IF Unusual attitudes

Instrument Flying

Unusual Attitudes

Unusual attitude: Causes

  • Unusual attitudes can result from a number of conditions such as:
    • Turbulence.
    • Disorientation.
    • Cockpit duties.
    • Incorrect scan techniques.
    • Incorrect trim.
    • Errors in instruments interpretation.
    • Instrument malfunction.

Unusual attitude: Symptoms

  • Nose up attitude:
    • Altimeter: increasing until stall and then decreasing.
    • Vertical speed indicator: increasing until stall and then decreasing.
    • Airspeed indicator: decreasing.
  • Nose Down attitude:
    • Alitmeter: decreasing.
    • Vertical speed indicator: decreasing.
    • Airspeed indicator: increasing.
  • Spin:
    • Airspeed indicator: decreasing.
    • Altimeter: decreasing.
    • Vertical speed indicator: decreasing.
    • Turn-coordinator is deflected in direction of turn.

Recovery

  • Recovery should be made by reference to the:
    • Airspeed indicator.
    • Turn coordinator.
    • Altimeter.
    • Vertical speed indicator.
  • In moderate unusual attitude it may be possible to establish level flight using the attitude indicator.
  • However in extreme attitude the information shown on the attitude indicator may become unreliable as a reference recovery.
  • Attitude Indicator is accurate until it tumbles.
  • Attitude indicator will tumble if maximum bank or pitch angle is exceeded:
    • ~100-110° Bank.
    • ~60-70° Pitch.

Nose up recovery:

  • Check flight Intrument.
    • Airspeed indicator, if airspeed decrease we are nose up.
    • Turn coordinator for wing level.
    • Altimeter and vertical speed indicator to know how much the altitude increases.
  • Increase power to prevent further loss of airspeed.
  • Simultaneously apply forward elevator pressure to lower the nose to prevent stall.
  • Level the wing by applying coordinated aileron and rudder pressure to centre the turn needle and ball.
  • When the airspeed stops decreasing, you are at or near level flight, stop forward elevator pressure.

Nose down recovery:

  • Check flight Intrument.
    • Airspeed indicator, if airspeed increase we are nose down.
    • Turn coordinator for wing level.
    • Altimeter and vertical speed indicator to know how much the altitude decreases.
  • Reduce power to idle  to prevent excessive airspeed and loss of altitude.
  • Level the wing by applying coordinated aileron and rudder pressures to centre the turn needle and ball.
  • Apply smooth back elevator pressure: to return to level flight.
  • When the airspeed stop increasing, stop the back elevator pressure and climb or level off.

Spin recovery:

  • The spin is the most critical unusual attitude of all because of the disorientation that usually accompanies it.
  • The first requirement for spin recovery is to determine the direction in which the aircraft is spinning.
  • The turn needle of the turn coordinator is the only reliable instrument for this purpose (the ball it’s not accuracy).
    • The turn needle of the turn coordinator will show a deflection in the direction of the spin.
    • The altimeter will show a rapid loss height.
  • To differentiate between a spin and a spiral, check the airspeed.
    • Airspeed will be low (near the stalling speed) in a spin.
    • Airspeed will be high and increasing in a spiral.
  • The recovery procedure:
    • Power idle
    • Neutralize ailerons (ailerons neutral)
    • Apply and hold full rudder opposite to the direction of rotation (if the turn needle is full right apply full left rudder).
    • Move the control column forward to break the stall (full down elevator might be required in some airplanes).
    • Hold these control inputs until the turn needle starts moving back to the centre, indicating that the spin has stopped.
    • Neutralize rudder (needle at or near the centre).
    • Apply back pressure on the control column to ease the aircraft out of the dive.
    • When the airspeed begins to decrease, hold the pitch attitude constant and apply power to resume cruising flight.
    • Keep the turn needle and ball centered with the coordinated control pressures.

Review questions

  • What is the order of control for a nose-high attitude?
  • Which instrument will indirectly tell you the pitch of the aircraft?
  • If we are disoriented what should we do?
  • During the spin recovery after you apply full opposite rudder how can you confirm the rotation has stopped?