Seattle, WA
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Stall/Spin/Upset Training at BruceAir

The stall/spin/upset recovery training program at BruceAir includes a minimum of three flights to ensure that you have enough time to experience and practice a variety of stalls, unusual attitudes, and spins.

I offer the stall/spin/upset recovery course from May–September in Seattle. Aerobatic rides and training are not available at Boulder City, NV. Although I visit Las Vegas often during the winter, my schedule varies, and I am not currently able to conduct operations there. If you're interested in an aerobatic ride or training in Las Vegas, I recommend that you contact Monarch Sky, based at Henderson (KHND). Monarch Sky has Extra 330LCs and and a Citabria available for basic and advanced aerobatic flights and training.

If you're interested in an aerobatic ride or stall/spin/upset training in 2014, please contact me via email. Please note that I do not offer aircraft checkouts, tailwheel endorsements, high-performance endorsements, or flight reviews in the Extra. The airplane is not available for solo flight.

Here's a video that shows a typical sequence of manevuers and practice during the first lesson of the three-flight syllabus. You can find more videos on my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying.

The experience can be overwhelming at first, and you need more than one flight to absorb and understand what’s going on and to begin to learn the proper responses to each situation.

Any pilot—regardless of experience level—can benefit from stall/spin/upset training. You don’t need endorsements for tailwheel, high-performance, or complex aircraft to fly the maneuvers or log the flight time as dual instruction and/or PIC time. Note, however, that training at BruceAir, LLC does not include a checkout in the Extra 300L or a tailwheel endorsement, and the Extra 300L is not available for solo flight.

The three-flight syllabus, including all ground instruction and video on a DVD of all your flights, is $1325 (cash or check) or $1335 if you pay with a credit card via PayPal (button below).

To download a promotional flyer about stall/spin/upset training and aerobatic rides at BruceAir, click this link (.pdf).

Because aerobatic flights require better-than-average weather, it’s impossible to guarantee a specific date and time for a flight. But if you want to get on my schedule, send me an email, and we’ll set up some opportunities. I’m available weekdays and weekends, and as the days get longer, the flying window opens wider. It’s best to start planning about a week ahead as forecasts become more reliable.

Seattle Practice Area

Practice AreaSeveral aerobatic pilots in the Seattle area fly in a small area east of Lake Sammamish, north of Fall City.

I usually operate from 2500–7000 ft MSL.

The chart excerpt at right (click for a larger version) shows my typical route to/from Boeing Field and the practice area.

This area is not an designated aerobatic box; but it meets the regulatory requirements for flying aerobatics away from certain types of controlled airspace, congested areas, and so forth.

We self-announce on and monitor the air-to-air communications frequency of 122.75 while in the area. I also interrupt sequences of maneuvers frequently to clear the area.

Look out for us if you're flying in this area; we'll be looking for you.

The BruceAir Syllabus

The three-flight program typically includes:

Each flight begins with a thorough ground briefing and concludes with a debrief and video review of your flight. A typical flight lasts about 45 minutes, during which you’ll get plenty of hands-on time flying the Extra 300L from the front seat.

Useful Background Study

The following resources can help you prepare for the stall/spin/URT course:

To learn more about stalls, slips and skids, cross-controlled stalls, and incipient spins, see Stalls, Slips, Skids, and Incipient Spins here at BruceAir.

Value and Purpose of Stall Awareness/Spin Training

Stall-spin sequenceAlthough FAR 61.97(b)(10), 61.105(b)(10), and 61.183(i)(1) require ground instruction in stall/spin awareness for pilots (and flight training for instructors) who seek airplane or glider category ratings, many pilots—including many instructors—have little practical knowledge of accelerated stalls, cross-control stalls, and incipient or developed spins—and even less experience with the maneuvers in the air.

Those pilots aren’t to blame. Rich Stowell, one of the foremost experts on spins and spin training, points out that it’s often difficult to find flight schools and instructors who have the appropriate aircraft, training, and experience to provide effective stall/spin awareness training.

Equally important is misunderstanding the purpose of stall/spin awareness training. The goal isn’t to turn out pilots who can perform precise, competition-style spins. As Stowell ably puts it, “The primary reason proponents advocate, and pilots seek out, additional stall and spin training is—surprise!—spin prevention. The advertised objective of spin training is to expand a pilot’s knowledge, experience, and skill set to prevent an inadvertent spin departure in the first place.”

And that’s a key point. Most so-called spin accidents occur at low altitude—often in the traffic pattern. These low-altitude departures are really incipient spins. There’s usually not enough time or altitude for fully developed spins to evolve—or for pilots to recover from the departure if the sequence progresses.

For more information on these points, see "Spin Cycle," a feature in the October 2010 issue of AOPA Flight Training magazine.

Practicing dozens of multi-turn, aggravated spins isn’t necessary unless you’re involved in aerobatics. A good stall-spin course for typical general-aviation pilots therefore focuses on all types of stalls, incipient spins, and recoveries from unusual attitudes—the types of situations that GA pilots flying normal-category airplanes in everyday operations are most likely to encounter. 

A quotation from a recent study (PDF) of the ability of pilots to recover from unusual attitudes helps clarify the issue: "For military trained pilots there are no unusual attitudes, only unexpected attitudes...Although aerobatic training has not so far been authoritatively related to upset-recovery success in a transport type airplane, aerobatic flight in a light airplane would provide an opportunity for pilots to practice maneuvering in extreme attitudes across wide airspeed and energy level ranges. This might in turn lead to greater confidence and maneuvering proficiency in an actual upset situation.

 That said, it is also important for pilots undergoing spin training to experience and practice fully-developed spins and recoveries.

To learn more about the qualities you should look for in an all-attitude flying training program, see Guidelines for Pilots Seeking All-Attitude Training (PDF), a document by Rich Stowell. It's available in the Public Documents section of the SAFE website.

The Extra 300L as a Training Platform

BruceAir (like The Aerobatic Experience and APS Emergency Maneuver Training) uses the Extra 300L for stall/spin awareness training because the airplane has:

The Extra 300L is a high-performance, unlimited aerobatic-class airplane. It’s not a Cessna 172, Piper Warrior, Beechcraft Bonanza, or other typical general aviation aircraft. And many pilots ask how training in an Extra can benefit them if they fly a “normal” airplane.

If you’re interested in a detailed discussion of this subject, see the article “Transfer of Skills” at APS Emergency Maneuver Training. Bruce Landsberg’s article, “Low Impact Aerobatics,” available on the Air Safety Institute website, also offers excellent background on the topic.

The short answer is that the goal of stall awareness/spin training is to develop a pilot’s awareness of a variety of situations and to practice the proper actions to take to avoid inadvertent stalls and spins. That understanding and those basic actions are the same regardless of the aircraft you fly, and they can be taught effectively and safely in the Extra 300L. Remember, the objective isn’t to teach you how to fly the Extra 300L. It’s to build your awareness, fundamental skills, and confidence.

Another useful analogy comes to mind: Most pilots and instructors recognize that learning to fly a taildragger can improve basic flying skills and is useful training even if your regular mount is a Cessna or Piper with a “training wheel.” You can make a similar argument about gaining experience in sailplanes even if you don’t pursue a glider rating or regularly fly airplanes without engines.

It’s not too big a stretch to say that “it’s all good” when it comes to training in a variety of aircraft and range of operations—provided you receive competent instruction and understand how those experiences do and don’t relate to your regular flying.

For good summary of the value of aerobatics training for typical GA pilots, see Budd Davisson’s article, “Aerobatics: Does it have a place in training?” (available to AOPA members).

More Information about Training at BruceAir

Galvin LogoFor answers to common questions about an aerobatic ride or training session in the Extra 300L, see Helpful Hints on the Aerobatic Ride page here at BruceAir.

From May–September, the Extra 300L is based at Galvin Flying Services at Boeing Field (KBFI) in Seattle. You can find directions to the flight school at Galvin Flying Services on the Contact page here at BruceAir.

To learn more about the training offered at BruceAir, please send an email message to Bruce.

For directions and other information, visit my Contact page.

Stall and Spin Videos

You can find several videos about stalls, incipient spins, and spins at my YouTube channel, BruceAirFlying. For example, the following video shows incipient spins from skidding and slipping turns.

As the lawyers say, for you pilots out there, none of the videos is intended as instruction. They're just guides to help you understand stalls, slips, skids, and spins. If you want to explore stalls and spins in an airplane, get competent instruction in an appropriate aircraft.

I’ve also created several videos with the Extra 300L’s on-board camera system. The links below take you to some of the videos that focus on stalls and spins.

All of the videos are in one of my SkyDrive folders. The are in Windows Media Player format, which is available as a free download for both Windows and Mac OS systems.

For more information about BruceAir Videos (and to see videos of aerobatic maneuvers), visit the Videos page here at BruceAir.

To learn more about stalls, slips and skids, cross-controlled stalls, and incipient spins, see Useful Background Study and Stalls, Slips, Skids, and Incipient Spins here at BruceAir.

Helpful Tips

Here are some tips to make your aerobatic ride or lessons more enjoyable:

You’re in Charge

Remember that you’re in charge. We’ll flying only as long as you’re relaxed and having fun—otherwise, you’re not learning. If you’re ready to stop after the first few exercises, we’ll enjoy the spectacular scenery from straight-and-level flight.

You’ll fly in the front cockpit. To learn more about the instruments and controls in the front seat, click the picture.

Before we fly, I will give you a detailed briefing about the Extra 300L, the front cockpit, communication and safety procedures, and the parachutes.

Learn More About Stalls and Spins

You can find excellent information, much of it free, from many sources on the Web. In addition to the information at Useful Background Study, you may want to explore the following links:

Other Spin Training Programs

If you’re looking for professional, experienced instructors who specialize stall/spin/upset training, consider the following programs.

To learn more about the qualities you should look for in an all-attitude flying training program, see Guidelines for Pilots Seeking All-Attitude Training (PDF), a document by Rich Stowell. It's available in the Public Documents section of the SAFE website.

You can also find links to providers of stall/spin/upset training through the Council on Unusual Attitude Training & Education (CUATE), an organization dedicated to providing guidance on unusual attitude training techniques and acceptable practices.

Authoritative Stall/Spin Information

Stowell cover The best single source for information about stalls and spins in GA aircraft is Rich Stowell’s book, The Light Airplane Pilot’s Guide to Stall/Spin Awareness.

Stowell covers the history of stall/spin research and training, analyzes the perennial debate about the value of stall/spin training, and, most importantly, offers practical, sound advice about how anticipate and react to stall/spin phenomena in a variety of aircraft. It should be on the reading list of every pilot and flight instructor.