Flight 42: Out for a Spin

Today I flew another 150 I had not flown before. I did some more checkride prep (ground reference maneuvers and steep turns). I hadn’t practiced stalls by myself, because I was uneasy about the possibility of an unintended spin.

I went up to about 2300 feet and set up the plane for slow flight. I tried to do a power-off stall and kept pulling back but never felt the stall. My airspeed was down to about 45 knots with the power on idle.

The next thing I knew, the plane was in a spin. The nose was pointed almost straight down, and all I could see in front of me was the ground coming toward me. I knew that the plane was designed to recover from spins by itself, so I let it. I did nothing but wait, and after either 1.5 or 2.5 revolutions (it was too fast to count), the plane leveled itself out.

By then the airspeed was up to 80 knots, and I was down to 1000 feet. I turned off the carb heat, put up the flaps, added power, and went back to the airport. I thought that was enough adventure for one day. (This picture is from an airshow, but this is what it would have looked like.)

Ironically, I had been thinking about asking my CFI to show me a spin, but after reading about them, thought I would be uncomfortable even riding through one. I called him to tell him what had happened. He took the news calmly, but I think it aged him a few years.

I was lucky that I had enough altitude, although pilots doing intentional spins would start 1000 or 2000 feet higher than I did. It was also good that the spin ended quickly, since sometimes there are four or five revolutions, which would have been the end of my flying career. From what I’ve read, about a quarter of aviation deaths are caused by stall/spin accidents.

Today: 1 hours
Total: 60.7 hours
Total Solo: 22.8 hours
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