Source: Where Is Your Highest Risk Point For Stall-Spin Accidents? | Boldmethod

Where Is Your Highest Risk Point For Stall-Spin Accidents? By Colin Cutler


Nobody thinks it will happen to them. But before you know it, there you are. Low, slow, and approaching a stall.And how well you react in those few seconds makes all the difference in the world. Often times, it’s the difference between a safe recovery and a fatal crash.

Where Do Stall-Spin Accidents Happen The Most?

The Air Safety Foundation conducted a study of 450 stall-spin accidents from 1993 to 2001 to see where they happened, and how they compared to other types of accidents. And to keep the focus on GA, they only looked at accidents where aircraft weighed less than 12,500 pounds.So where did the accidents happen? At least 80% of them started from an altitude of less than 1000′ AGL.What’s the significance of 1000′ AGL? It’s the traffic pattern altitude at most airports.


That brings up the major problem with stall-spin accidents down low. The altitude loss in a stall recovery for most GA aircraft is estimated to be 100-350 feet. Which, in many cases, gives you enough room to recover from a stall in the pattern.But spins are a whole different animal. In the 1970s, NASA studied altitude loss in spins of several aircraft, one of which was the Piper Arrow.What they found was eye-opening. The Arrow had an average loss of 1,160′ in spin entry through recovery. And, keep in mind, that’s in an aircraft flown by a test pilot.


It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out the problem here. If you’re flying a 1,000′ AGL traffic pattern and you get yourself into a spin, you’re not going to have enough altitude to recover, no matter how quick your reaction, or your recovery technique

Staying Alert, Especially Down Low

This, like most things in aviation, always comes back to the basics.There’s no substitute for flight proficiency. And when things start to fall apart in the pattern, going around and giving yourself another chance is almost always the best option.So the next time you’re flying, climb up to altitude and practice some stalls and slow flight. And if it’s been a long time since you’ve done either, grab an instructor so they can give you feedback on how you did.A little practice and proficiency can go a long way. And it can keep you reading about accident studies like this, instead of becoming one of the NTSB’s statistics.

Become a better pilot. Many thanks to Boldmethod for sharing…