Elevator Trim Stalls


  • Stalls do NOT occur without warning
    • While flying along in cruise flight, a stall will not rip the airplane out of the sky and throw it uncontrollably to the ground to a big smoking crater
  • Elevator trim stalls show what can happen when full power is applied for a go-around and positive control of the airplane is not maintained
  • Shows the importance of smooth power applications, overcoming strong trim forces, and maintaining positive control

All procedures here are GENERALIZED for learning.
Fly the maneuver in accordance with the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)
and/or current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Stall Avoidance

  • Avoid flying at minimum airspeeds
  • Remain in the normal flight envelope
  • Avoid abrupt maneuvers

C-172S Procedure:

  1. Select an altitude where recovery will occur no lower than 1500' AGL
  2. Commence a clearing turn
  3. Reduce power to 1500 RPM, adjusting pitch to maintain altitude
  4. Below Vfe 10° (110 KIAS), extend the flaps to 10°, adjusting pitch (trimming) to maintain altitude
  5. Below Vfe 30° (85 KIAS), extend the flaps to 30°, adjust pitch (trimming) to maintain altitude
  6. Maintain altitude until reaching 70 KIAS, and then establish a stabilized descent (trimmed) at 65 KIAS to simulate a normal approach to landing (3° down)
  7. Descending no lower than 200' from the entry altitude, apply full throttle, allowing the airplane to roll left and the pitch to increase to the Vx pitch attitude (approx. 7°)
  8. Reduce the angle of attack to regain control effectiveness
  9. Maintain coordinated use of the ailerons and rudder to level the wings
  10. Adjust pitch to the Vy attitude (4-5° up) and retract the flaps to 20° (re-trimming as necessary)
  11. At or above 60 KIAS, retract the flaps to 10°
  12. At or above 65 KIAS, retract the flaps to 0°
  13. Complete cruise checklist

Airplane Flying Handbook, Figure 4-8. Elevator Trim Stall
Figure 1: Airplane Flying Handbook, Elevator Trim Stall

Common Errors:

  • Failure to adequately clear the area
  • Failure to establish the specified landing gear and flap configuration prior to entry
  • Improper pitch, heading, and bank control during straight ahead stalls
  • Use outside and instrument references
  • Right rudder in nose-high power-on condition; release at break
  • Improper pitch and bank control during turning stalls
  • Rough or uncoordinated control technique
  • Failure to recognize the first indications of a stall
  • Failure to achieve a stall
  • Improper torque correction
  • Poor stall recognition and delayed recovery
  • Excessive altitude loss or excessive airspeed during recovery
  • Secondary stall during recovery

Practical Test Standards:


  • It is important to note that individual aircraft may have stall characteristics unique to them due to bends/twists which develop in the airframe over time depending on their use