Section 9, Lesson 1
In Progress

Spin Awareness

Spin Awareness

Spins are dark voodoo magic in the minds of many pilots. But they don’t have to be. In this lesson, we cover why spins happen as well has proper recovery and avoidance techniques.


Lesson Notes

An incipient spin occurs when both wings stall, but one wing stalls more than the other. If this happens and a correction is not made quickly, it will often develop into an autorotation about the vertical axis which is known as a spin. Spins are not a big deal if a pilot is trained properly, the aircraft doesn’t have majorly adverse spin characteristics, and if the spin occurs with sufficient altitude to recover.

The sooner a recovery is initiated, the easier it will be to recover. The general spin recovery technique is:

  • Power idle
  • Aileron neutral
  • Rudder full in the opposite direction
  • Elevator/stick forward (to break the stall) and then back to raise the nose.

These steps are often remembered using the acronym PARE

Spin Training Philosophy – Spins have not been a required maneuver for Private Pilots for over 60 years. Instead, the FAA has emphasized stall avoidance as a method of spin avoidance, the idea being that if you don’t stall you won’t spin. While that is technically correct, spin accidents still occur when pilots stall, particularly when they stall low to the ground. Often these accidents occur on (1) takeoff, (2) approach, (3) while maneuvering in the traffic pattern.

It’s best to remember that you need enough air flowing over your wings or you become a pretty aluminum rock. For this reason, it’s critical that pilots constantly think in terms of AOA and take prompt action if they exceed it unintentionally.

Additional Resources

Flashcard Questions

What situation creates an incipient spin?

If an incipient spin is not corrected, what will it result in?

What is a spin?

What is proper spin recovery technique?

If an airplane is spinning to the left, which wing is more stalled?

A pilot is flying slow flight, but is not adding enough right rudder to maintain coordination. They notice that the heading bug consistently drifts left as a result. They add a little right aileron to compensate and pull back a little bit to help maintain altitude. Suddenly, they find themselves almost upside down, after the airplane rolls left. What happened?