Last December I had a great time doing spins in the Citabria. It was undoubtedly the most fun I had flying, but unless you are doing aerobatic flying, a spin is a situation in which you definitely do not want to get into. A spin is an aggravated stall that results in autorotation where the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. An aircraft can spin as a result of entering an uncoordinated stall. That’s why when practicing stalls it is important to remain coordinated.
What happens in a spin?
In a spin both wings are stalled, however one wing is producing more lift than the other. In a spin the airplane rotates around the vertical axis, where the rising wing is less stalled than the descending wing creating a rolling, yawing and pitching motion all at once.
There are levels to this…
There are four phases in a spin:
The first phase is called the entry phase, here the wing initially starts to drop and where the pilot provides the necessary elements for a spin, either accidentally or intentionally.
The next stage is the incipient stage which is the time from when the airplane stalls and rotation starts until the spin has fully developed. This is usually the first two turns and lasts about 4 to 6 seconds.
After the incipient stage is the developed phase where the spin is in equilibrium and rotation is now stable.
The final stage of a spin the recovery stage where the nose steepens and rotation stops. However, this stage may last from a quarter of a turn to several turns. In this stage the pilot initiates control inputs to disrupt the spin equilibrium by stopping the rotation and stall!
It is important that every pilot knows how to recover from a spin. The general rule is using the PARE method. Which is bring the power to idle, neutralizing the ailerons, applying full opposite rudder and applying forward elevator pressure. However it should be noted that the recovery method for each aircraft is located in that aircraft’s Pilot information Manual.
Check out some cool pics from my spin flight! These are pictures from the developed phase of a spin!