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  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.

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    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 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.

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    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.

  6. #6
    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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    robert l's Avatar
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    About a year after I got my PPL in a Cessna 150, I the opportunity to fly front seat in a Piper J 5. The WW II pilot in the back seat said, do you always fly without using the rudder ?! Wow, thanks for the lesson! I still think about that whenever I fly. On the subject of skidding, wasn't it the Red Baron that would make a 180 degree flat skidding turn in a dog fight ?
    Bob

  8. #8

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    As a pilot one should have a almost 2nd sense about approaching a stall, coordinated or not. Its easy to say , "if you dont yaw you dont spin. " But that misses two points, first any pilot, no matter how good is going to have some uncoordinated flight, that is when the ball is not fully centered. Now you dont want to get way out of center when also low and slow, but most planes are forgiving of flight with the ball maybe half or one mark out. 2nd and most important, a plane wont spin if it doesn't stall . And a stall , not just a spin is also bad when low and slow, unless on touchdown. And to me, a sense of having a reserve above stall is important, even vital.
    There are many situations, other than just normal cruise where you may need to have extra margin above stall. Thats when doing acro, especially overhead maneuvers like loops , hard turns with gs and steep climbs, hard turns in fly bys. any situation where you are using some of your lift margin above stall. Stall is not just a matter of airspeed, but also a matter of gs. If you are pulling gs, you can stall the plane most any way. If you are about to stall, reducing pulling is more direct than adding power. If you find yourself a little slow in a loop, easing the pull may avoid a stall. And if you do stall, letting go is the first response, just stop pulling to break the stall. You may also add power.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 07-10-2018 at 11:37 AM.

  9. #9
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Touching down doesn't involve stalling an aircraft. It's near impossible to stall most aircraft with the mains on (or just above) the runway.
    No longer generating enough lift for (level) flight does not equate to a stall.

  10. #10

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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.

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