Author Topic: What the Heck??? (stalls) - Stall Anxiety  (Read 5931 times)

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What the Heck??? (stalls) - Stall Anxiety
« on: June 07, 2011, 02:39:37 AM »
After a period of financial ground-boundedness, I have enough money scraped together and in my account to finish up my PPL. Went through my night cross country without a hitch...
though there was a 40kt wind at 1000AGL, and six on the ground. Woot!
Didn't bother me, though. Got through the flight, all the landings including a couple at LIT with the tower, no problem. All I have left now is .7 of hood time and a couple hours pre-checkride
prep. Landings are good, ground reference maneuvers are good, slow flight is good, procedures and navigation, check.

Minor problem. A new development has turned up with me, and that's a sudden fear of stalls. Didn't have the problem before, during the earlier stages of training, and even had no problem with
unusual attitude recovery. But, recently, on my first pre-checkride flight, we practiced a couple simple stalls, one approach and a departure. The approach stall kinda caught me by the throat a little, but it was over soon and I had no real technical problem recovering. The departure stall, with full power (in a C172M), had my heart jumping up into my throat. I completed the recovery fine, but felt that
I was within a hair's breadth of freezing up. Why in the world would I suddenly be afraid of what is probably one of the safest maneuvers during training? That's partially a rhetorical question, as I know that an airplane is most comfortable when it's actually *flying*, and any deviation from that can be somewhat nerve wracking, but I don't remember ever having that particular reaction to stalls before.

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 10:21:40 PM »
I do have one theory, though. My instructor has a habit of hovering over the controls, and while I intellectually know that what we're doing is
perfectly safe, his hands and feet are telling my subconscious otherwise. Does that sound valid?

Offline G-man

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 03:35:36 AM »
Find another instructor---my guess is he/she is not 100% confident or comfortable with stalls hence the "hovering on the controls". Go fly with someone who can put you in, and get you out of a stall in their sleep. I suspect sub concioulsy you have adopted your instructors fear.....
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 03:45:46 AM »
Well that sucks. I've always loved flying, couldn't get enough of it, but I've found myself casting about for excuses not to go.
When I'm going solo, I'm fine. But, everything I have left is dual, the pre checkride prep.

Since we're moving to Alabama, if I'm going to change instructors anyway, I think I'll want to just get my stuff together and pick up
with someone else in Bama. I understand there are a couple guys at the Bessemer airport with their own planes who have a good
bit of experience behind 'em.
 
Ol' Mike Nelson, formerly of Central Flying Service, was a peach. When I replaced the engine in one of the Katanas, he went with me on
the required checkout flight, and had his arms crossed the whole time. I had almost no time at all, but felt like I could take on the world.
Unfortunately, he moved.

Offline tundra_flier

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 01:27:20 AM »
If at all possible, find an instructor that speciallizes in Aerobatics or unusual attitudes.  After and hour of doing stalls in every possible variation, departure, approach, turning, accellerated and even spins, you'll learn to love them and go out and practice them for fun.   ;D

I did a young eagles flight once, and the little girl I took up tuned out to have lots of time in the back of cessna 207's going to visit grandma in the village.  So she wanted to do "wHoop de doo's".  so I pulled the power and did a gentle stall.  She loved it!  So pushed the power in, pulled the nose up 45 degrees, pulled the power and just let it hang there for a moment before the nose dropped in a free fall.  Again, she loved it.  Since that old straight tail 150 was rated for them, I was sorely tempted to do a spin next, but aerobatics are forbidden on YE flights.  In hind sight I wish I'd done it anyway.   :-\  Stalls are fun.   ::wave::

Offline Baradium

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2011, 08:58:40 AM »
What part of Alabama are you moving to?    A former professor of mine has a tiny flight school in Middle Tennessee.  He's really good, but he doesn't do piecemeal stuff though so you'd have to have time to go up there and fly until you had your license (doesn't sound to me like it should take very long at all).
"Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground, and I won't back down"
  -Johnny Cash "I won't back Down"

Offline Fabo

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 03:46:40 PM »
Stalls are fun. Spin... that I didnt like much. Even though I was advised we are going to spin, it was over at two turns before I realised what was going on and what should I have had done had I been flying.

Anyway thanks for reminding me to do an unashamed self-plug and post the video, expect it in some other thread soon :)
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 04:04:01 AM »
We're moving into the Birmingham area. The Bessemer airport, I understand, has a couple guys with planes who do instruction, and there's a flight school at the Shelby County airport in Alabaster. One of their part time instructors is also a checkride examiner I believe.
I have options, and while I feel bad about dropping out at my current FBO, sometimes ya just gotta know when to pack it up and find someone else.

Offline Fabo

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2011, 03:43:07 PM »
Birmingham... I think a friend lived there for a while coupla years ago. She was quite surprised I knew where the place was. Funny what flightsimming can teach you ::type:: (unless you are Chuck, as we can see in current strip...)
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

Offline Artoo

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 03:44:56 AM »
spacer, I just finished my PPL (10/12/11 WHOOP! WHOOP!), and was somewhat in your situation as far as maneuvers being a thing of the past and so the refresher brought back the fear of the departure stall, once I had the configuration memorized my instructor had me do it several times in a row.  What helped me though WAS my timidity, because I would fly the stall horn (at 4000' AGL)  I would put the nose up like 15-18 wait for the speed to burn off, then hold that full power setting and adjust my pitch just to keep the stall horn on, this also challenged me to maintain coordinated flight.  And since I knew I could fly in that "unusual attitude", I also knew I could make the departure stall happen at a time of my choosing by just pitching up slightly.  Power on stalls now make me feel like Sean D. Tucker  ;D
Stay on target!

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 06:59:21 PM »
Congrats on the PPL! I've been out of touch for a while, still at the same place in my training. Right now it's about money and time. I'm At Herzing U, working on a Network Admin diploma, so hopefully, before too long, I can afford to get back behind the prop.

Hope everyone is doing well. I gotta go back and cram more for tomorrow's A+ tests.
 ::cowboy::

Offline Mike

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Re: What the Heck??? (stalls)
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 11:43:45 PM »
Way to spend a Sunday, eh?

Good luck with the test!

 ::wave::


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Offline Aerophile

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Stall Anxiety
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 07:39:00 PM »
I read a fairly recent post (longer than 120 days old and it suggested I start a new topic, so I did) where a student was struggling with a fear of stalls.  I have prepared several students for all kinds of checkrides and stall anxiety is a common thing I see regardless of whether they are preparing for a private, instrument, or commercial checkride.  CFI student's however usually ease up a bit when it comes to stalls after they do their required spin training... but then they sometimes become apprehensive when it comes to spins.

Anyway, there are a few things that I have learned about stall anxiety.  In some cases the CFI can be to blame, but more often than not the only thing the CFI is at fault for is not identifying the problem.  Heck, even the CFI might be apprehensive to stalls.  Not because he/she is afraid of stalling, but because he doesn't know how well the student is going to recover. 

Entry

Tunnel vision during the stall maneuver seems to be one of the major players that causes stall anxiety.  When a student begins the maneuver, they typically begin to focus either straight ahead out the window or fixate on their airspeed indicator.  This causes a loss of situational awareness about the three axis.  My advice is to keep your head outside and look toward your wing tips for pitch and bank information (in addition to the occasional glance toward the airspeed indicator).  If you fixate straight ahead, all you will see is blue sky and will likely loose whatever ground references you had. (Similar things happen in slow flight.) Let me elaborate just a little further...

Power-off stalls are not so much a problem with anxiety as power-on stalls.  In a power-off stall, the airplane stalls at a lower pitch angle (same angle of attack due to flap extension) than a power-on stall.  Also, because of the idle power setting the airplane needs less rudder input and is less likely to break in one direction or another (less torque, p-factor, and slipstream).  Due to the lower pitch angle, the student can still look straight ahead with his eyes outside of the airplane and see some horizon.  That little bit of horizon, or a lot of horizon depending on your training airplane, will still give you enough situational awareness (whether you're aware of it or not) to determine pitch and bank without looking at your instruments.

In a power-on stall, you have full power (or close to it if you're in an advanced trainer), high torque, high p-factor, high slipstream, and a higher pitch attitude (flaps retracted this time) than you did in a power-off stall. If you fixate straight ahead of the airplane, all you see is blue sky.  You lose all of your ground references.  Keep your eyes outside, use your wingtips as a pitch and bank references, and every now and then peek at your airspeed as you approach the stall.

Stall

One big error I see a lot, is that students tend to release back pressure too early as they approach the stall.  This gives them a false sense of the buffet.  This is especially problematic in aircraft with subtler stall characteristics such as the Diamond DA20.  When the airplane stalls, you should have the yoke/stick aft.

Recovery

This one should be pretty common sense, but I'm going to mention it anyway because I see it all the time.  Use your rudder.  The airplane will typically break in one direction or another after the initial stall.  For example, when I had a fleet of C-152s there was one that had a dent on the leading edge of the right wing.  I always knew which way that airplane was going to break in a stall.  If a wing drops quicker than the other, use opposite rudder to keep the wings level.  You don't have to jam on the rudder as if you're doing a leg press.  Just use enough rudder pressure to keep the wings level.  How will we know if our wings are level? Look outside.  Don't fixate on your instruments... assuming you're doing these in VMC and not under the hood.

Last thing I'm going to mention.  If you're suddenly anxious about stalls, or any other maneuver for that matter, as you approach your checkride it may not be anxiety associated with a maneuver.  You may have checkride jitters.  Take a mock checkride with an instructor you've never flown with before to evaluate your readiness for the checkride.  Have the new-to-you instructor meet with your primary instructor to discuss where you need to improve your confidence.

Like I said, these are just a few common things I've noticed students have trouble with when they're performing stalls.  Hopefully you'll find them helpful.

Offline Fabo

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Re: Stall Anxiety
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 09:25:23 PM »
Hello, thanks for heeding the recommendation, however I will go ahead and merge the threads anyway, so any newcomers can read the original story and your reply in one place ::wave::
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

Offline Aerophile

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Re: Stall Anxiety
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 03:04:33 PM »
Hello, thanks for heeding the recommendation, however I will go ahead and merge the threads anyway, so any newcomers can read the original story and your reply in one place ::wave::

Thanks.  Cool avatar picture btw