One of the most dangerous flight events that can occur on final approach or takeoff, stalling an aircraft continues to claim the lives of General Aviation (GA) and commercial pilots.
A recent tragedy that was reported via public news outlets, was the death of a 23-year-old licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor, Viktoria Ljungman, of Newport News, Virginia.
Initial reports suggested a student pilot who was piloting the aircraft during a lesson with Ms. Ljungman, was the cause of the accident, accidentally stalling the plane during takeoff.
It will take some time for the official accident report from the NTSB to be released. AOPA Air Safety Institute released a preliminary early analysis and lessons learned briefing on the accident.
Walter Matthews educational article Have no fear, stalls are here! is an excellent source of information to gain a good understanding of the nature of an aerodynamic stall, along with strategies to practice stall recovery techniques during real world flight training.
During my flight training, my instructor, Stan, had me practicing stall recovery techniques on many of our ASK-21 training flights. Practicing stall and spin recovery techniques under the watchful eye of Stan, help ensure that I would take the right corrective actions in the event of a stall.
I recall one training flight with Stan, where I attempted to slip my glider on final approach, to better align the nose of my aircraft with the centerline of the runway. Stan immediately took control of the aircraft, and sternly warned me to never do this maneuver to compensate for a miscalculated base to final approach turn.
That day, I learned that a missed approach procedure was the way to manage such an event, so I could live to talk about the event another day.
The aviation industry and aviator community continue to experience needless pilot and passenger deaths occurring due to stall and spin events. Pilots need to practice takeoff and landing maneuvers, including surprise events, like engine failure, to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities that are occurring.
Can automating more aspects of GA flight save lives? Rather than sounding a stall warning when an aircraft is on the verge of a stall, can an emergency automatic piloting system also engage, taking immediate action to avert loss of flight and control of an aircraft?
Juan Browne, reporting on the Oroville N7641R stall/spin crash incident, provided an excellent instructional video on causes of stalls, spins and recovery techniques.
Flight instructors have reported that Microsoft's Flight Simulator (MSFS) provides good modeling of aircraft stalls and recovery.
MSFS features a large and growing library of aircraft that student pilots can choose from, to practice stall and spin recovery using home PC-based Flight Simulators.
Pilots with Virtual Reality FlightSim rigs can immerse themselves in any number of realistic flight training challenges. These simulated flight training experiences can translate into real-world knowledge and application.