Emergency Maneuver Training

Larry Wright

Originally published June 1993

This may be a big "so what" for all the "test pilot types" in our chapter, but to those of us who got our license the "old fashioned way," this may be of interest.

In an attempt at currency prior to flying my newly built Lancair 360, I decided to enroll in C.P. Aviation Emergency Maneuver Course at Santa Paula. The course is taught in a Super Decathlon (180 HP C/S prop), a very stable, fun platform, or as I now affectionately call her, "The Death-A-Con."

Back in 1976 when I started my commercial rating, instructors were still teaching spin and unusual attitude recovery training, so I figured this would be a nice refresher and a piece of cake--wrong! I had never done fully developed spins and had no idea how elevator, aileron, and power accelerated the spin if used at the wrong time or out of sequence. During one of many fully developed spins, while dropping out of the sky at 7000 feet a minute, at a spin rate of less than one second per turn and waiting for Joe (my instructor, a nice young guy with the eerie ability to cage his eyeballs) to tell me, "okay, that's enough, recover", I saw his reflection in the canopy, hands above his head, screaming like a teenager on an E-ticket ride a Disney Land--what a job!

Then there's the crossover spin--a nice gentle manuever that reminds you that you haven't neutralized the rudder on recovery by snapping the spin back in the opposite direction at twice the speed--a real fun ride. Now that I'm completely disoriented, Joe tells me, "you're doing a fine job, but now I'd like you to anticipate your recovery 180 degrees and recover on a heading"--("yeah, you bet").

After three days of fun flying and confidence building, it turns out the acronym to remember, like GUMP, is PARE.

P - Power to idle--flaps up
A - Ailerons neutralized
R - Full rudder, opposite direction
E - Elevator forward or aft of neutral depending on whether or not you're inverted

During the 1980's NASA published several research papers on the stall, spin, and recovery characteristics of typical general aviation airplanes. An analysis of the data collected during the NASA research identified important considerations about spin recovery methods. The most poignant observation was that no recovery control input was identified which would always stop the spin. The only 100% guaranteed solution is to prevent the spin before it occurs. This is accomplished by dealing with roll and yaw appropriately near and above the critical angle of attack. NASA research has shown that PARE recovery technique is the most effective method of spin recovery, and found that the published aircraft manual spin recovery procedures may not recover an aircraft from developed spin modes.

Other than being a little green around the gills on the drive home, it was a great experience. I highly recommened the course to anyone who has not had this type of training. The ground school is excellent, the flying fun, and most importantly, it may save your life someday.

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Revised -- 22 February 1997