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CAA publish stall and spin advisory animation

The UK CAA has released a short advisory animation recounting a 2021 incident when a stall/spin training exercise nearly ended in tragedy.

The flight was conducted in a T67 Firefly out of Shoreham Airport. The instructor reports that the student had safely conducted a couple of left-hand spins, recovering each time to an altitude of around 5,500ft.

The student was then asked to demonstrate the recovery from a right-hand spin entry. The CAA describes ensuing incident: “Despite spin entry and rotation all being normal, this spin caused the aircraft to become dangerously unresponsive to attempts to recovery from it.

“The T67 is known to have unusual spin characteristics, which require a full and specific recovery technique: throttle closed, flaps up, full opposite rudder, pause, progressive, central and forward movement of the control column applied.

“The instructor had called for the spin to be recovered after two turns, and reports that the correct actions were taken. However, the aircraft continued to rotate and spin downwards at pace with a steep nose down attitude. At this stage, the instructor took full control of the aircraft in an attempt to exert some control over the spin and bring the aircraft into recovery.

“The instructor discovered that the student had correctly applied full rudder but with an inch or so left to drive the control column further forward. The instructor rectified the issue, but even with full opposite rudder and the nose-down state of the aircraft, it continued in its spin.

“Worryingly, the aircraft was quickly losing altitude. The instructor tried an into-spin aileron, which didn’t arrest the dive before recovering the aircraft using an out-of-spin aileron technique. The aircraft had dropped to 1,800ft during the spin, and the pair climbed away on their return to Shoreham Airport without further incident.

“Post-flight checks revealed no apparent damage to the tail or rudder, and full rudder appeared to be still available. No defects were found in the tech log. “Following a thorough investigation of the aircraft, the circumstances of the flight and the instructor’s description of the incident, the CAA confirmed that the incident had been a high rotational spin.

“Our report found that although the correct recovery actions were followed, this incident most likely occurred due to inadequate rudder application during the initial recovery. This resulted in full opposite rudder not being achieved by the time the control column was moved forward. This, coupled with the control column not being moved forward enough, stopped the aircraft from being recovered. It was also concluded that the out-of-spin aileron hadn’t arrested the spin; its application and the spin ending were coincidental.

“Pilots should use this incident as a vital reminder of the importance of being aware of their aircraft’s spin recovery guidance and techniques, as these may differ between aircraft types. Information specific to your aircraft can be found in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook.

“This incident also demonstrates the importance of confidently using proper recovery technique, as the failure to make full control inputs can exacerbate some situations. Pilots should familiarise themselves with how to use the Emergency Response Plan to investigate incidents.

“Lastly, this incident could have had a catastrophic outcome. The instructor and the pilot were both wearing parachutes, and the incident serves as an essential reminder to crews to not just wear parachutes but to be aware of and practised in using them.”

Further valuable advice is available in Safety Sense Leaflet #30 – Loss of Control: Stall & Spin Awareness, available to download free of charge from the CAA website,

The CAA’s advisory animation is meantime available on the regulator’s YouTube channel under the title ‘Loss of Control – Stall and Spin Awareness’

Author: FTN Editor

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