Technique: The spin zone – Confronting aviation’s intimidator

Spin Technique

Spins are the aviation equivalent of a schoolyard bully. They are intimidating and carry a fearsome reputation—but like most bullies, once confronted, spins turn out not to be so tough after all. With proper preparation, training, and equipment, spins can be understood, and even enjoyed, just like the many other maneuvers pilots learn.

Spins can be frightening because they introduce banks well in excess of 90 degrees and steep pitch attitudes that typically reach about 70 degrees nose down. Spins seem to imbue our airplanes with a disorienting and unpredictable will of their own. And spins can cause alarm because “normal” control inputs don’t produce the anticipated results. (For example, adding power and pulling back on the stick during a spin doesn’t bring about a climb, and opposite aileron doesn’t stop—or even slow—the turn rate.)

On top of all this, student pilots are told that a bungled stall recovery or uncoordinated handling of the controls can produce a spin, and an inadvertent spin can result in fiery death. Yet few flight instructors teach spins, and even fewer flight schools have aircraft suitable for performing them safely.

This broad lack of familiarity helps perpetuate spin myths among pilots and the mass media. (My personal favorite is this spin-related non sequitur from Top Gun: “Mav’s in trouble. He’s in a flat spin. He’s heading out to sea!”)

In an effort to demystify spins, AOPA attached video cameras to a clipped-wing Piper J–3 Cub for a close-up look at the control surfaces during a series of spins and spin recoveries. These are upright, unaccelerated spins entered from level flight with the power at idle. The pilot holds pro-spin inputs (full aft stick, and full rudder in the direction of spin, with ailerons neutral) until the spin is fully developed, then recovers using the standard method of idle power, neutral ailerons, full opposite rudder, and brisk forward stick.

Here are a few things to watch for in the video:

  • Pay close attention to the inclinometer in the center of the instrument panel during the spin, and notice how the ball swings to full deflection at the spin entry, then moves toward the middle as the spin develops.
  • Watch the airspeed indicator and note where it settles during the spin. See how the airspeed indication is higher when spinning to the right than spinning left. (The pitot tube on this particular Cub is located on the left wing, so it senses a substantial amount of ram air pressure when spinning to the right, and almost none when spinning left.)
  • Pinpoint the exact moment of spin recovery by the sudden rise in airspeed.
  • Also, watch the airplane’s rate of rotation as the spin progresses. The first turn is relatively slow and sedate in what’s called the incipient phase. Then the spin accelerates in turns two and three before finding a steady state in the developed phase.
  • See if you can detect subtle differences in the airplane’s pitch and rate of rotation when spinning left compared to spinning right.
  • The altimeter unwinds as the airplane descends during the spin, but at what rate? Take note of how much altitude is lost during the maneuver. (Most general aviation trainers lose about 500 feet per turn in a spin, but the diminutive, fast-turning Cub comes down at a different rate.)

The FAA’s predecessor, the CAA, used to require spin training for all private pilots before 1949, and removing spins from the training curriculum and checkride was highly controversial at that time. Many pilots and flight instructors predicted the change would lead to a dramatic increase in spin accidents, but happily, those pessimistic forecasts have proven wrong.

In fact, as flight training emphasized spin avoidance, and aircraft designs became more spin resistant, general aviation safety improved. But the AOPA Air Safety Institute shows stall/spin accidents still accounted for about six percent of all GA accidents—and 13.2 percent of fatalities—in the decade that ended in 2010.

Even though U.S. flight instructors are required to demonstrate “instructional knowledge” of spin theory and recovery techniques, few CFIs have much practical experience learning or teaching them.

A 2005 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University survey of flight instructors showed 56 percent received less than one hour of ground training prior to getting their spin endorsements, and 59 percent had spin experience in two aircraft models or fewer. Also, the FAA certification process for Normal category airplanes has changed a great deal since 1949, and few new aircraft designs are approved for spins. Normal category airplanes are only required to demonstrate in certification tests that they can recover from a one-turn spin in not more than one additional turn, or three seconds, using normal recovery methods. Such recoveries are initiated during the incipient spin phase, and they provide absolutely no assurance that recovery from fully developed spins is possible.

Aerobatic category airplanes must satisfy a far more demanding spin test of six turns with recovery in 1.5 turns or less using normal recovery methods.

Since most fatal stall/spin accidents are caused by departing controlled flight at low altitude—such as a skidded base-to-final turn in the airport traffic pattern, or an attempted turn toward the airport following an engine failure—even perfect spin recovery technique would be useless because there’s insufficient altitude.

But spin training can be valuable even if it only accomplishes what stall-avoidance training was supposed to do: ensure that pilots recognize the onset of a stall, and ingrain the proper recovery reflex of lowering the angle of attack and eliminating yaw. (If an airplane doesn’t stall, it can’t spin. And even if it does stall, if it doesn’t yaw, it can’t spin.)

Once pilots understand spins and are comfortable entering and recovering from them, they’ve successfully confronted aviation’s schoolyard bully. They gain confidence, lose fear, and enhance their enjoyment of flying—and no one can take their lunch money.

By Dave Hirschman
Source: AOPA

Ingredients for great landings!

There is no way to guarantee a good landing every time. The medium in which we fly is entirely too fluid and unpredictable to guarantee anything. However, totally ignoring the points that follow here will guarantee a less-than-satisfactory landing, and possibly a bad one.

There is no way to guarantee a good landing every time. The medium in which we fly is entirely too fluid and unpredictable to guarantee anything. However, totally ignoring the points that follow here will guarantee a less-than-satisfactory landing, and possibly a bad one.

What does “good landing” mean? Which ingredients of the landing qualify it as being a “good” one and elevate it above a simple, survivable return to Earth? And we should strive for “good,” not just “acceptable.”

Here are some of the universally agreed-upon factors that separate a good landing from a not-so-good one:

  • Touch down on or near a predetermined spot in the first quarter of the runway.
  • The speed at touchdown is the minimum that is practical.
  • Touchdown is on the mains (assuming a tricycle-gear airplane), with the nose held off until it’s purposely lowered.
  • There is a minimum of float, which means the speed at flare must have been correct.
  • First, last, and always, it is a graceful, smooth maneuver.

A good touchdown starts on downwind. Has anyone not heard the old-school cliché? It’s one of the first phrases out of a CFI’s mouth. What does it mean, and how does it affect the landing? While there are dozens of factors involved in a proper setup on downwind, the most important is consistency. When the power reduction is made opposite the end of the runway, whether for a power-off landing or an extended power-on approach, the process always occurs in the same place, at the same speed, and in the same manner.

What this does is establish a datum—a stable point of reference from which everything else can be judged. If the height, position, and speed vary from landing to landing, then we have nothing on which to build our landing experience. If nothing after the initial power reduction is the same as on our last approach, we don’t know what to adjust to make our landings better.

AIRSPEED CONTROL IS EVERYTHING. Every airplane ever produced has gone through an extensive flight test program that established a best approach speed for the airplane and presented it in the pilot’s operating handbook. If we’re faster than that number, we won’t glide as far and we’ll float more in flare. If we’re slower, we won’t glide as far and we’ll have much less float in ground effect—possibly none. So, we stand the chance of hitting the runway really hard.

The speed that an aircraft is carrying as it crosses the threshold speaks volumes about what is going to happen next. If fast, the aircraft is going to skate along on top of ground effect, giving any wind just that much more time to mess with it. Excess speed makes controlling the flare more difficult and greatly increases the likelihood that the aircraft will balloon back up, then drop in hard.

In general, the airspeed isn’t consistent or adequately controlled when the pilot is not controlling the nose attitude in relation to the horizon. In a reduced-power situation, as on landing, the nose attitude is the primary speed control. Unfortunately, too many of us think that the airspeed indicator controls the nose, when just the opposite is true. While the two are linked together, the changes in airspeed are first indicated by an attitude change. So, we control speed by first setting a nose attitude, letting the indicated airspeed stabilize, and then make small attitude changes to adjust the airspeed as needed.

The most common problem in controlling the nose attitude is that a pilot “looks” over the nose but doesn’t actually “see” what’s out there. So, we pick a feature on the nose—maybe the top edge of the spinner or a row of screws on the cowl—and make small adjustments in the space between that and the horizon. Once the relationship between the nose and the horizon is firmly entrenched in our visual memory, speed control becomes second nature.

KEEP THE SCAN GOING. All the time that we’re flying, we should have a continual scan going that ties together all the factors we’re trying to control. Most instructors have a short mantra that they use. Maybe it’s chanting rpm, altitude, attitude, pattern (ground track) or using the acronym PAST—power, altitude, speed (another way of saying attitude), track (our path along the ground).

The mantra is a way of instilling a scan that is constantly in action. Our eyes and our attention are continually scanning through the windshield, then across the panel and back again. It’s a circular motion in which we’re relating the nose attitude and what we’re seeing around it—and our path across the ground—to what is seen on the instrument panel.

The scan is in motion every instant that we’re in the airplane, but when we’re flying the pattern and making a landing, the ingredients of the scan become that much more important.

DON’T USE THE THROTTLE AS A CRUTCH. Yes, the FAA likes to see a stabilized, power-on approach; however, when we do an approach like that, we have to ask ourselves, “What would this same approach look like if the engine were to quit?”

There’s a tendency to set up landing approaches so that power is required, which obviously makes that approach easier. However, if there is even just a little power on during final, it changes the glide ratio considerably. Sometimes just a few hundred extra rpm more than doubles the distance the airplane will glide compared to a power-off approach. If all landings are made that way, we never develop the visual references or skills needed to make a completely power-off landing. So, if we suffer an engine failure, we’re on a test flight and have no idea where the aircraft will wind up.

At least a percentage of all landings should be power off, right from the downwind. Enough should be made that we know exactly what to expect if the engine should quit.

PICK A SPOT AND USE IT AS A REFERENCE. The runway is not a reference. It is a destination. “Reference” denotes a given point on the runway and, if we expect to have any accuracy in our landings, we need a reference point on the runway. It’s the location toward which we point the glidepath. However, without realizing it, when on final and getting close, some pilots stop looking at their reference point and begin looking at the runway itself. Until we’re in ground effect and flaring, we should continue to use whatever specific reference point we selected. Once we’re in the flare, we’re looking down the runway, trying to gauge height and position.

Great landingsThere are several schools of thought as to what we should be looking at during the flare. Some say to fixate on the far end of the runway. Some say to look several hundred yards ahead. I favor looking a hundred yards or so ahead (that’s about two runway lights) and try to glance at both sides of the runway, switching focus from one side to the other. It gives better depth perception and alignment information.

As for the runway reference point used—on final, use the numbers. Or the threshold. Or a distinctive feature, such as a dip or discoloration, if the runway does not have normal markings. Whatever it is, we focus on that point during the approach and, if necessary, adjust power so that point appears to be neither moving up the windshield (or appears to be moving away from us), telling us that we’re low, nor down the windshield (appears to be coming toward us) and we’re going over it. We want to keep it stationary.

We will not land on that point. The glidepath will be pointed at it, but we will land beyond it when the flare and float carry us down the runway.

THE SLIP FOR FINE TUNING. The forward slip is the best tool in a pilot’s toolbox for landing on a predetermined spot on the runway. And, no, slips are not dangerous (assuming the POH doesn’t prohibit them with flaps extended). Most landings benefit from a slight adjustment to glidepath, and the slip provides that. It’s an efficient altitude eraser and is perfect for correcting glidepaths that are slightly high.

PRECISION OVER THE THRESHOLD. The speed and height over the threshold determine where the aircraft will touch down. Almost regardless of the airplane type, if we come over the threshold at a reasonable height (15 to 20 feet) and on speed (not fast), we will always touch down 500 to 800 feet down the runway. So, we’ll be down and rolling when we hit the 1,000-foot markers. If we do that every time, we can count on needing only slight braking to turn off with no more than 1,500 to 1,800 feet of runway behind us. Most single-engine aircraft only need 500 to 750 feet of ground roll, so the trick is to avoid being too fast and floating down the runway.

ADVERSE YAW CHANGES WITH ANGLE OF ATTACK. A good landing is one where the airplane is traveling straight, with no lateral drift, when it touches down. This is difficult to do if we’re maneuvering in ground effect with aileron only. Adverse yaw increases as the airplane slows down—so remember to use your feet and stay coordinated when maneuvering in flare.

HOLD IT OFF. Control the touchdown by continuing to hold the aircraft off until it’s just about out of speed. And then, don’t just let it flop down. That’s ugly. Put a little grace in it and, as the mains touch, fixate on the nose attitude; use just a little more back-pressure to hold the nose there. Then slowly let it down as the speed bleeds off.

CONTROL YOUR NOSE ATTITUDE DURING FLARE. With most modern airplanes, it’s easy to just level in the flare and let the airplane make the landing itself. However, part of flying is being proud of your skill—and nowhere is that skill more evident and needed than in the flare. Those last few seconds before the airplane touches down are the most critical, and that’s when our ability to control the nose really comes into play. The image of the nose painted against the runway edges, the sky, and horizon contains every element having to do with the touchdown.

We want to clearly see the nose as it relates to the edges of the runway, because that’s how we’re going to keep the aircraft straight. Also, as the airplane settles and the runway edge tries to visually climb up the side of the nose, that’s how we’ll know we need to gently increase back-pressure to hold it off.

The image of the nose against the horizon is what gives us our deck angle/attitude information. As the airplane touches down, it’s that image that lets us hold the nose-high touchdown attitude for a few seconds before we purposely (and gracefully) let the nosewheel touch.

An approach and landing is where we show ourselves how well we can actually fly. Each landing should be the latest entry in our self-scored contest to do better than we did last time.

By Budd Davisson

Budd Davisson is an aviation writer/photographer and magazine editor. A CFI since 1967, he teaches about 30 hours a month in his Pitts S-2A. Visit his website.

Photography by Chris Rose

Source:  AOPA – Flight Training



A different approach to learning to fly

The spark that causes otherwise ordinary people to pursue a pilot certificate is as unique as the individuals who feel it. Once that impulse is felt, the path we pursue to get the training and experience needed to pass the FAA’s tests is varied, too.

19Jill Manka

That is certainly the case for Jill Manka, a central Florida woman who put her flight instruction on hold, bought a project airplane, and has spent the past two years restoring it. She’s intent on flying, but she’s decided to fly in an airplane she knows inside and out — and it’s hard to blame her.

Manka’s previous experience with flight was mostly business oriented, and not particularly inspirational. Her work as a representative for a convention and visitor’s bureau had her traveling often, but without much enjoyment.

“I was very jaded by the commercial experience,” she said.

Based on her earlier flights, Manka didn’t expect much when a new boyfriend invited her for a flight in his Stearman.

“I thought it was going to be cool,” she acknowledges. “But I had no idea how much it would really inspire me.”

Maybe it was the open cockpit or maybe it was the budding romance. Whatever the case, by the time the wheels touched down on the grass strip back home, Manka’s idea of what aviation was all about had shifted considerably.

That one flight changed everything. In fact, her first comment when she got back on the ground was, “Can we do that again? I liked it.”

As she flew more, her attraction to flight continued to grow. She discovered that every flight was decidedly different. Even when she flew the same aircraft over the same route with the same flight instructor, she encountered challenges to each flight that were unique.

Her instructional flights began at the storied Bartow Municipal Airport. Formerly known as Bartow Air Base, the original airport was built in the 1930s. The onset of World War II led to a significant expansion that allowed the field to become a Fighter Replacement Training Station. P-51 Mustangs filled the ramps and the air then, as did P-39 Aircobras. By the time Manka began her training, the venerable Cessna 172 was the trainer of choice, and her training went well enough that she soloed there.

All student pilots hit a plateau at some point. They may put in the effort, but for some reason they can’t seem to make progress. This is often limited to a single maneuver or task, and it is almost always a temporary glitch in the student’s thought processes that leads to the plateau. In Manka’s case, she knew what her plateau was and she knew how to solve it.

“I just never felt 100% comfortable in a nosewheel,” she admits. She attributes her discomfort to the fact that so much of her fun flying had been in taildraggers. “I learned a lot from the 172, and I’m so glad I had the experience in that aircraft, but for me, I really wanted to get back into a tailwheel, and I wanted to finish my license in a tailwheel airplane.”

With her course set, and her heart intent on not only completing her pilot license, but also completing it in style, the search was on.

Manka and her boyfriend began searching through classified ads, reaching out to friends, and considering the multitude of tube and fabric airplane projects hidden away in hangars and barns all across the country. She settled on the idea of restoring an Aeronca Champ after talking to numerous pilots who raved about their early flying years in what has often been described as an outstanding trainer and personal aircraft. Know for being docile, fun, and cost-effective, the Champ moved to the top of Manka’s list and stayed there.

After considerable searching, the perfect project was located, purchased, and moved to a hangar in central Florida. Manka’s boyfriend, the man who got her interested in aviation in the first place, is an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. That happy coincidence meant that Manka didn’t just have to write checks to fund the restoration and stand back. She got to roll up her sleeves, dig in, and truly learn about the inner workings of her airplane.

“I’ve always been a, ‘get your hands dirty’ kind of girl,” Manka says proudly.

Getting dirty is exactly what she has been doing for the past two years. With oversight and guidance from her in-house A&P, she has stripped the fuselage, torn apart the wings, examined the engine, and begun the process of putting it all back together again. Overall, it’s slow but satisfying work. Even with much left to do, the completion of the project is virtually assured. Manka’s excited, motivated, and knows with certainty that she’s earned a far greater understanding of what makes her airplane work than most student pilots.

The work continues. With a covered fuselage, seats installed, a spare but functional instrument panel and the airplane sitting on its wheels again, this project is starting to really look like something. One wing sits on sawhorses, rebuilt and ready for covering. Its mate hangs on the wall in pieces. It’s unrecognizable to anyone who doesn’t have an intimate knowledge of what goes into building a wing. Manka knows, and her dream of flying her own airplane, a fully restored Aeronca Champ, is closer with every day she spends in the hangar.

But until that day comes, she’ll continue to fly from the front seat of the Stearman now and then, she’ll put in her time rebuilding that second wing, and she’ll maintain a well-earned sense of accomplishment that will last a lifetime.

By Jamie Beckett

Source:  General Aviation News

Climb, Climb!

Yesterday, meanwhile we were on approach to Don Mueang Intl. airport in Thailand we have to act in response to a RA – Resolution Advisory – from our TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System. It was a sunny morning with good visibility and that allowed us to make visual contact with the other aircraft well in advance. The ATC controller told us to maintain an altitude of 11000 ft because another aircraft – an Airbus 340 – will cross our flight path from right to left at lower altitude. For some reason the other aircraft continued climbing and crossed our flight path at 2 NM.  We received the RA to “Climb, Climb” to avoid the collision.

We have read a lot about TCAS and seen very sad histories like the one between a Tupolev 154 and a Boeing 757 over Germany on 2002, but important is to react in a timely manner to any RA from our TCAS disregarding any previous instruction from ATC. Once the conflict has been resolved, return as soon as possible to our previous assigned altitude notifying ATC of our deviation. Remember, never argue with a traffic controller on the frequency, is not professional and you are not alone in the air, many other aircraft are sharing a common frequency. Once you have landed, there are forms at ATC offices especially designed to report this situations.
If you wish to read more about TCAS, I recommend these sources:

By Ivan Paredes

ANA to train pilots for resumption of 787 operations

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is planning to put its Boeing 787 pilots through simulator training in April, to prepare them for the resumption of 787 operations.

“We’re preparing for after Boeing’s service bulletin is approved. Once it’s approved by the US FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], it means the Boeing modification plan is also approved,” says an ANA spokesman.

The operator, which has 17 787-8s in its fleet, would only say it expects the resumption of simulator training to happen sometime in April.

ANA has about 200 787 pilots and two 787 simulators. The training is necessary to prepare the pilots to fly the jets again.

ANA also recently said that it will start selling tickets for domestic routes operated using 787s from 1 June. Tickets, however, will not be offered for key trans-Pacific routes such as Tokyo Narita to Seattle and San Jose.

The carrier has given no indication as to when it feels the 787 grounding could be lifted.

Boeing is meanwhile working to certify a new battery containment system for the 787 that aims to reduce the risk of the batteries overheating, and to eliminate the risk of the batteries starting a fire. The US FAA’s certification is necessary to allow the aircraft type to return to flight.

Besides the 17 -8s in its fleet, ANA also has orders for 19 more of the type, and for 30 787-9s.

  Mavis Toh Singapore


A Flying Legend, The Douglas DC-3, 78 years later…

Days ago I was sharing the cockpit with a pilot that flew it; I can’t deny that I felt a bit of envy for him. I guess we all feel admiration for this airplane, so many years and still flying, no matter which place in the world, airport, air show or what other birds are parked beside her, she always captures the attention. 

I’m talking about a flying legend of all times:  The Douglas DC-3, the most successful aircraft’s design in story.

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, England, taking off. - Wikipedia

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, England, taking off. – Source:  Wikipedia

It made its first flight on the 32th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  It appeared on the world of aviation almost unnoticed, not even a photographer was there to document the event.  It was December 17th, 1935; she was born under the name of Douglas Sleeping Transport or DST; later known as DC-3.  The first DST / DC-3 were first used for American Airlines in replacement of its Curtiss Condor and had a configuration of fourteen passengers in a luxury cabin with folding berths.

More than 16.000 DC-3 in both, civil and military versions were built between 1935 and 1946 in the USA and under licensing agreements in Holland, Japan and Russia.  The first military version of the DC-3 was the C-41, used by the Army Corps as VIP transport.  The famous C-47 known also as the Skytrain, Skytrooper, Dakota, Doug, etc., was a DC-3 in cargo configuration, modified with a large double cargo door, floor with tie down fittings, folding bench type seating along the sides, a navigational astrodome aft of the flight compartment and a stronger landing gear.  During WW II, the C-47 operated in all battle zones performing numerous roles, transport of personnel, cargo, logistics, medical evacuations, etc.

Cathay Pacific inaugurated operations in 1946 with a DC-3 named Betsy, now an exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum - Source:  Wikipedia

Cathay Pacific inaugurated operations in 1946 with a DC-3 named Betsy, now an exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum – Source: Wikipedia

There are still today small operators with DC-3s in revenue service and as cargo aircraft, also some armed forces.  The common saying among aviation buffs and pilots is that “the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3”.   Its ability to take off and land on grass or dirt runways makes it popular in developing countries, where runways are not always paved.   Some of the uses of the DC-3 have included aerial spraying, freight transport, passenger service, military transport, missionary flying, and sport skydiving shuttling and sightseeing.

Specifications (DC-3A)

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 21–32 passengers
  • Length: 64 ft 8 in (19.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 2 in (29.0 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 16,865 lb (7,650 kg)
  • Gross weight: 25,199 lb (11,430 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 822 gal. (3736 l)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,100 hp (820 kW) each
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cyl. air-cooled two row radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard 23E50 series, 11.5 ft (3.5 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 200 kn; 370 km/h (230 mph) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m)
  • Cruise speed: 180 kn; 333 km/h (207 mph)
  • Stall speed: 58.2 kn (67 mph; 108 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 23,200 ft (7,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft (125 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (156.5 W/kg)

From the early 1950’s some DC-3 were modified with several types of turboprop engines, some improvements included and stretched fuselage.


The oldest DC-3 still flying is the original American Airlines Flagship Detroit s/n 1920, #43.

78 years later, the DC-3 gets even better, like the wine….


DC-3 History – Australia

– Douglas DC-3 – Wikipedia


Morgan Freeman

MorganFreeman-620x250Morgan Freeman: The Great Pretender

The man who may be best known for the sound of his voice speaks out on his experience as a general aviation pilot. In this exclusive spotlight on Morgan Freeman, we get up close and personal with his no-frills Mississippi way of life. From exploring his distinctive blues music club, to understanding his passion and utility for aviation, we bring you Morgan Freeman like you have never seen him before.morgan-620x250

If anyone in this world has earned the right to be a pretentious ass it’s Morgan Freeman. After crossing paths with the Academy Award winning actor off and on for the better part of seven years, including, for me, an ill-fated poker game in 2006, I can comfortably vouch for the man who needs no one to vouch for him – he’s no ass. Morgan Freeman, to steal a phrase, is easy like Sunday morning. 

Nobody’s shedding a tear for Hollywood A-list actors. After all, they pretty much have and get whatever they want out of life, but there is no question that fame and fortune comes with a price. Some handle it better than others, and Freeman seems to be one of the actors on top of the pile who’ve figured out how to be available to the insanity known as Hollywood, and yet lead a simple life. Simple, not boring. . .

Story and photos by Jeff Mattoon

Get the full article at:




Is a simple maneuver, we all did it at the beginning of our flight training. Basically there were two types, power on and power off stalls. Remember? Just keep the nose above the horizon with wings level, the stall horn will sound, lower the nose and…here we go again, we have speed and can continue flying, we can play this game all day.
What is not a game is the rising concern about the amount of accidents that happened because simply the pilots did not recognize or could not recover the airplane from a stall. There are many disturbing and recent examples, like the Air France 447, an Airbus 330, which had a high altitude stall and three pilots on the flight deck could not detect / recover the aircraft from the stall until it hits the water. Other example is Colgan Air 3407, a Bombardier DHC-8 Q400, which stalled on an ILS approach, the pilots did all the actions to try to recover the airplane from the stall, except…lower the nose, the captain keep pulling of the control yoke until hitting the ground. And the list continues…
What is happening to our aviation community?. Too much automation and we are forgetting how to recover an airplane from a non-normal condition?
Experts are concerned about this situation and some aspects are beginning to change. I remember couple of years ago when I was doing the initial to fly new equipment and when practicing stalls on the simulator the instructor told me: – at stick shaker, keep the attitude and add max power, don’t lower the nose. Also someone said: – not more than 100 ft altitude loss. At first this seemed unnatural and confusing to me, used until then to lower the nose and add max power. But at this point is exactly where we are failing, you can tell after read in deep on the above examples.
Seems like this is beginning to change now and after trying something that turned to be a serious problem we are reverting to the old school, a few days ago when participating of a training seminar, the instructors in class made a presentation, discussion about stall recovery and the suggestion was simple: “lower the nose, level the wings and add maximum power”.
What happens during a stall in a fixed wing aircraft is extremely simple, as the pilots increases the angle of attack the airfoil experiences a reduction on the coefficient of lift, the stall occurs when the critical angle of attack is exceeded. Most airplanes are equipped with devices that alert the pilot of the imminent stall, a simple horn in small general aviation airplanes and stick shakers in advanced airliners, these devices actuate before the onset of the actual stall, from there the reason we were told by instructors to keep the attitude at first sign of alert and add maximum power. But for some reason in some cases something went wrong with the remaining actions during the recovery and the airplane fully stalled.
There are dozens of articles and videos, some of them very good and explanatory about stall and stall recovery, so it is not my intention to go in a deep explanation about what happens on the onset and recovery of this maneuver, simply review another fact that attracts concern about recent incidents and accidents.
By Ivan Paredes


– BEA Accident Report AF447 – Airbus A330-203  Registered F-GZCP

NTSB Accident Report Colgan Air 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400 Registered N200WQ

There’s also a good dramatization by Air Crash Investigation on both accidents:

– Air France 447

– Colgan 3407


  •   GDL 39