Sunday, February 23, 2014

Small Percentages

In commercial and private turbine operations accident rates are so low today it is difficult to get managers or chief pilots to take the need for safety improvement seriously. So what if LOC-I accounts for nearly half of today's accidents. We are not likely to have any kind of accident period! So goes the unspoken reasoning.

It seems to these folks that UPRT is "not worth the effort." 

The cost, however small statistically, is in terms of human life. If you fly alone its your choice. If innocents fly with you however, you owe it to them to take all reasonable steps to reduce accident liklihood to zero. UPRT is a proven means toward that goal. Is your own laziness, fear, or cheapness holding you or your organization back from engaging in that training? Good luck! I hope you never have to explain that.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Is upset Recovery Training dangerous?

Why would it be? 
Upset Recovery training is NOT airshow flying. It is not done anywhere near the ground. Accidental collision with the ground is not on the radar!

Upset Recovery training is NOT competition aerobatics. There is no reason to stress the aircraft to near its certified G limits. Structural failure is not at all likely.

What about mid air collision? We do reverse direction rapidly and climb and descend a lot. A good instructor will constantly and seriously clear the area. He should always avail him or herself of radar flight following. If these are done midair is probably less likely than in most other general aviation flying where clearing is often done in a cursory fashion if at all.

What about the risk of fire as we put stress on tanks, lines and fittings? We wear chutes. We do not have to stay with a burning aircraft to landing. We seriously train aircraft egress and the use of chutes. A decent Upset Recovery instructor simply must do that!

All in all Upset Recovery training is probably safer than what you normally do in your aircraft!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Full aft Stick or Yoke ... a Panic Reaction

Is Colgan Air the only example of a professional pilot reacting in panic to a stall or stall warning, pulling the controls aft, and locking the airplane hopelessly in a stalled state until ground contact?

Hardly: West Caribbean MD-82 in 2005, Air France A-330 in 2009, Pinnacle CRJ-200 in 2004, Air New Zealand A-320 2008. Shocking isn't it? Understanding of the stall and practice of full stalls and oscillation stalls (in appropriate aircraft) is part of proper upset recovery training. Understanding comes and, most importantly, fear leaves. What pilot in his "right mind" would have caused these accidents? Pilots with panicked minds did. What a shame and an embarrassment.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fear and LOC-I

Can a pilot's fear cause an accident? Absolutely yes. Colgan Air 3407, Buffalo 2009. The aircraft is flying at 8 degrees angle of attack, nowhere near the stall. The stall warning activates, in part because the ref speeds switch on the ice protection panel was (properly) placed in the increase position, for the threat of icing. The pilot's panic reaction was to pull the controls aft with 37 punds of force inducing a stall and roll off. Eventually his panic drives him to apply a 160 pound aft pull force.

This pilot took an aircraft that was flying perfectly well and, reacting in panic to a (conservative) stall warning, induced a stall and loss of control. He did not need to be placed in an unusual attitude to panic. The mere warning that he MIGHT be placed in such an attitude in the near future was enough to panic him, causing the death of all on board and one on the ground!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Not very Likely"

"We didn't decide on upset recovery training because it's expensive and it's not a very likely thing." Heard that recently from a major corporate flight department. Not very likely?? Boeing's "Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Aircraft Accidents" shows LOC-I as the most common fatal accident cause between 2003 and 2012, resulting in almost twice (1648 vs. 971) as many fatalities as the next most common cause, CFIT. Statistics for general aviation show the same thing.

Not very likely? Maybe if you never fly to airports where bigger aircraft land. Maybe if you never fly near mountains. Maybe if you are personally able to accurately forecast windshear. (Great talent! Care to share it?) Maybe if you never suffer an autopilot or flight control malfunction or make any of a host of mistakes your fellow pilots seem to be able to make, from private pilots to astronauts.

Yup! Not very likely. Sort of like an actual engine failure at V1. We don't spend much money training for that, do we? 

Not very likely? Nonsense! What is really going on is; we're afraid of something we know nothing about. Which is precisely why it may kill us!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


IS-BAO ...  What is it? The International Standard for Business Aviation Operations put out by the International Aviation Business Council, IBAC. What does this standard say about Upset Recovery Training? Until 2014 it was not mentioned. In the 2014 version of the standard it has become a "recommended practice." That's great news!

ICATEE, the International Committee on Aircraft Training in Extended Envelopes has been very clear in its publications that Upset Recovery training in actual aircraft is a vital component of the solution to the hazard of LOC-I. Go to the link for ICATEE on the Contacts and Links page of the website for more info about this hard working committee that tells it like it is!
(website is: )

Fortunately the ICATEE committee includes experts in the practice of upset recovery training in real aircraft such as APS and CALSPAN. As a result their recommendations have teeth in them.