October 2018 Issue

Separation Anxiety

How we think about airspeed, stalls and stall warnings while maneuvering may have a major role in loss-of-control accidents.

If there were some way I could make a series of trips back in time to change things, one of the stops on my itinerary would be to somehow infiltrate the small cadre of early pilots and airplane designers to convince them to use a word other than “stall” to describe what happens when a wing exceeds its critical angle of attack. The word obviously has numerous other applications, and using it for this purpose has confounded student pilots and television news anchors ever since. That said, I’m not sure what should replace it, and remain open to suggestions.

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