Upset Recovery Training

This was a fun flight, but I was slightly nervous beforehand!

We covered:

  • Spinning (done before but Dave needed to see again)
  • Inverted stalls and various recoveries
  • Tail slides

This session was all about gaining the confidence to know when you’ve cocked up, and then to deal with it safely. The spinning section was relatively straight forward, albeit quite nauseating. I flew 2-3 turns to both the left and right and recovered normally.

Next up was inverted stalls. The idea is goes as follows: you’re flying a half Cuban, just coming off the top and you push to the 45 degree downline. But you’ve pushed too hard and the aircraft stalls, upside down, and pointing towards the ground.

I practiced two recovery techniques here, each with its own benefits. Pulling through from the stall and in essence completing a loop is the easiest method of getting out of the situation as it just requires elevator input. The downside to this, however, is that it takes up a lot more altitude compared to technique number two.

The second recovery method is relaxing the back pressure to unstall the wings, and then waiting for enough speed to roll level and pull out of the ensuing shallow dive. This is, arguably, a more complex recovery as it needs input on two axis, but you tend to lose less altitude.

Finally it was trailside time!

This was completely new to me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the Citabria you tail side with full power (to soften the slide) and maintain a firm grip on the stick and pressure on both rudder pedals.

Why do you need to experience this?

You can easily find yourself in a tail slide when flying a badly timed hammerhead. Imagine you’re pointing vertically upwards with your eyes on the left wingtip to stay level. You glance back at the airspeed indicator and you realise that you’re already doing zero knots and about to fall backwards!

There is only one way out of this situation, down. The important thing here is to keep all controls firm in your grip to avoid them being damaged by the random and hard changes in airflow.

See 45 seconds of upset recovery below, the full video will be on YouTube soon.

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