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What is a spin like??

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Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
Just curious. What are they like? Quite a rush?

I am flying 152s and my instructor said that he will probably demonstrate a spin for me sometime shortly. I've done a few stalls, but no spins yet.

If anything...it makes you feel more comfortable in a small airplane. You get to see how much they can really take. At least that was my experience. I know they used to be part of Private Pilot training waaay back when. There's quite a debate as to whether they should be again. I did them as part of CFI training. I don't know if I would have enjoyed them as much during my Private training.

Wait 'til you're a CFI and your student does it for you....lotsa fun.
In Canada it was a requirment for the private license just a few years ago. I'll never forget the first time I had to go practice them solo, :rolleyes: freaked me right out... but as the poster above said once I recovered from it I felt alot more comfortable with the aircraft and just what it would recover from... almost by itself. :D Spiral dives however were only to be attemped with a CFI on board. Odd. :confused: Like I said this was a few years ago, not too sure if its still the same.
While Avbug and I disagree on this topic, I firmly believe that spins should be part of the private pilot syllabus. One cannot understand the rather impressive physical sensations and visual "rush" that accompanies a spin unless they have actually seen one in the air. What's a spin feel like? You're gonna be VERY IMPRESSED! IMHO, no amount of verbal instruction and simple stall recoveries adequately prepare someone for a spin.

Were spins to be included in the required FAA syllabus, would the training accident rate increase as a result? Maybe, but we could address that issue with increased CFI training. Are aircraft certified for multi-turn spins? Nope, but hey--why not simply teach spin entrys or half-turn spins? They would introduce the entry characteristics adequately. "But spins can't necessarily be limited to half a turn!" some would say. Hogwash--aviation cadets were trained for years to recover from spins after exactly one turn, two turns, or even on a specific heading. Don't tell me it can't be done safely.

Would the subsequent number of stall/spin accidents during non-instructional flying also decrease as a result of dedicated spin training? Dunno for sure, but I'd venture to say yes. The stored knowledge of how quickly a spin can develop is well worth it's weight in gold when doing such foolish things as cross-controlling during a final turn or pulling a bit too hard on the yoke during climbout. It has kept me safe thus far--knock on wood!

Let the verbal sparring begin!
First, spins are an aerobatic manuever. The only time that parachutes are not required for this particular aerobatic manuever is when a CFI is receiving spin training. I think you'd have trouble convincing the FAA that your private pilot student is working toward his CFI, and is simply thinking "long term".

They are very cool to do, and a real confidence builder. If you are not in CFI training, go to someone who teaches aerobatics, put on the 'chute and do an hour or two of unusual attitudes and spins. You will feel much more confident about your flying.

We don't disagree all that much; I believe spin recognition and training should be part of the typical private pilot curriculum. However, I believe that instructors should be competent spinners before teaching it. Most instructors have done a few token spins to check a box for their instructor certificate. Take a poll and find out how many are comfortable demonstrating cross controlled entries, and each type of spin. You'll find that most instructors are terrified of spins.

If a spin is exciting, or stresses are encountered during the spin, it's being done wrong, and taught wrong.

What does a spin feel like? Marriage, after the second year.
Well, you get the airplane just about stalling, then kick in hard rudder and yank back!

The most interesting sensation comes in the transition from straight & level to the spin. It feels like you are falling but twisting at the same time. When we did it, it slowly started to roll and quickly started to pitch down.

Once the nose is pointed towards the earth, the roll rate starts to increase rapidly. The first time you see this, it's a little scarry but it strangely feels like you are in straight & level flight. I would say the transition from S&L was more unnerving then seeing the earth spinning in front of you.

Recovery (In a 152) happens almost instantly when the rudder is used, and you will find yourself in a steep dive. Your airspeed goes nuts and you have to be careful not to pitch up to quickly. I added power on recovery too early, and got the rpm's above redline for a second (oops). The biggest sensation you will feel is the G forces. This sensation also was more uncomfortable for me then the spin itself.

After you get into a sufficient climb and your airspeed starts to decay, you add power. That's it!

The best thing about doing spins is that I was verry afraid of stalls. As soon as I did the spin, I had the confidence of knowing I could get out of a stall, and a spin if need be. I'm a lot safer because of it!

If I'm not mistaken, spins were at one time part of PPL training. More were dying in fatal spin training accidents than in real life spins, so they cut it out and went to stall recognition and avoidance. After all, no stall, no spin. Maybe an old timer around here can back me up on that, or refute it.

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