Flight Training - March 2013 - 26

Cho

Fear in flight training is a topic that
students and instructors don’t talk about
very often. Although things are changing,
flight training still is largely a malecentric, quasi-militaristic culture where
it’s perceived that fear has no place. The
phrase “man up” can be heard in Cessna
172s all across the country. Unfortunately,
manning up only seems to work when
lifting bales of hay or shoveling snow. To
effectively overcome the fear of stalls, the
issue must be approached sensitively and
in a way that’s proven to work effectively.
That means avoiding the fear altogether
with education, or treating it with
systematic desensitization or cognitive
behavioral therapy.
The best way to combat the fear of
stalls is by making sure there isn’t one in
the first place. To a lot of students, stalls
are just one of the many things that seem
foreign in the beginning stages of flight
training. Cars don’t stall—well, not aerodynamically—and we are rarely exposed
to a falling sensation on the ground. So
just going out and giving a stall a try isn’t
always the best idea. A little ground training is in order first.
An aerodynamic stall (as opposed to
an engine that quits) happens when the

rd l
in e

Angle of attack

Relative wind

“

PULL THE CIRCUIT BREAKER
ON THE STALL WARNING
HORN. THE HORN IS
DISTRACTING AND
INTIMIDATING TO
STUDENTS. ALSO, A FELLOW
INSTRUCTOR WHO FLEW
RC MODELS USED A FLYING
RC TO DEMONSTRATE STALLS
USING AN RC CUB. IT
ILLUSTRATED THE CONCEPT
IN A NONTHREATENING
WAY AND WAS EXTREMELY
EFFECTIVE.

”

wing exceeds its critical angle of attack, or
the angle between the chord line and the
relative wind. In most training situations,
we practice this by slowing the airplane
and raising the nose above a certain pitch

COEFFICIENTS OF LIFT AND DRAG
CL

.2000

18

.1600

1.6

16

.1400

1.4

14

.1200

1.2

12

1.0

10

0.8

8

0.6

6

0.4

4

0.2

2

0

0

.1000

Critical angle of attack

Coefficient of drag (CD)

CL

.0800
.0600
.0400
.0200
0
0

CD
2

4

6

8

10 12
14 16
Angle of attack
(in degrees)

18

20

Lift/drag

1.8

CLMAX

.1800

22

THE RED LINE in the diagram is the coefficient of lift, and the yellow line is the coefficient of drag. Each is
plotted against the angle of attack, in degrees, on the bottom. The stall occurs right before the maximum
lift point (CLMAX). It's easy to see on this graph that when a wing stalls, lift flattens and decreases only
slightly, while drag increases rapidly.
26 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

A STALL IS nothing more than the wing exceeding the critical angle of attack. This important
angle is the difference between the chord line, or
the extended line that bisects the front and rear of
the wing's cross-section, and the relative wind.

attitude, at which point the wing will stall.
Each wing design stalls at a specific angle
of attack, and this value never changes. If
the airplane is going straight toward the
ground at 200 knots, the wing will stall at
the same angle of attack as it will when
the airplane is flying straight ahead at 40
knots.
All of this leads to one very basic
conclusion—reduce the angle and the
stall stops. Forget power and everything
else that goes in to a proper stall recovery. Simply reducing the angle of attack
will take care of the problem. Power only
reduces our altitude loss.
The wing doesn’t “stop flying” when it
stalls. The aircraft doesn’t drop straight
down like a rock, although it can descend
rapidly. What really happens at the point
of the stall is a sizeable increase in drag.
That’s one reason jet pilots have been
told for decades to “power out” of a stall.
The Air France and Colgan accidents are
changing that guidance to what piston
pilots know—reduce the angle of attack
and the stall goes away. Knowing there is
an increase in drag can help to calm some
fear. Instead of thinking about a stall as
falling, we can think of it as the airplane
slowing.
None of this addresses the other contributor to the fear of stalls, which is the
possibility of a spin. Spins are nothing
more than a stall with some adverse yaw.
While they can be startling when they
happen unexpectedly, in many training
airplanes the pilot must actively engage
pro-spin inputs in order to start the process—otherwise the airplane is only diving
while turning. If the inclinometer shows a
centered ball during stall practice, a spin


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - March 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2013

Flight Training - March 2013
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Not What It Appears
After the Checkride
How It Works
ASI News Action
Training Products
Since You Asked
Member Products Final Exam
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Flying Carpet
The "S" Word
Women With Wings
Problem Solver
Technique
Weather
Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Juggling the Airplane
The Known to the Unknown
You're Not Done Yet
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Training - March 2013
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2013 - 1
Flight Training - March 2013 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2013 - 3
Flight Training - March 2013 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2013 - 5
Flight Training - March 2013 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2013 - 7
Flight Training - March 2013 - Letters
Flight Training - March 2013 - 9
Flight Training - March 2013 - Not What It Appears
Flight Training - March 2013 - 11
Flight Training - March 2013 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - How It Works
Flight Training - March 2013 - ASI News Action
Flight Training - March 2013 - Training Products
Flight Training - March 2013 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2013 - 17
Flight Training - March 2013 - Member Products Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2013 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2013 - 20
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2013 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 23
Flight Training - March 2013 - The "S" Word
Flight Training - March 2013 - 25
Flight Training - March 2013 - 26
Flight Training - March 2013 - 27
Flight Training - March 2013 - Women With Wings
Flight Training - March 2013 - 29
Flight Training - March 2013 - 30
Flight Training - March 2013 - 31
Flight Training - March 2013 - 32
Flight Training - March 2013 - 33
Flight Training - March 2013 - Problem Solver
Flight Training - March 2013 - 35
Flight Training - March 2013 - 36
Flight Training - March 2013 - 37
Flight Training - March 2013 - Technique
Flight Training - March 2013 - 39
Flight Training - March 2013 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2013 - 41
Flight Training - March 2013 - 42
Flight Training - March 2013 - Aviation's Glass Ceiling
Flight Training - March 2013 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2013 - 45
Flight Training - March 2013 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - March 2013 - Juggling the Airplane
Flight Training - March 2013 - The Known to the Unknown
Flight Training - March 2013 - You're Not Done Yet
Flight Training - March 2013 - 50
Flight Training - March 2013 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2013 - 52
Flight Training - March 2013 - 53
Flight Training - March 2013 - 54
Flight Training - March 2013 - 55
Flight Training - March 2013 - 56
Flight Training - March 2013 - 57
Flight Training - March 2013 - 58
Flight Training - March 2013 - 59
Flight Training - March 2013 - 60
Flight Training - March 2013 - 61
Flight Training - March 2013 - 62
Flight Training - March 2013 - 63
Flight Training - March 2013 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2013 - Cover4
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