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8 Facts You Should Know About Spins

Spins are always a hot training topic, and something every pilot should be well versed in...

1) When you're in a fully developed spin, you're only pulling 1G

smetz2006 / YouTube

2) T-Tailed trijet airliners, like the Tu-154, are especially prone to deep stalls and flat spins

Their heavy empennage makes a flat spin a real possibility. It caused Aeroflot Flight 7425 to flat-spin into the ground in 1985.

3) If you become disoriented in a spin, look at your turn coordinator's wings

It will tell you which way you're turning. Add rudder toward the high wing.

4) Never trust your turn coordinator's ball to tell the direction of a spin

Depending on where the instrument is installed, it can swing either way.

5) In 1970, the Cornfield Bomber recovered from an unrecoverable flat spin after the pilot ejected - and was returned to service

Losing the pilot changed the CG and the aircraft recovered. A Montana sheriff found the F-106 idling in a cornfield - with little damage. It was repaired and returned to service, flying until 1988. It's now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

6) In 1912, Lt. Wilfred Parke was the first pilot to recover from an accidental spin

He spun his Avro Type G biplane while in the pattern, entering the spin at 700 feet and recovering at 50 feet. He used full opposite rudder to break the spin.

7) In spite of Parke's technique, spin recovery procedures weren't a normal part of flight training until well into World War I.

As you can imagine, spin recovery wasn't always guaranteed...

Australian War Memorial

8) In the 1920s and 30s, airmail pilots were taught to enter a spin to escape IMC

Most of the planes didn't have flight instruments, and pilots could enter a deadly graveyard spiral in the clouds. Since the clouds usually ended before the ground started, it gave the pilots a better chance of recovery. This isn't a good idea anymore...

What do you think - should all pilots take spin training? Check out these spin accidents and decide for yourself...

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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