to issues with the Initial Navigation Unit. The Captain was supposed to make a turn upon departure, but his AI read wings level. So he kept turning the airplane until they eventually ended up crashing. The FO’s AI was working. The Captain never bothered to cross check his instruments to verify if his AI was reading correctly. In fact, the comparator alarm was sounding indicating that the instruments were reading differently. The FO didn’t say anything. The Engineer was yelling out “Bank”, but the Captain kept turning as if the problem was with the plane not turning and not an error with the AI.

    Colgan Air Flight 3407 is another case. This one related to stalls. The crew nearing approach to Buffalo lowered their Gear and put in 15 degrees of flaps. The air speed dropped and the stick shaker went off. With their current settings, the stick shaker would sound off before actually reaching a stall. At that point, there was a warning, but not an actual stall. The issue then became one of problem recognition. The Captain and the FO were experienced pilots, but didn’t understand why the stick shaker went off. It was simply a matter of one person lowering the gear and dropping flaps, but there was no call to adjust throttle given that the gear and flaps were lowered. Because they failed to recognize the problem, they couldn’t understand why they were suddenly having a problem. Then the Captain made matters worse by pulling back on the yoke, perhaps thinking he had some tale plane icing, but this actually put them into the stall at that point.

    So training for dealing with emergencies or situations like stalls and spins is necessary. And in going through that training a pilot learns to recognize a problem and then to react appropriately.

    -ChrisP from NY

  114. Edd Weninger
    Edd Weninger says:

    I’m a bit late here.

    I’m old enough that I had spin training, under and over-the-top, with precision recoveries.

    However, when I was doing CFI, mostly PA-28s, I taught stall/spin avoidance. FAA no longer required spins. In fact, they were discouraged.

    I had my students fly with the stall warning light continuously on at an assigned altitude, usually 3000′, in level flight. When that could be accomplished, the next assignment was to follow a specific ground oriented pattern. At LGB, parallel the break-water and do a 180 at the end and track the opposite direction for several orbits, light/buzzer on all the time.

    Sometimes, a stall might result. I always found that the student almost instinctively knew what to do for recovery. They had a good feel for the airplane at those speeds, and recovery seemed to provide them confidence that they could handle the airplane. When in doubt, I’d have them do a few intentional stalls out of the same configuration.

    In my personal flying since, I’ve never stalled my planes, Rockwell 114, Starduster II, V35B, C310, C340, T-34B. But I do the same thing I had my students do, practice stall/spin avoidance. Get up there in the burble and stay in control.

  115. lakotahope
    lakotahope says:

    Stall training is very important to new flyers and old. Too bad they did away with spin training before I started flying in the 1980s. I always wanted to spin the 152s, but none of the instructors would accept my request. It would have been a good idea to go to the local aerobatic field and ask for some aerobatic instruction from the pilots there. In one instance, a pilot had aerobatic training and was landing behind a “heavy”. He said, while he was over the runway, the vortex coming off the wingtips had rolled his plane past vertical. He just went along with the roll and flew it to upright flight and he said, it just felt natural and he probably would have fought the initial roll if he hadn’t had the aerobatic training. So, any training that familiarizes us with unusual flight is welcome.

  116. Dave
    Dave says:

    When I learned to fly both stall and spin recovery skills were mandatory. Stalls with flaps up and flaps down, and we did so many they were coming out my ears, so to speak. Most stalls will happen close to the ground and at slow speeds, normally on approach. Knowing how to recover as quickly as possible is the key. Sure, we practiced at 3 or 4,000 feet for safety but the technique is the same. I wouldn’t want to be without that knowledge.

  117. Airplanehunter
    Airplanehunter says:

    I had thought that this was going to be a referendum on the Air France disaster which, if noting else, I took immediately as an indictment of bad primary training in stall recognition and recovery (including a poor understanding of basic aerodynamics.) Within weeks of the accident, I read that the aircraft was basically stalled for a 30,000-foot ride down and nobody in the cockpit recognized (or at least articulated) that recovery was needed.

    I am a firm believer in the effects of “primacy of learning.” The way one learns a new skill the first time stays as the basis of all future training using that skill. Further, when confusion, anxiety, or panic sets in, without thinking things through one reverts to the first learned response.

    Ask any pilot who has taken competent stall training (or any ground school student who has been competently introduced to stall aerodynamics) what is going on aerodynamically when the stick is full back and the pitch angle is stable (especially if wings are level), and you should get a response that a stall is likely occurring. Further, then ask that pilot is application of power when holding full aft stick will break the stall, and you should hear the answer of “no.”

    That an Air France crew member spent significant time (was it something like 6 minutes?) in a stalled airplane holding full back stick is a terrible indictment of primary stall training.

    The question this poll asks MUST be answered that good stall training (at altitude) should be mandatory! If you do not believe this to be true, you should have been quite willing to purchase a ticket on that fated flight knowing full well that a crew member was apparently not trained to recognize and recover from a stall.

  118. Mark S.
    Mark S. says:

    I think stall training is very important, but I will add that I think it needs to be taught in the context of learning to control the aircraft in sustained slow flight, both clean and dirtied up.

    My family lived in the foothills of the Rockies when I got my driver’s license and it didn’t take long at all before I was exposed to driving in snow and driving on winding mountain roads with steep drop offs. I had to know what the car felt like when it was about to break loose and how to counter-steer instantly. When I learned to ride motorcycles it was the same way, I had to learn control in marginal conditions before I could ride safely in traffic.

    Back to airplanes. Control in marginal conditions is even more essential in an airplane. For one thing, there are more dimensions involved and more sources of trouble. When I first got my license, there was a day of blustery winds which pretty much shut down training. I grabbed my idle CFI and had him take me up flying in this rubbish air, with wind shears and enough crosswind component to make things challenging. I learned a lot during that hour and came away with greater skill and confidence.

    One day, I was in a rented Citabria and had a passenger, when the wind picked up and pushed to the limits of my skills in that particular aircraft. (Most of my exeperience was in much less demanding aircraft.) I was seriously concerned about the terms of my next encounter with terra firma, so I found a safe and untrafficed area in which to practice slow flight and stalls. Once I felt confident in the plane, I checked winds and found that the aircraft’s home field had pretty decent alignment. I brought her home and landed here without incident, but I promise you, had I not been confident of my abilities in slow-flight and stall detection, I probably would have come in hot and might well have had an “eventful” day.

    One other event comes to mind. After a period of inactivity, I decided to take some dual in a 150. I don’t think that either the CFI or I realized the effects of high density altitude and a 150 loaded to within grams of gross, but we had a climb out for the record books, flying at Vx and holding that speed for an interminable climb to pattern altitude. With only 9 knots between Vx and Vs, even a minor gust in the wrong direction could have dropped us into stall speed with nothing to do but push over and hope to regain airspeed before meeting the ground. Thankfully it didn’t happen and the forgiving terrain east of runway 8 at FTG wasn’t put to the test, but had I not been comfortable with slow flight and approach to stalls, it could have been much different.

    It has long been my contension that learning to drive a car is too simple with no real emergency training. I’d hate to see aviation go the same way.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I was reminded of another, even more persistent hangar flying topic when I recently read Alan Meyer’s thought-provoking book on general aviation in the postwar years: spin training. This debate usually divides along old school/new school lines, with the former assuring us that “back in the good old days” you had to learn to recover from a two turn spin before you could earn a private pilot license. Just as a reminder, though, the FAA removed the requirement for spin training in 1949 – that’s over 65 years ago! Since then, the fatal accident rate for general aviation has improved dramatically. Certainly it’s not all due to the elimination of spin training, but this change hardly caused carnage. Yet the debate rages. […]

  2. […] training has been a hot topic for many years, but it’s taken on even more importance in the wake of some high profile […]

  3. […] to complain about the lack of stick and rudder training today–just tune into our long-running debate about stall training if you don’t believe me. Beyond complaining, though, recent headlines do seem to support the […]

  4. […] The Great Debate: stall training165 comments […]

  5. […] or comments below, or head over to Air Facts and respond there. Share […]

Comments are closed.