Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes
Lesson Plans



  • Research a mishap case study:
  • Discuss how the initial conditions developed into an incident/accident/mishap
  • Relate similar personal experience of the same type of incident/accident/mishap


  • Unusual attitude recoveries teach pilots to understand the human system's susceptibility to spatial disorientation and how to recover if required
  • One of the leading causes of fatal general aviation accidents is the loss of control-Inflight
  • Pilots training, therefore, requires a thorough understanding of unusual attitudes and unusual attitude causal factors
  • While prevention is the first step, it does not eliminate the risk to pilots
  • It is then paramount that pilots know how to detect an unusual attitude properly
  • Once an upset or unusual attitude is confirmed, pilots can next apply the proper recover


Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes:
Review (quiz):
Case Studies:
Total Ground Time:

Required Materials:

  • Paper, Pen, Marker, Whiteboard

Instructor Actions:

  • Review Airman Certification Standards

Student Actions:

  • Complete assigned reading (see content above)
  • Ask pertinent questions
  • Make a go/no-go decision, as appropriate

Instrument Rating - Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes Lesson Plan:

  • To determine the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with recovering from unusual flight attitudes solely by reference to instruments
  • References: 14 CFR part 61; FAA-H-8083-15

Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes Knowledge:

The applicant must demonstrate an understanding of:
  • IR.IV.B.K1:

    Procedures for recovery from unusual flight attitudes
  • IR.IV.B.K2:

    Unusual flight attitude causal factors, including physiological factors, system and equipment failures, and environmental factors

Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes Risk Management:

The applicant demonstrates the ability to identify, assess, and mitigate risks, encompassing:
  • IR.IV.B.R1:

    Situations that could lead to loss of control or unusual flight attitudes (e.g., stress, task saturation, and distractions)
  • IR.IV.B.R2:

    Failure to recognize an unusual flight attitude and follow the proper recovery procedure
  • IR.IV.B.R3:

    Exceeding the operating envelope during the recovery

Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes Skills:

The applicant demonstrates the ability to:
  • IR.IV.B.S1:

    Use proper instrument cross-check and interpretation to identify an unusual attitude (including both nose-high and nose-low), and apply the appropriate pitch, bank, and power corrections, in the correct sequence, to return to a stabilized level flight attitude



  • Advise students that this lesson will be used as a starting point for the next lesson
  • Assign study materials for the next lesson