I can't believe I spun a Cessna 172 twice! Now I'm checkride shy.

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Vincent Carbonara, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Update 2/23/20: my instructor confirmed that I actually was in a spin and not a wing drop. At 2 rotations in, he did intervene. Yesterday, I practiced power ons with the cfi until I was comfortable. Then we did incipient spin recovery until I was comfortable with those. Basically we did a power-on stall and he told me to maintain heading only using ailerons. Wing dropped and saw the ground then he told me to recover which I did successfully a few times. Feel a lot better and more comfortable about this now.

    Some background: I live in the Chicago land area. I'm 48 years old. Weather in the winter make checkride scheduling a repetitive task in my humble opinion. My CFI said I was ready for my checkride in September 2019. I scheduled my checkride about 4 times and it was cancelled all 4 times. It was cancelled the first 2 times because the DPE was sick. Then it was cancelled due to weather. Then it was cancelled because the aircraft had an issue and had to go in for maintenance.

    Due to vacation time I had scheduled and bad weather, I finally was able to go up on Feb 17, 2020 with a CFI to see what I was weak on. My last flight was Dec. 29, 2019. I actually inadvertently spun a Cessna 172S 180HP while trying to perform a power-on stall recovery. In my over 100 hours worth of training, I NEVER was in a spin situation. I actually froze a bit and my CFI had to recover. My CFI asked me if I was ok to do it again and I said yes. After he demonstrated the power-on stall recovery, I tried it again and yet again I inadvertently entered the same left spin and was again shocked and CFI had to recover again. He demonstrated what I was doing wrong and showed me how to recover from the spin. I then tried the power-on stall again and it was not perfect but better than the spin I was in before (lol).

    I will say this: We are all taught the (P)ower idle (A)ilerons neutral (R)udder opposite the spin (E)levator forward to break the spin acronym and I had it memorized. But I completely froze when I was confronted with that situation. Also some folks say that it's hard to get a Cessna 172 to spin. After this experience, I wholeheartedly disagree.

    After the flight, my CFI says to go ahead and schedule my checkride. I was confused because I thought for sure I should not even think about it until the power-on stall recovery maneuver was solid. My CFI said that it's good to schedule the checkride now since DPEs are scheduling a month or more out. He said by that time I should be good to go and was just a little rusty right now on that specific maneuver. I called him the next day asking if he offered spin recovery training. He said that he did offer it and I was a safe pilot to ask for that kind of training. He again asked me if I had scheduled my checkride yet but I told him that I felt a little gun shy doing so since I froze during the spin both times. He said spin training is not a required for the Private certificate and to focus on the PPL before taking the spin training. Of course, he didn't mind offering it before the PPL but it's just not a requirement for it.

    Just curious what are your thoughts on this situation. Is this unusual? Have you ever been in a similar situation and froze? Am I right to be a little checkride shy?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  2. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    Schedule the checkride. Fly as often as possible, practicing all the maneuvers to ACS standards.
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Work on coordination and get the maneuver down pat. If you spin it during the check ride, it’s over, at least that’s how mine was.
     
  4. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    It's hard to get a 172 to enter a fully developed spin. Especially power off. Power-on is another story, yes. Also, perhaps, you were in the incipient spin regimen.

    But be that as it may, I would not be so quick to do the check ride. What I would recommend you do is get some spin training. Get comfortable spinning an airplane and recovering from a spin. Spins are fun.
     
  5. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    What they said.

    Really though, I sincerely doubt you were actually in a spin. I've seen students bungle up power on stalls just about every way possible and yes, I believe you allowed a wing to fall over and you probably saw a lot of ground, I kind of doubt you were actually spinning. It's my experience that if you intend to spin a 172, you must hold in full pro spin inputs to allow it to begin to develop, and then at any point you can pretty much just let go and it'll recover. With that said, I encourage you to get some spin training and learn to recover from some fully developed spins.

    And I'm certain your CFI is already hammering this into your head...but keep the ball in the center, and if you end up with a low wing, pick it up with opposite rudder. Fly safe.
     
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  6. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    You spun the airplane in your private check ride?
     
  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    No - he said IF you spin it, it’s over.
     
  8. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    How many rotations? I have seen a Youtube video where a guy who was practicing stalls said he got into a spin and it was just a wing drop.
     
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  9. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Was the spin to right, clockwise? I have seen that many times and it is caused by some negative habit transfer from driving cars...

    What were you doing with your feet?
     
  10. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    OP says left spin.
     
  11. Briar Rabbit

    Briar Rabbit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Spin accidents that occur close to the ground can quickly end in fatalities. The ability to recognize them and quick recovery techniques are important. My opinion - get the spin training before going for the check ride until you enjoy doing spins and feel comfortable with them. You will not feel confident until you do. And confidence is important for your ride.
     
  12. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Just step on the high wing.

    People over complicate and put fear into things sadly.

    One of the reasons it’s best to do no stress spins and falling leaf stalls pre solo.


    Actually, doing some falling leaf stalls where you hold the yoke back and neutral and just step on the high wing, walking the plane down, that might make you feel better

     
  13. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Wow! That kind of looked like fun! I was reacting the same way she was while watching the video. I can see how valuable the falling leaf is in practicing rudder inputs. I'll ask my CFI if we can do this.
     
  14. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You, or at least your CFI should be able to tell what is going wrong in your stall recovery to enter the incipient phase of a spin. If you can't fly often, you can practice stall and spin recovery in any chair, for free. It sounds like you're holding back pressure, and possibly leaving throttle in. Were you not debriefed on what went wrong?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  15. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    To be perfectly honest, I don't remember the number of rotations. However on the second "spin", I do remember that I couldn't tell which way it was spinning since it was happening so fast or at least it seemed like it was fast to me. I wasn't sure what rudder input I had to use which made me freeze even more. I remember what my CFI was telling me to do during that phase which was PARE but me not acting on it because I was so surprised and shocked about being in that situation in the first place. After reading more on this, it makes sense that if my left wing dropped and started rotating, I should have stepped on my right rudder more than I was.
     
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    If you're afraid of entering or recovering from a spin, go get the spin training. Now.
    Master it.
    Otherwise you won't really be in command of the plane, as you will always lack confidence. And that's not a good place to be as a pilot.

    I did 3 spins in a 150 on my fam flight, the first inadvertent during a power off stall demonstration. One wing dropped and I instinctively went full opposite aileron. Did many dozens of them after I soloed. My instructor got cross with me because I wasn't advancing my training; I spent too many solo flights doing nothing else but spinning the plane after flying to the practice area. Lots of fun.
     
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  17. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Heads UP to the OP!

    Please ask to go up ONE MORE TIME with your CFI and do the EXACT same POWER ON STALLS at LEAST 3 times .... then ... have your CFI demonstate and YOU PERFORM the SAME power on stall with a 20* BANK angle.

    My test was back in 2007, but when the DPE gave me the "Power on stall request and make sure you have a 20* bank with it" .... yes I saw it in the PTS, but we never PRACTICED power on stalls with a bank. I did fine, but I was absolutely making sure that ball was centered. DPE joked that if I wanted to kick that rudder and recover the spin he'd pass me right there (he was joking of course).
     
  18. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, I see that now. I guess it was what he wasn't doing with his feet...
     
  19. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for your reply. Not really looking for advice specifically but sometimes you feel that you're the only guy who managed to get a C172 in that kind of predicament especially with 100 hours of training (It's taking longer for me due to being a weekend warrior and living near Chicago). I guess I'm looking for reassurance to be completely honest and to see if others were in a similar predicament.
     
  20. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Update: I went ahead and scheduled the checkride. Worst case scenario: if I feel I'm not ready to do so as that day draws near, I'll simply postpone it. Thanks for replying!
     
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  21. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Pretty sure the spin was to the left. CFI said I wasn't holding enough right rudder. During the power-on stall, I was pulling back trying to force the stall to break. I think I also kept it in even after the left wing dropped and eventually let go of the yoke when I was pointing what seemed to be straight down (so that my instructor would have no resistance from me in saving us :D ).
     
  22. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    best of luck, just practice it with your cfi... this stuff doesn't come natural or we wouldn't need to be taught how...
     
  23. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Although I have yet to enter a spin, it was something I was/am concerned about practicing power on stalls. I'm not sure how helpful an acronym is for the recovery actions in such an intense situation. I'm not a CFI but I think the most important thing is to remember the first action without having to think. Unintentional spin = power back. In most training planes, if you pull back the power you are 80% of the way to recovering. If you aren't confident you can get yourself through a 4 step checklist the moment you are jerked into a spin, at least convince yourself you can cut the power by pulling back on the throttle. While you are doing that you are hopefully reducing your control inputs so you are working your way towards step 2 automatically. By the time you have pulled the power back and have stopped pushing the yoke in any particular direction, you've had enough time to start to interpret how the world is turning around you. As is the case with other extreme maneuvers, use your feet to make the bad stuff stop.

    You need confidence that if it happens again you will know to pull the power back. If you do, you'll likely succeed in moving the controls towards neutral. At this point you don't have multiple steps to worry about... you just need to steer with your feet which you can obviously do. Once you have started pressing on the correct rudder pedal, you will be out of the spin and will just need to recover from the stall which you should be able to do instinctively when coordinated.
     
  24. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Okay, I re-read your post and I was fixating on the spin and not the fact that you were able to do power on stalls again.

    Put in as many hours as you can the week before the check ride. 100 hours may seem like a lot but the number of hours in the past 30 or so days is more important. It wasn't until my CFI said I was ready, and I flew 4 consecutive days in a row before my check ride that I was ready to pass. Good luck on your ride.

    Others do get into similar predicaments. Myself included. I porpoised a 152 pretty bad. No damage but I bounced so hard it scared the crap out of me, it also launched me into the air so high doing a go-around was easy.
     
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  25. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Unfortunately, you're a victim of modern flight training. It sounds like your fear of what could (and did) result from a botched power-on stall attempt produced a "survival reaction". This means your brain shut down and you physically locked up. Not to worry, you experienced a portion of the fight envelope that your training ill-equipped you for. IMO, a licensed pilot should not be prone to locking up and failing to recover a simple power on stall. This is not a knock on you. I would suggest you seek quality 3rd-party dedicated spin training outside of your current flight school/training environment. This will likely be in an aerobatic airplane. Once you do enough spins off all types and entries, your brain will be conditioned to avoid this survival reaction brain death zone such that you anticipate and calmly apply the required inputs needed. Modern stall avoidance training does not help with this. Link below has some contacts you can start with.

    http://www.iac.org/aerobatic-flight-schools/usa/IL
     
  26. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Like James said, step on the high wing, in a 172 I'd just neutralize the ailerons and unstall the wing. Keep the ball centered during the manuever use as much rudder as it takes, don't be shy. Even if you do everything right sometimes a wing will drop, step on the high wing, easy on the ailerons, make the wing fly again.

    Edit. Fricken auto correct.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  27. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Should have also added, a wing won’t stall at 0g

    For spin training don’t go blow money on a extra 300 or some silliness, find a plane that most resembles what you’re actually going to fly, I’d just go do all that in a 172 loaded to be OK for spins (check POH).
     
  28. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    I've found that poorly rigged aircraft are far easier to spin than those rigged correctly.
     
  29. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Doesn't matter. A quarter turn inadvertent incipient spin is still an inadvertent spin which should not be happening during a stall/recovery.

    @Vincent Carbonara, I had something similar happen with a student when I was a wet-behind-the-ears CFI. The difference in this case was it was a right spin (failed to neutralize rudder at the break). The fix for us was remaining near the point of the stall rather than a complete recovery sequence. We would lower the nose at the stall just enough to break the stall and then raise it again, stall-unstall-stall-unstable-stall-unstall, dancing appropriately on the rudders to maintain coordination. Sort of the power-on version of a falling leaf stall, with much the same purpose-developing rudder feel and control.

    It is your Instructor’s judgment which controls, but if he hasn't heard of doing something like these, it might be an idea to pass along.
     
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  30. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    My point was I have seen people call a wing drop (similar to the video posted above) a spin not claiming that was what the OP experienced.

    I would also say in that video the pilot needs to make smaller corrections sooner with the rudder don't wait until the wing drops off so far. You see it going a little one way give it some rudder goes the other way give it some other rudder. You really start to lose it let go of the yoke (at least in a 172) and it will likely fly out of it.
     
  31. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    You are correct, there is a widespread idea that if you stall with the ball off at all and the wing drops, then that's a spin entry. It's probably not in most GA trainer types unless you are fully deflecting both the elevator and rudder and holding it. Otherwise it's probably a wing drop or possible spiral entry and you can of course simply level the wings after performing normal stall recovery. In any case, a pilot should get whatever training is needed to avoid freezing or responding inadequately.
     
  32. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    @Vincent Carbonara where are you training out of? I’m near 3CK - Lake in the Hills. I have scared myself and a few CFIs. No worries. I incipient spun a Cherokee 140 in training which FREAKED my CFI out (he said they’re notoriously difficult to break out of a spin - never got close again). I have intentionally and unintentionally spun a 172 (and a Pitts and Dekathlon) all with a CFI.

    Ask for/seek out that training. It becomes fun. When I get back into the air I’m going to renew that training (the longer it’s been since you’ve done it, the scarier it (and rustier you) become).
     
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  33. crash7

    crash7 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It you’re doing power on stalls with a right bank (up to 20 degrees), and actually holding in the right rudder you need, don’t forget to relax some of that right foot as you lower the nose during the recovery.
    I see people lock that right leg forward, then recover and are now commanding a yaw to the right. Over we go that way.

    Keep dancing on the pedals...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  34. WDD

    WDD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My first thought is . you spun a Skyhawk? What a blast! I'd love to be allowed to do that.

    As far as your question - yes, schedule the check ride. Fly as much as you can with your CFI. Work on spin recovery so you're not thinking about it. Work on stalls so you're not worried about it.
     
  35. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Tell your CFI the incipient or real spin shook your confidence a bit.

    Have them do a few more with you. Move feet faster. Step on the high wing or “step on the sky”. Skyhawks make for lazy feet.

    If they said you’re ready, you’re ready. Don’t let this new thing shake your confidence in all your other skills you’ve learned. It’s fairly common for folks to freeze at first on the airplane doing something they’ve never seen it do. Adrenaline dumps are fun, eh? Locked right up solid. LOL.

    As others have mentioned, given the opportunity go get spin training for real and you’ll have seen it lots, and it won’t be a freeze inducing thing anymore. But honestly if you just get your feet moving with another flight of power on stalls... you can do it after the checkride.

    The falling leaf is the usually taught easy way to connect feet to brain, as James mentioned. You’ll need more rudder than you think the slower you go. Remember low airflow, surfaces aren’t as effective... :) Which is why the technique works so well to get feet moving.
     
  36. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    In a Skyhawk(or c150/152) I’ve found that in a power on stall the best way to avoid that wing from dropping on you is to keep your ailerons neutral and focus on the front of the cowling keeping it from rotating left or right with your rudders ONLY...
     
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  37. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi Vincent.
    If your CFI said you are ready to go, you are READY go for it. That amount of time between flights is too long, try to go at least 2-3 times a week before the ride.
    It is very likely that it was not a spin but more of steep wing drop, which occurs if you enter uncoordinated in a stall, in particular in power on.
    The entry should be ball in the center, pitch up Slowly, stay coordinated, pitch up slowly until it breaks, typically Power On it's done to imminent not full stall, ask your instructor. To recover in most cases all you need to do is relax the pitch and step on the high wing.
    Again keep flying and if your CFI thinks you are ready, you are ready, he knows more about you than you know.
     
  38. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did an exercise with my CFI when I was training power-on stalls. I would do the maneuver ok to ACS standards and asked "why so much right-rudder and why coordination is important". Then he had me do a power-on stall and keep the wings level using just ailerons... wow, what a difference. We had the left wing drop like a rock and suddenly I was looking up and seeing the ground.
    Recovery took longer and a few Gs... he had me do it a couple of times so I understood how to recover properly.
    It was not a spin though, but pretty dramatic nose down and wing drop.
     
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  39. Vincent Carbonara

    Vincent Carbonara Filing Flight Plan

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    Yeah maybe you’re right. Still pretty scary but yet something small inside me sort of enjoyed it when I did it a 3rd time. Lol
     
  40. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Mental break - don't try to remember everything you have to do at once. Just do the first one.

    If you spin again, the first action to take is to reduce power. So do it without trying to figure out the next thing. Taking the first action will calm you down, then you'll do the second one.

    Had this in the navy during casualty drills (and the inevitable real casualty). Guys would freeze trying to figure out the next 3 things to do. When everything just turned upside down, do the first thing first. Worry about the second thing after that.