How to conquer your fear of stalling

Recently, Sophie, a student pilot based in Australia, asked a great question on the Ask a Flight Instructor website about how to overcome her fears about stalling. She further noted that:

I more than dislike the negative G feeling that your body experiences and do not feel comfortable in the unusual attitude. My struggle to deal with the above two issues leave me with little confidence to maintain control of the aircraft – especially when solo….

…I find that people just brush it off as me being an emotional female. I am very strong in mind and know i can do them (if ever i am in an emergency) – however the fear is crippling.

Do you have any ideas on how I can combat this fear?????

Commenter Brian suggested that she should start small and that she should:

Spend a day, or a few days, or every flight do at least one, doing nose overs. In other words, pitch up to establish a shallow climb (~10-20 degrees) and then as speed slows down push forward to 10-20 nose low.

He further added that the goal is to leave your seat and then settle back into it and the best way to do this is to use the control yoke to control how much you do or don’t leave your seat. Moreover, he added that it might be a good idea to watch someone do a series of stalls in order to see exactly what is happening to the aircraft during such a maneuver as this can help to ease one’s mind.

Meanwhile, commenter Tony Harrison mentioned that he used to have the same exact fear but then he noted that:

The way I got around it was to slowly sneak up on stalls, by that I mean, start setting yourself up for a stall, but recover before coming close. Next time, take it slightly further. Slightly. Over the course of an hour perform a number of stalls progressively getting closer to a full stall. Even as the buffet comes in, relax the control pressure and just let the aircraft settle – don’t go for the big push over, just relax the pressure and pour on the power.

Hence, we want to ask you our readers: How did you overcome any fears of stalling? Is there any other advice that you would give pilots like Sophie? Feel free to post your comments below.

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3 Responses to How to conquer your fear of stalling

  1. Andrew September 3, 2010 at 15:52 #

    My instructor saw a bit of hesitation with me in relation to stall training. One day in the practice area, he took the controls and showed me how inherently stable the plane was, in this case, a C-172. We did a power-off stall, and even once in the stall, he kept full back pressure on the yoke, the plane would stall, recover, stall recover and slowly float down, almost like a falling leaf (that's what he actually called it). He demonstrated how the plane WANTS to correct itself and return to an unstalled condition on it own and that we virtually HAVE TO TRY and force it into a stall. He even demonstrated that there still was control during the stall. As long as you don't over correct and send it into a spin. Even then, smooth, accurate actions get you right out of that as well. I had no problem doing stalls in the practice area solo after that, even tried that 'falling leaf' demo myself and it helped.

  2. Sean Thompson September 4, 2010 at 16:54 #

    I love the sensation of stalling – anything with a change in G is cool! The only off-putting thing in a stall for me is the 'groan' I sometimes here when the elevators reach the stop… (cessna 152)

    When I lflew gliders I found it quite disconcerting to stall, but I suppose I was younger, but alos I seem to remember it's a lot more sudden and dramatic (a memory that might be warped by time and my young age at the time…)

  3. Shane Bertrand September 4, 2010 at 17:32 #

    When I was working on my private a few years ago I had issues with power on stalls. To really help out with this I got the hang of power off stalls first and then we basically did stalls with about partial power and worked on up to the full power on stall. Making gradual steps helps a lot of people. Simple to complex.

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