Safety Stuff

Spin Training Issues

From the Facebook page of the Australian Transport Safety Board: “The ATSB is advising aerobatic pilots and instructors of the limitations of the Meuller/Beggs spin recovery method for some aircraft types, after an investigation into an aerobatics training flight accident on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.”

The report is available here https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/news-items/2022/spin-recovery/

The issues are broader and deeper than noted in their Safety Advisory Notice. Read my discussion paper below – feedback is welcomed.

Spin Accidents

In my presentation to that UPRT conference below I made a couple of recommendations regarding the training of spin instructors.

“Opinion: Instructors should know
– more than the characteristics of just one type
– about aggravated spin modes in addition to flat”

I referred to the EASA requirements for spin knowledge and competency for their UPRT instructors which goes signiificantly beyond what CASA requires for a spin training endorsement. I also referred to this ATSB Report AO-2017-096. “The flight instructor …. did not teach the method to recover from a developed spin that was appropriate … The spin recovery methods taught by the flying school were inconsistent across instructors and training material, and were not always appropriate for the Chipmunk aircraft type used by the school. The approval for the accident aircraft’s flight manual had been revoked, and the flight manual in use lacked the spin recovery instructions.”

This ATSB Report AO-2021-025 published shortly after that conference emphasises my recommendations. The ATSB issued this Safety Advisory Notice to aerobatic pilots and instructors. SAN AO-2021-025-SAN-001 as follows:

“The ATSB strongly encourages all aerobatic pilots and aerobatics flight instructors to be aware:

  • the Mueller/Beggs method of spin recovery does not recover all aircraft types from a spin
  • the Mueller/Beggs spin recovery method limitations should be emphasised during spin theory training
  • the Mueller/Beggs method of spin recovery will not recover a Cessna A150 Aerobat or similar variants from a spin in some circumstances
  • they should review the pilot’s operating handbook of the aircraft type that they intend to operate for the recommended spin recovery technique
  • prior to doing spins in any model aircraft, they should obtain instruction and/or advice in spins from an instructor who is fully qualified and current in spinning that model.”

I already include the above in my training for spinning and aerobatics. Furthermore, my trainees for a flight instructor spin training endorsement have received much information related to that SAN. All of my instructor trainees receive a copy of the Cessna Spin Document.

Back in 1975 the FAA published Flight Instructor Bulletin No. 18 in conjunction with Cessna and their document on spinning. It arose from reports of flight instructors having difficulty in recovering from spins in the Cessna 150. The FAA assessed the spin behaviour of a number of examples of the 150 then an FAA officer went around flight schools to address it with instructors.

The NTSB commented on this: “Detailed investigation by the FAA, however, disclosed that problems were related to operational vagaries or anomalies, inadequate knowledge regarding the precise spin recovery procedures for the aeroplane, improper application or misapplication of recovery controls, apprehension, and confusion.

The FAA decided it was necessary to sponsor a stall/spin clinic for instructors run by the US Association of Flight Instructors in 1978. Perhaps this is what is needed in Australia now?

The 2022 UPRT Providers Conference

See http://uprtconference.com/ Special thanks to Paul Strike of https://www.facebook.com/badattitudeadvancedflighttraining/ who convened it. Thanks to the sponsors. Thanks to Rich Stowell and the other presenters. CASA will provide access to a video of the whole event – more later on that and the outcome.

The slides of my presentation are provided here:

Let’s Discuss Accident Case Studies

Let’s Discuss Helmets

Let’s Discuss Parachutes

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