February 2000 Issue

What a Pushover

Unloading the wing can prevent a stall or spin, but only if you’re aggressive enough

The fear of stalls has led many pilots to grief. As they pad their airspeed to avoid stalling in the pattern, for example, they set themselves up for a poor approach and a less-than-optimal landing. Hounded over the years to avoid a low-altitude stall that can lead to a fatal spin, some pilots fear stalls like the plague.

There is no doubt that pilots should have a healthy respect for stalls, but they need not live in terror. Understanding stall factors can mean the difference between extracting the maximum capabilities from the airplane’s flight envelope and just getting average performance.

Every pilot has learned, from the first days of pilot training, that an airplane in a bank h...

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