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Thread: Slow Flight is No Longer Slow... At Least for Those Learning to Fly!

  1. #1
    SJ's Avatar
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    Slow Flight is No Longer Slow... At Least for Those Learning to Fly!

    I read about this FAA SAFO this morning in AOPA's email blast. As an instructor, I have always felt that it was important for students (and pilots on flight review) to spend some time in MCA (minimum controllable airspeed) rather than "slow flight". According to recent changes, slow flight has just gotten a lot faster. A lot of us are not flying new airplanes, and a lot of us don't have stall warning horns. Does this mean you can only learn to fly in a plane with a stall horn?

    I don't necessarily disagree that the sound of the stall horn should make a pilot get really serious. I was with a pilot recently who's improperly setup autopilot tried to maintain altitude on an instrument approach causing the stall warning to go off (it was VFR, just practice), the pilot did not react as quickly as I would have liked to this situation and maybe a greater respect of the stall horn than many of us have is important in training new pilots.

    I am interested to hear what others think.

    sj
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SAFO16010.pdf  
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  2. #2
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    SJ, I don't see a reference to a "stall horn" or device. I do see reference to "distinctive stall warning". That could be a prestall buffet or other aerodynamic disturbance which tells the pilot that a stall is imminent not necessarily an artificial warning device.

    There does seem to be an emphasis on watching the airspeed indicator instead of looking for traffic. But then I'm one who covers the entire panel so that the student learns not to depend on instruments. Perhaps I'm too old school?


    N1PA

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    Richgj3's Avatar
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    I'll try not to sound like a 70 year old curmudgeon, but here goes. I didn't start instructing until after I retired from my "real" job. I already had thousands of hours in conventional and tri gear airplanes. I had owned seven different airplanes from a NORDO Taylorcraft to an IFR capable Comanche with a modern auto pilot. Most were tailwheel, some older than me.

    Instructing confirmed what I suspected. The world is divided into two parts: Pilots and airplane drivers. As technology
    advances, it becomes easier for people with a skill set on the lower end of the talent spectrum to satisfy the tasks to get a license.

    I have TRIED to teach a guy who owns a TBM 850 and is legal to fly it how to land a cub. I gave up because I don't do it for a living anymore I was in fear of losing my airplane or maybe my life.

    Times they are a changin'. I, like others would like to see everybody start out in a light airplane taildragger but that ship has sailed when a person can buy a Cirrus and go all the way from hour one to Instrument pilot in that airplane.

    I only do a few BFR's for friends these days but I try to help them understand why an airplanes flys and why it doesn't.

    Rich

  4. #4
    SJ's Avatar
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    I think in practice, all the Part 23 planes have some kind of aural warning device.

    The lower door of the supercub and J3 lifting up may not be "distinctive" enough for part 23

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  5. #5
    SC3CM's Avatar
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    I'd actually use the language to say, there's no stall horn in this plane to ignore so we'll fly around just above the buffet.

    ASI is useless at these speeds. Pilots need to know that. Typically I try to reinforce this in a few different ways.

    My son wasn't allowed to drive in snow until we went out in really slippery conditions in a safe space and got the car all screwed up and let him play with how to recover. I'd never solo a pilot who isn't very capable at stall recovery. I'd like to say I'd never sign off on an instrument student without actual IMC but sometimes the weather just won't cooperate.

    This is important stuff. My personal opinion is the FAA is wrong here and should go back the other direction and require spin training again. Too many people are scared of stalling in any situation, even practice with a CFI, and can't think straight. That is a very dangerous mindset for the pilot who inadvertently stalls.

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    I think in practice, all the Part 23 planes have some kind of aural warning device.

    sj
    That may be true, but the SAFO doesn't say that. It does say "distinctive stall warning". Distinctive could mean any type of warning artificial or aerodynamic.
    N1PA

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    I have to disagree. The pilot should initiate a stall recovery any time the stall indicating device is activated??????


    Let me think, in the last couple of days I have heard the stall horn in a wing level 120 kt descent, 110 kt strait and level flight, just before a couple of water landings, and just as I was touching down the main gear on the runway.

    Turbulence sets them things off all the time, as does landing. Teaching that the silly thing means "STALL STALL" is teaching fear.

    When are they going to get real pilots working on this stuff?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  8. #8
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    I think you are all correct.

    In the environment that George flies in (and in that equipment) hearing the stall horn is somewhat normal. In the 737 I have NEVER heard it (except in the sim) and I hope I don't and recovery better be aggressive and right now. I do think the Cirrus (and more modern aircraft) are generally not operated at the edges of the envelope.

    Bottom line - it just depends. I fly with a lot of folks that have not heard a stall horn for 25 years. But for Cub drivers - if you are going to operate at or near the edge of the envelope, you should be very comfortable with slow flight, stall recovery, and even spin recovery.

    JMHO

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  9. #9
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Are you saying: Teach intelligent thought to students, teach them to fly the edge even with a stall horn going, teach immediate reaction as part of the stall recovery for light planes, then teach the "FAA WAY" to never hear it so they are prepared for tests and jets?
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    CamTom12's Avatar
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    Would an option to temporarily disable the stall warning horn in flight trainers be an effective compromise? Then MCA flight could be taught and evaluated without pilots becoming accustomed to the stall warner? I'm not sure how the approval for a mod like that would work though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamTom12 View Post
    Would an option to temporarily disable the stall warning horn in flight trainers be an effective compromise? Then MCA flight could be taught and evaluated without pilots becoming accustomed to the stall warner? I'm not sure how the approval for a mod like that would work though.
    WE switched it (in full view) on my cub at rebuild and I love it. There are times I deffinately want it on (like at night or in the mountains, or when spotting for predators and times I don't like it on like with a vervous passenger. But the main reason we did is that bloomen thing is louder than the horn on my dads old Buick!
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Since we are talking about all airplanes, I will explain how the system works in the A-10. That airplane and virtually all fighters are flown with reference to AOA.

    The A-10 gives you a tone in the headset when you are approaching critical AOA. Lets say you are max performing the plane while looking over you shouder at the bandit on your tail. Naturally, the throttle will be firewalled and you will be pulling on the pole.

    At 2 units before the stall you will get a steady tone. Pull just a little more or slow down a bit and the steady tone becomes a chopped tone. To max perform the A/C, you pul to the steady tone, pull a bit more till the tone becomes chopped. You then ease off a bit until the tone is steady. Pull to the chopped then release. Rinse repeat. You know where you are in the flight regime without looking inside.

    We were always taught at AA to pull to the stick shaker during a microburst or wind shear event. Pull, release, pull, release. etc. Meanwhile the throttles are firewalled. Pilots are intially reluctant to pull to the stick shaker because they dont understand it.

    A certain Delta L-1011 probably would not have hit the ground at DFW if the pilot had used that technique.

    IMHO
    TMMV
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefoy84 View Post
    Since we are talking about all airplanes, I will explain how the system works in the A-10. That airplane and virtually all fighters are flown with reference to AOA.

    The A-10 gives you a tone in the headset when you are approaching critical AOA. Lets say you are max performing the plane while looking over you shouder at the bandit on your tail. Naturally, the throttle will be firewalled and you will be pulling on the pole.

    At 2 units before the stall you will get a steady tone. Pull just a little more or slow down a bit and the steady tone becomes a chopped tone. To max perform the A/C, you pul to the steady tone, pull a bit more till the tone becomes chopped. You then ease off a bit until the tone is steady. Pull to the chopped then release. Rinse repeat. You know where you are in the flight regime without looking inside.

    We were always taught at AA to pull to the stick shaker during a microburst or wind shear event. Pull, release, pull, release. etc. Meanwhile the throttles are firewalled. Pilots are intially reluctant to pull to the stick shaker because they dont understand it.

    A certain Delta L-1011 probably would not have hit the ground at DFW if the pilot had used that technique.

    IMHO
    TMMV

    Pull the stick shaker breaker? Elaborate please.

  14. #14
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    I read an editorial from a month or two ago, in AOPA?, advocating absolute stall avoidance. The reasoning was that airlines have very few stall accidents, airline pilots are taught absolute stall avoidance (stall = checkride failure, perhaps career ending), therefore absolute stall avoidance will reduce stall accidents in light aircraft too. Perhaps such reasoning underlies the SAFO.

    It will not work for light aircraft, because to follow it would remove a substantial part of the useful operating envelope.

  15. #15
    txpacer's Avatar
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    Absolute stall avoidance works well for the majority of GA pilots that have no interest in exploring the more entertaining aspects of personal aviation. If you're one of those pilots and want to expand your horizons, get competent instruction. Otherwise, be happy with your Cherokee and a 3000 ft landing roll.

    And don't forget to make a lot of radio calls so we know where you are at all times.

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    The 1969 Cessna 150 POH states in section 3 that the stall warning horn makes a steady tone 5-10 mph before the stall. So if correct, that means you might have to limit lower speeds to over 12+ mph before an actual stall. You can't even get close to a full stall condition according to that document if I'm reading it correctly?

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    Doug Stewart, of SAFE, a really good CFI advocacy group, has come out against this new way of thinking. I agree with him. My stll sequence takes an hour, and starts out with level flight actually in the stall buffet for an extended time, including turns. Even experienced Cub pilots are genuinely surprised that the Cub will not descend during buffet if enough power is added.

    SAFE is the only outfit that enables CFI liability insurance with a "tail" - absolutely essential, and heretofore unheard of.

  18. #18
    SJ's Avatar
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    Good discussion folks!

    Bob, by "with a tail" do you mean that lasts beyond the instruction period?

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  19. #19
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    Pull the stick shaker breaker? Elaborate please.
    I said nothing about pulling any breakers.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    L18C-95's Avatar
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    Is this part of the slow safe speed exercise, or demonstrating recognition of, and recovery of a stall?

    If the latter on this side of the pond you would demonstrate in a single a clean, power off stall and recover when the examiner says so, which usually means full back stick, fair amount of buffet, or stall break, at least in most training aircraft.

    If the former I sympathise with the FAA. Are they not trying to avoid negative conditioning where the student becomes insensitive to the stall warner? The same scenario occurs on stall exercises on piston twins, where the clean configuration leads to the gear warner sounding off - again not ideal. Again on this side of the pond we don't explore the full stall in a twin but recover on first indication - which can interpreted as 5 knots above the bottom of the green arc for a clean configuration.

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    Steve - yes, "tail" covers me when, 23 months down the road somebody I gave a flight review to spins in with his wealthy friend on board. I get lawyers, and if they are not good ones, a million bucks to settle.

    It is, fortunately, rare for me to fly in an airplane with a stall warning horn. My Decathlon has one, but somehow I have it tuned out. I do want my students to fly fully stalled. I can teach them FAA stuff later. No, wait! I don't do instruction that requires a checkride any more. I do not understand ACS.

  22. #22
    jnorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SC3CM View Post
    This is important stuff. My personal opinion is the FAA is wrong here and should go back the other direction and require spin training again. Too many people are scared of stalling in any situation, even practice with a CFI, and can't think straight. That is a very dangerous mindset for the pilot who inadvertently stalls.
    Amen!

    It isn't only pilots who are scared of stalling an airplane. I've flown with a number of CFIs who are afraid of stalls!! I was flabbergasted! But it's true. Apparently some of the "approved schools" are putting out instructors who don't know, understand, and thus are afraid of stalling an airplane. And of course they pass this along to their students, and the snowball gets bigger as it rolls down the hill.
    Joe

    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Joe is right. A couple years ago, I went to a school to get a Flight Review. Cessna 172. Young CFI. We took off and in the practice area, I said I'd do a stall series. The CFI said ok. I started with straight ahead, no flaps, no power, and sequentially added flaps, then power, etc. Finally I announced I'd demonstate a falling leaf stall. CFI looked at me kinda funny but said okay. Right after the initial break, when I held the plane in the stall, it occurred to me that the instructor might soil his undies soon. He was actually panicked. I recovered and asked if he was okay. He asked me what I was doing, so I explained the concept and offered to demonstrate another....he said no thanks, and the FR was suddenly over.

    Flash to two years later...I go to same school for a FR. Different CFI, but young. This time we're flying a Diamond Eclipse. Never flown one so.....stall series. This CFI was cool and I got to falling leaf, only this time I explained the maneuver. He said he'd never heard of it, but said go for it. I did, and the plane was magnificent in the maneuver, I was stalled and banking hard from stop to stop....cool. Young CFI said "mind if I try that?" He did, and did well. Fun guy to fly with.

    Doing the paperwork later, he noted the last FR endorsement, and asked if I'd done that falling leaf thing. I said yes. He smiled and asked how it'd gone. I said it was not well received by the CFI. He grinned and said he wasn't surprised. Thanked me for a fun ride, and we parted company.

    The "spin training" that many schools provide to comply with the training requirements for the CFI are more often than not glossed over, with absolute minimum exposure to high AOA Flight. And, those flight instructors are frightened of stalls, which they very effectively pass on to their students, etc.

    We need to ensure that ALL pilots have the chance to explore the slow flight and stall characteristics of their aircraft.

    This new policy is NOT progress.

    MTV

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    txpacer's Avatar
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    I think the FAA is pretty happy with its position on stall and spin avoidance, so required spin training is a dead issue. The thing to do is encourage anyone interested in understanding what their airplane does and why it does it to get the appropriate training from a competent instructor. And avoid flying with the other ones, unless you can reach the controls.

  25. #25
    PerryB's Avatar
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    In 2013 I was getting a BFR in a friends Top Cub (my plane was in the middle of rebuild ) and of course I was asked to do a departure stall. I gave it the throttle and started pulling the nose up. As we got down to about 60 indicated, I brought in half flap - because that's what I use for a max effort climb - and continued to bring the nose up. When I knew we were getting close I looked out the left wing because it always tickles me to see that absurd angle, and I caught a good peripheral look at my CFI. He had a death grip on the X-brace with both hands and a look on his face like he was going to be sick. I know I'm a bit of a twisted soul, but I thought it was pretty funny (in the moment). Then it occurred to me that he (and probably a lot of newer instructors) was not comfortable in this environment. At 50' agl neither am I, but at altitude this should be a fun, comfortable training environment not a white knuckle ride for the CFI.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !

  26. #26
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnorris View Post
    ...the snowball gets bigger as it rolls down the hill.
    This might have to be my new signature line!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  27. #27
    kase's Avatar
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    The ACS is just the minimum. You can still teach your student to fly around with the stall warning going off or the stick shaking in a cub with no stall horn. Its just on the checkride they have to fly around at 55 mph or so.

    Looks like the stall series is the same.

    The applicant demonstrates the ability to:
    PA.VII.C.S1
    1.
    Select an entry altitude that will allow t
    he Task to be completed no lower than 1,500 feet
    AGL (ASEL, ASES)
    or
    3,000 feet AGL (AMEL, AMES).
    PA.VII.C.S2
    2.
    Establish the takeoff, departure, or cruise configuration as specified by the evaluator.
    PA.VII.C.S3
    3. Set power (as assigned by the evaluator) to no less than 65 percent available power.
    PA.VII.C.S4
    4.
    Transition smoothly from the takeoff or departure attitude to the pitch attitude that will
    induce a stall.
    PA.VII.C.S5
    5.
    Maintain a specified heading, ±10°, if in straight flight, and maintain a spe
    cified angle of
    bank not to exceed 20°, ±10°, if in turning flight, while inducing the stall
    or as
    recommended by the aircraft manufacturer to a safe maneuvering altitude.
    PA.VII.C.S6
    6.
    Recognize and recover promptly after a fully developed stall occurs.
    PA.VII.C.S7
    7.
    Retract the flaps to the recommended setting; retract the landing gear if retractable,
    after a positive rate of climb is established.
    PA.VII.C.S8
    8.
    Execute a stall recovery in accordance with procedures set forth in the AFM/POH.
    PA.VII.C.S9
    9.
    Ac
    celerate to V
    X
    or V
    Y
    speed before the final flap retraction; return to the altitude,
    heading, and airspeed specified by the evaluator.

  28. #28
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Kase,

    Yes, you are correct. But my point is that EVERYone should be exposed to high AOA flight during their private pilot training, not just those folks who happen to fly with someone who teaches this.

    In fact, with this policy, MOST new pilots certificated will never actually fly an airplane in slow flight.....because their instructors won't take them there. That needs to change.

    MTV

  29. #29
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    Absolute stall avoidance works well for the majority of GA pilots that have no interest in exploring the more entertaining aspects of personal aviation.
    Until they decide to join in and come to a fly in where the 3,000' strip is cut down a little and DA is much higher than they are used to.

    Allowing students to rocket into the airport above 1.3 vso (plus .5 gust factor) is setting them up for a crash in the future.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  30. #30

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    I think a lot of the fear factor with stalls, slow flight and even low level maneuvering stem from a lack of a thorough understanding of the aerodynamics involved. I've talked to both pilots and CFIs that hold firm to the concept that speed and bank angle have everything to do with stalling the wing when in fact its only related to pitch angle and AoA. Try to explain that an unloaded wing wont stall regardless of bank angle or speed and they look at you like your crazy. But you'll also likely have to explain to them what a "loaded" wing is too. Maybe the FAA should revamp its over simplified explanation of aerodynamics so people really understand what make a wing fly?

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