speaking of stalls


Well-Known Member
I finally hit the famous stalls lesson the other day. Am i the only one who has the nasty habit of pitching down as soon as the nose drops when you stall? That definetly kept my instructor awake! The thing that was annoying is that i proceeded to do it like 3 times in a row even though im telling myself not to. Finally I managed to do dirty stalls and full power stalls without pitching forward but I think I still need more practice to make sure that nasty habit doesnt remain with me and i break it.

I think my habit may be from the incorrect perception that a stall is alot more drastic than it really is. Before reading up on them i thought a stall would be when you pitch up about 20 degrees and then the nose drops into a complete nosedive where you are heading straight to the ground pretty much. I was almost shocked when i discovered that you can actually stall without losing much if any alt at all.

I guess the best thing from that lesson was that it was the first time i didnt feel at all qweezy during the flight and my CFI even whipped out a high wing turn in there.

woulda gone up today but we have a high wind warning here in colorado. darn!
Yeah, you have to be careful not to point the nose into the ground. You really just need to level the nose with the horizon, and that combined with the application of full power will be enough to break a stall in most aircraft. Concentrate on losing the smallest possible amount of altitude between the time that you stall to the time that you attain positive rate of climb. In the 172 we usually don't lose more than 100ft (at the most) during stalls if they're done properly.
I had a student with a similar problem and this is what I told him.


Pick a point on the horizon and a 'bug splat' on the windscreen that matches it.


Anticipate increased 'back pressure' on the yoke as your speed decays.


Once the stall breaks, add full throttle, and slightly (!!) release a little back-pressure.

You're probably "1/5 err.. too tense" during the manuever! But that's just my aeronautical 5-minute online "Dr. Phil" approach to flight instruction.
If you are flying in a Cessna with a back window, have your instructor do the stall while you look at the tail. it is VERY VERY cool. it also "shows you" what the airplane is doing.

BTW, in a stall in the LJ or the CJ, you don;t lower the nose at all, you just run the engines up to the stops. and pull yourself out of it. kinda cool, and counter intuitive..
When I was a C-130 Instructor in AZ, I had a guy get into a stall around the final turn (base leg). This was the classic scenario and I thought I would never see it. In addition, we were low and slow. He overshot the runway at Biggs AAF, El Paso and was going into the traffic pattern at El Paso Intl. He decided to try to yank the plane around the final turn. I nearly froze when I heard what sounded like a guy with a bat hitting our wings and fuselage. I took the plane and added full power and rolled out right into ELP's traffic pattern and right over the runway. In one desperate and quick radio call I warned ELP that we just made a stall recovery and were headed in their direction. After all that was said and done, the controller just said, "Nice save" and let us on our way. No questions asked. The lesson I learned is not to make matters worse after one mistake (overshoot) and just try to correct one thing at a time. We stalled at about 200 feet and rolled out about 150 feet. Also, when practicing stalls, don't take the training for granted. Really get into the scenario and try to simulate the worst case scenario and try to get out of it.

Take care and fly safe,

Chris Bow
I think my habit may be from the incorrect perception that a stall is alot more drastic than it really is.

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That was my entire problem with stalls. The first time I was up in a small plane the pilot (a "buddy" of mine) decided it would be funny to watch my head hit the ceiling.

Anyhow, I went up saturday and found out that done right stalls are nothing drastic.

My CFI described it like this: Think about a leaf (or a kite for that matter) just fluttering in the wind. That's what the plane is doing. Nothing dramatic about that.

Something that I thought about before I went up: with the engine in the nose the plane's natural tendency is going to be to nose down when the lift is gone, so no need to shove the yolk forward. I found that I didn't even need to rush to get the power back on (I was in a C172R).

Anyhow, just my thoughts about it.


Jeeze good story skyrunner!

Tim, you'll get it. That was your first stall lesson right? No problem. I think just about everyone has recovered excessively at one time or another.

One thing to pay attention to next flight (though it's hard to remember to...) is to look at how hard you're gripping the yoke when you fly, especially when you practice stalls. If you have the death grip on it you're setting yourself up to overcontrol. You can overcome the death grip by either consciously reminding yourself not to do it or to stick a pencil in between two fingers and the yoke. If your other fingers start to grip the pencil then you're holding it too tight.
One thing that helped me to lessen my fear of stalls was to do a set of power-on stalls with little or no recovery. It works great in an Archer which is very stable with very subtle stall characteristics, it may not work so well in a Cessna or any other plane that tends to drop a wing. My instructor demonstrated first, he kept the power full and stalled it. At the stall, he kept the yoke aft while the nose of the plane natually fell and recovered itself. Then, there was the secondary stall, and the third stall, and the fourth stall, etc. all while holding the yoke aft.

It showed me that stalls are nothing to be afraid of, even without any control inputs on the Archer, it will recover itself.
I'll second the vote for doing a series of secondary stalls. I used to be terrified of stalls, and my CFI always wanted me to recover very quickly, so quickly I didn't get a feel for the stall. I don't think he liked stalls himself. My next CFI did what panamguy suggests-hold it in the stall and see what happens. Another exercise was at the moment of stall, just release all control pressures and let the plane go for a few seconds. It oscillates for a while but nothing dramatic.
Tim, FWIW - I used to REALLY tense up when practicing stalls with my instructor, but after being told that I "look like a gorilla on a tricycle" while performing a stall because I was all tensed up and hunched over the controls - I MADE myself relax.

You'll get it!! And they are GREAT practice in case the real deal happens.

Good luck!!

Thanks for all the advice guys, Yeah it was my first lesson with stalls and first real experience other than stalling the 777 sim while climbing out after flying under the golden gate bridge. Very different!

I totally have the death grip on the wheel too. My left arm was tired after I got back on the ground and my hands were almost frozen in the clinched position after we were done.

I think I will be able to relax more tomorrow when i go up again. I noticed the more i did them the other day the better i got, but that want to push forward was still there even though i managed to not do it a few times. I tried stalls on MSFS2002 and even there i wanted to push forward. I'll have to give my instructor a ruler so he can smack my hands when i do something like that... maybe that will break the habit, haha!

thanks again guys, ill give it a shot tomorrow!

If sticking a pencil between your hand and the yoke dosen't work you can always try a rose bush; then you'll NEVER use the grip of death!