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Cross-Control Stalls

Introduction:

  • 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
  • Cross-control stalls emphasize the importance of using coordinated control pressures whenever making turns
  • Most apt to occur during a poorly planned and executed base-to-final approach turn
  • Practicing approaches to stalls demonstrates the transition from cruise flight to critically slow airspeeds in various conditions

Stall Avoidance

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

Approaches to Stalls:

WARNING:
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)


  1. Select an altitude where recovery will occur no lower than 1500' AGL
  2. Commence a clearing turn
  3. While maintaining heading, reduce power, adjusting pitch (trim) to maintain altitude
  4. For Dirty Configuration:
    • Below VLO, extend the landing gear and verify 3 down and locked
    • Below VFE, extend the flaps for takeoff or landing configurations
    • Adjust pitch (trim) to maintain altitude
  5. Advance the propeller control to full forward (high rpm) as required
  6. While maintaining altitude, slowly establish the pitch attitude, power setting, and if applicable, bank (15-30°) that would induce a stall
  7. At the first indication of an impending stall, calling, "stalling," and initiate recovery, maintaining heading while/ smoothly and continuously increasing power to full and adjusting pitch to maintain altitude (trim)
  8. For Dirty Configuration:
    • As airspeed increases, raise the flaps in increments, to 10°:
      • Too abrupt of flap retraction will result in a dramatic loss of lift and possibly stall
    • As airspeed increases, but below VLO raise the landing gear
    • At or above Vx retract flaps to 0°
  9. As cruise airspeed is attained, set cruise power
    • Re-trim as necessary
  10. Complete the Cruise Flow/Checklist

Cross-Controlled Stall Procedure:

WARNING:
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)


  1. Select an altitude where recovery will occur no lower than 1500' AGL
  2. Commence a clearing turn
  3. Reduce power adjusting pitch to maintain altitude
    • Trim as necessary
  4. Below VLO, extend the landing gear, as required
    • Callout: "Gear Down"
    • Verify gear DOWN and callout "3 Green, No Red
  5. Advance the propeller control to full forward (high rpm) as required
  6. Maintain altitude until reaching a typical approach speed, and then establish a stabilize descent (trimmed) to simulate a normal approach to landing
  7. Descending no lower than 200' from the entry altitude, simultaneously reduce power to idle and pick a reference point off the left or right wing tip
  8. Turn towards the reference point using a 25-30° bank while:
    • Simultaneously applying excessive rudder pressure in the direction of turn (thereby accelerating the speed of outer wing)
    • Using opposite aileron to prevent over-banking (maintain a constant 25-30° bank) during the turn, and
    • Increasing elevator back-pressure to keep the nose from lowering
  9. At the imminent stall, callout, "stalling," reduce the angle of attack to regain control effectiveness, and apply full power
  10. Maintain coordinated use of the ailerons and rudder to level the wings and prevent entering into a spin
  11. Adjust pitch to the Vy attitude and minimize altitude loss
    • Re-trim as necessary
  12. Below VLO, and with a positive rate of climb established, call out "positive climb, gear up," and retract the landing gear
  13. Complete cruise checklist, returning to the altitude, heading, and airspeed required
    • Note that completion of the maneuver should occur by the 90° reference point and before full deflection of the rudder and aileron

Cross-Controlled Stall Common Errors:

  • Failure to adequately clear the area
  • Failure to establish the specified landing gear and flap configuration prior to entry (usually flaps up to avoid exceeding VFE
  • 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

Cross Controlled Stall Airman Certification Standards:

Conclusion:

  • 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
  • Note that flaps are not extended due to the possibility of exceeding VFE

References: