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Unusual Attitudes and Recoveries (Part Two)

in Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers - Analog Instrumentation

Recovery from Unusual Attitudes

In moderate unusual attitudes, the pilot can normally reorient by establishing a level flight indication on the attitude indicator. However, the pilot should not depend on this instrument if the attitude indicator is the spillable type, because its upset limits may have been exceeded or it may have become inoperative due to mechanical malfunction. If it is the nonspillable-type instrument and is operating properly, errors up to 5 degrees of pitch-and-bank may result and its indications are very difficult to interpret in extreme attitudes. As soon as the unusual attitude is detected, the recommended recovery procedures stated in the POH/AFM should be initiated. If there are no recommended procedures stated in the POH/AFM, the recovery should be initiated by reference to the ASI, altimeter, VSI, and turn coordinator.

Nose-High Attitudes

If the airspeed is decreasing, or below the desired airspeed, increase power (as necessary in proportion to the observed deceleration), apply forward elevator pressure to lower the nose and prevent a stall, and correct the bank by applying coordinated aileron and rudder pressure to level the miniature aircraft and center the ball of the turn coordinator. The corrective control applications are made almost simultaneously, but in the sequence given above. A level pitch attitude is indicated by the reversal and stabilization of the ASI and altimeter needles. Straight coordinated flight is indicated by the level miniature aircraft and centered ball of the turn coordinator.

Nose-Low Attitudes

If the airspeed is increasing, or is above the desired airspeed, reduce power to prevent excessive airspeed and loss of altitude. Correct the bank attitude with coordinated aileron and rudder pressure to straight flight by referring to the turn coordinator. Raise the nose to level flight attitude by applying smooth back elevator pressure. All components of control should be changed simultaneously for a smooth, proficient recovery. However, during initial training a positive, confident recovery should be made by the numbers, in the sequence given above. A very important point to remember is that the instinctive reaction to a nose-down attitude is to pull back on the elevator control.

After initial control has been applied, continue with a fast cross-check for possible overcontrolling, since the necessary initial control pressures may be large. As the rate of movement of altimeter and ASI needles decreases, the attitude is approaching level flight. When the needles stop and reverse direction, the aircraft is passing through level flight. As the indications of the ASI, altimeter, and turn coordinator stabilize, incorporate the attitude indicator into the cross-check.

The attitude indicator and turn coordinator should be checked to determine bank attitude and then corrective aileron and rudder pressures should be applied. The ball should be centered. If it is not, skidding and slipping sensations can easily aggravate disorientation and retard recovery. If entering the unusual attitude from an assigned altitude (either by an instructor or by air traffic control (ATC) if operating under instrument flight rules (IFR)), return to the original altitude after stabilizing in straight-and-level flight.


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