Spins and Spin Awareness


This briefing reviews stalls and introduces spin aerodynamics, as well as the procedures required for the successful avoidance of and recovery from a spin condition.


  • aerodynamics
  • considerations
  • awareness
  • recognition & recovery
  • aircraft limitations


  • model aircraft
  • whiteboard and markers
  • laptop with flight simulator (optional; X-Plane preferred)
  • Airplane Flying Handbook 5.11 and 5.13
  • UND standardization manual

Instructor actions

Demonstrate, with whiteboard and flight simulator (or model aircraft), spin aerodynamics and recovery procedures. The guided discussion should teach and evaluate the student's ability to relate the material to real-world situations.

Student actions

Come prepared with AFH 5.11-13 read and homework assignment done, and participate in the guided discussion with responses and questions.

Completion Standards

The lesson will be complete when the student shows a working knowledge of spins and can describe spin recovery procedures with minimal instructor guidance.

Teaching outline


  • why does an aircraft spin, and why is it bad?
  • phases

    • stall: pre-spin, uncoordinated stall
    • incipient: first few unbalanced turns
    • developed: balanced forces, though not necessarily "auto-rotating"
    • recovery: control inputs might take one turn or more to take effect
  • effects of aileron inputs
  • effects of power and flat spins

    • unrecoverable spins


  • spin-prone situations

    • base-to-final, slow uncoordinated flight
  • configurations which worsen spins

    • CG location: forward has easier entry and exit than aft
    • weight: heavy is harder to enter, but harder to exit


  • banked, opposite rudder, full aft elevator
  • enters developed phase after one to two turns
  • orientation by outside references

    • tumbling gyros

recognition and recovery

  • wing drop during a stall indicates stall phase of a spin
  • recover by upsetting the aerodynamically balanced or balancing forces

    1. rudder opposite to counter the spin
    2. controls neutral to avoid aggravating the spin, forward pressure to break stall
    3. throttle to idle to avoid entering a flat spin
    4. rudder normal
    5. controls to maintain level flight
    6. throttle as required

      • flat spins require throttle to idle and any forward cg changes possible
  • the pedal with the most resistance will recover the spin
  • avoid overspeeding in the recovery dive


  • spin approval
  • aircraft category
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