The GA accident rate has improved dramatically during the past two decades and with it, the stall/spin accident incidence has also decreased. Yet stalls account for nearly 20 percent of all light aircraft fatal accidents, amounting to about 35 a year.
In this, the first of five podcasts on the subject of preventing stalls, we spoke to Richard McSpadden of AOPA’s Air Safety Institute. McSpadden is a CFI and former military pilot who commanded the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds demonstration team.
ASI has been looking at stalls as an accident cause for several years and in 2017 published this exhaustive study of how, where and why stalls continue to plague pilots who should easily be able to avoid them. The largest percentage of stalls occur just after takeoff and on go-arounds, and not always due to engine failures.
McSpadden believes the record can be improved the same way the industry improved the GA accident rate in general. “I really attribute it to the five principles of safety, and that is if you take knowledgeable people, train them well, keep them proficient, put them in reliable, modern equipment and then surround them in a culture that supports good decision-making, you can run safe operations,” he says.
In this podcast series, we’ll hear McSpadden’s ideas as well as those from four others in the industry. In the second part, Dan Gryder will explain his innovative idea of a minimum maneuvering speed marked right on the airspeed indicator. Rich Stowell, a recognized spin expert, will talk about his experiences in teaching stall awareness. From the Cirrus Owners and Pilot’s Association, Trip Taylor, one of the highest time Cirrus instructors in the world, gives a unique Cirrus perspective on stalls. Finally, Wayman Lui, operator of a large Florida flight school, discusses how stall awareness is taught.