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Thread: Loss of Control - inadvertant spins

  1. #1

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    Loss of Control - inadvertant spins

    I just read another article about loss of control due to an inadvertant spin. It was like many other good articles that I have read about spins - they are good/accurate as far as they go. One thing I believe could be made clearer: a spin will only occur when: 1) wing stalls and 2) the airplane is skidding. No skid no spin. Everyone gets the first point right and kind of obfuscates the second. Most articles correctly state that an airplane can be stalled at any airspeed or attitude. I would like to see a similar type statement about a skid - e.g. the airplane can be made to skid while coordinated or slipping by improper use of the controls. The airplane has to be skidding to spin. The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook hints at this, but does not state it clearly or explicitly. In fact, it misleadingly states that a slipping or yawed airplane can enter a spin. It is true that while the airplane is slipping or is yawed, the pilot can misapply the controls and enter a skid/stall/spin. The same can said about straight and level flight. An airplane only spins from a skid.

    I started flying in WV during the Nixon administration. I learned several valid reasons to slip an airplane. I have never learned a valid reason to skid an airplane.

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Eh? You lost me. An airplane can't skid while coordinated. That's contradictory. An airplane can be uncoordinated and skid or slip while the controls are not crossed (if that's what you mean).

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    If you mean that an airplane can only spin when it is stalled and there is a yaw input, then you are correct. If you are speaking about loss of control while in turning flight, then you can spin in either direction depending on whether you are yawing to the inside or the outside of the turn.

    I will repeat the lament that too many "modern" pilots are not competent in their footwork. The only way you can yaw to the inside or outside of a turn is by mis, or under, using the rudder pedals. And of course not "listening" to the airplane and paying attention to the airspeed indicator. Modern airplanes complain a LOT when you get slower than you should. In between the electric/electronic complaints, and the airframe buffet complaints, inadvertent spins are a real failure of Mother Nature's pilot aptitude test.

    Stalls are just another maneuver to master. Intentional spins are also. Not rocket science. Every student pilot should be comfortable with both. Having done them intentionally a pilot is better prepared to recognize when distractions have the airplane and pilot nibbling at going there unintentionally.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRGT View Post
    I just read another article about loss of control due to an inadvertant spin. It was like many other good articles that I have read about spins - they are good/accurate as far as they go. One thing I believe could be made clearer: a spin will only occur when: 1) wing stalls and 2) the airplane is skidding. No skid no spin. Everyone gets the first point right and kind of obfuscates the second. Most articles correctly state that an airplane can be stalled at any airspeed or attitude. I would like to see a similar type statement about a skid - e.g. the airplane can be made to skid while coordinated or slipping by improper use of the controls. The airplane has to be skidding to spin. The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook hints at this, but does not state it clearly or explicitly. In fact, it misleadingly states that a slipping or yawed airplane can enter a spin. It is true that while the airplane is slipping or is yawed, the pilot can misapply the controls and enter a skid/stall/spin. The same can said about straight and level flight. An airplane only spins from a skid.

    I started flying in WV during the Nixon administration. I learned several valid reasons to slip an airplane. I have never learned a valid reason to skid an airplane.
    "An airplane only spins from a skid." Not true!

    A spin will result from a slip or a skid, in other words any yawed flight.

    I believe the current common explanation of the skidded turn to final is not the common cause of loss of control accidents. I also do not believe the "bad piloting" excuse. Too many experienced pilots have bought the farm to have that hold up in the court of common sense. I can name many examples.

    I would gladly give more details but I have a plane to catch. I have tried to get the word out on this but there is limited interest as "all airplanes perform well at low speeds" and all "pilots are trained to the FAA standard and know about stall spin issues".

    Name one production airplane or popular kit that has poor stall spin characteristics or ask one pilot to come forward that has inadequate stall spin training. I would like to have a discussion about that. Furthermore, stall spin is not the only loss of control associated with the "turn to final" crash. What about "loss of aileron effectiveness". Have you been trained in that scenario? Is that a "hot topic". Should be, IMHO.

    Buy the way do you know that an aircraft in a spin may have the ball either left or right or centered. It is the turn needle that shows the direction of the spin. Can you tell me where the turn needle is in a glass cockpit. Not easy to find in many cases.
    Last edited by jedi; 07-10-2018 at 02:53 AM.

  5. #5

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    I fall into the camp that observes that too many pilots rely exclusively on what they see on the panel and not enough what their senses are telling them. I am introducing an acquaintance with a Cessna background to a Pitts that has nothing in the panel other than airspeed and altitude. Right now, when I give this young man the airplane I always feel that I am sliding off my seat to the right. A sample of one, but I think a symptom of what "modern" training produces.

    Having flown a relatively large list of airplanes I will suggest that modern aircraft certification standards has produced airplanes with no, or very few, bad habits at low speeds. Every airplane that you fly has been extensively flight tested in every possible configuration. While "modern" flight training may leave some pilots surprised by what they find once they go out on their own, that speaks more to the failure of the training than the airplanes.

    Tape a sheet of paper over the panel glass and listen to what your butt is telling you.

    Wes

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    I fall into the camp that observes that too many pilots rely exclusively on what they see on the panel and not enough what their senses are telling them. I am introducing an acquaintance with a Cessna background to a Pitts that has nothing in the panel other than airspeed and altitude. Right now, when I give this young man the airplane I always feel that I am sliding off my seat to the right. A sample of one, but I think a symptom of what "modern" training produces.

    Having flown a relatively large list of airplanes I will suggest that modern aircraft certification standards has produced airplanes with no, or very few, bad habits at low speeds. Every airplane that you fly has been extensively flight tested in every possible configuration. While "modern" flight training may leave some pilots surprised by what they find once they go out on their own, that speaks more to the failure of the training than the airplanes.

    Tape a sheet of paper over the panel glass and listen to what your butt is telling you.

    Wes
    Thanks Wes,

    Appreciate you teaching the young fellow a thing or two. Right on. Nice to have that spare set of wings to really be able to see if the airplane is level. All that extra stuff to secure the wings helps a bit too. Interplane struts should cut the horizon at the the same place on each side of the airplane.

    Young pilot should be able to see the right wing is low. Look out to the right and left horizon and level the wings with aileron, hold the heading with the rudder. Fly straight with the rudder, not with the ailerons. Ailerons control bank. Rudder controls direction. Pilots trained today hold heading with the ailerons in most cases.

    Exceptions are V tail Bonanza and aircraft with yaw dampers. Perhaps a few others also.
    Last edited by jedi; 07-10-2018 at 06:01 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Eh? You lost me. An airplane can't skid while coordinated. That's contradictory. An airplane can be uncoordinated and skid or slip while the controls are not crossed (if that's what you mean).
    I am not sure what I wrote that could be interpreted that way. I will repeat: no matter if the airplane is yawed or not, if the controls are misapplied, the airplane can skid, stall, and spin. The airplane must be in a skidding turn to spin.

  8. #8
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    Ailerons control bank. Rudder controls direction.
    Huh? An airplane is not a boat. You don't steer it with the rudder. You bank the airplane to redirect the lift vector so it will turn. You use the rudder to keep the airplane coordinated (i.e., the ball in the center, not slipping or skidding). The rudder is not turning the airplane. The wings are. Read the FAA's "Airplane Flying Handbook" (FAA-H-8083-3B), starting on page 3-10. The section titled "level turns" will give you the whole scoop. One quote from the handbook that is germane to this discussion:

    "The pilot uses the rudder to offset any adverse yaw developed by wing’s differential lift and the engine/propeller. The rudder does not turn the airplane. The rudder is used to maintain coordinated flight."

    Note that it specifically states that the rudder does not turn the airplane.

    Getting back to spins, others have already stated that you can enter a spin from either a slip or a skid. If the airplane is coordinated during the stall, it won't spin. If it's uncoordinated, it may spin. Keep the ball in the center and all is well!
    Cheers!

    Joe

  9. #9
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRGT View Post
    I am not sure what I wrote that could be interpreted that way. I will repeat: no matter if the airplane is yawed or not, if the controls are misapplied, the airplane can skid, stall, and spin. The airplane must be in a skidding turn to spin.
    Because I'm trying to understand what you meant by "the airplane can be made to skid while coordinated". An airplane can't be slipping or skidding while coordinated. Yaw is a motion, not a position.
    A skid is by definition a departure from coordinated flight. Sure you can skid while not turning and you can turn without skidding, but you can't skid while maintaining coordinated flight.

  10. #10
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRGT View Post
    The airplane must be in a skidding turn to spin.
    I think you are confusing the matter by using the term "skid" to mean uncoordinated flight in EITHER direction. That's not technically correct. In simple terms, a skid is a specific condition where too much rudder is applied in a turn and the ball is forced to the outside of the turn. If the ball is off center to the INSIDE of the turn, that's a slip, not a skid.

    You are correct is as much as the airplane has to be in uncoordinated flight in order to spin, but it may be skidding OR slipping, depending on which way the ball is being deflected. Either way, as I stated in my previous post, keep the ball in the center and you're not going to spin.
    Cheers!

    Joe

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