Spins and Loops

I spun the Aerobat ten times, for some reason it would not respond to a recovery immediatly. In a flash of a moment, I though about my friend Frank Jenkinson who perished in a Pitts Special after getting into a spin; then I though about the time we went around about 14 times also in a C150 and recovered 300 feet above Scugog island. 

I decided I was not going to auger into Lake Ontario, pushing the yoke forward did the trick and I recovered, albeit, rather low. Now I can better understand why low and some high time pilot suffer the final mistake. It’s easy to say don’t panic, your mind is racing a mile a minute, you think it over, you are going around and trying to make sense of why there is no recovery. Giving up is of course not an option.

Spin training should be made mandatory and should be re introduced into ab anito training, correction, all pilots should undergo aerobatic and spin training.

The most frightening spin experience I ever had was years ago when I entered an inverted flat spin, (it was intended, not an accident) in the single place Pitts everything was a blur. I though about bailing, but I knew I would not have got out, finally with the power off, the rotation slowed and I pushed out. I went on to do inverted and upright spins at Airshows.

The problem is when you think the recovery is not working, you try something that aggravates the spin recovery, that’s the final step to a fatality.

The first step is to understand the aerodynamics of the spin, then understand the recovery.


When the Zlin 242 was first introduced into Canada, I flew the aircraft with a gentleman. Then I flew with a flight instructor who was current on the Zlin.

I remember completing a 360 inverted turn in the 242. I was told at the time when you spun the 242 you need about 30 lbs of pressure to unstick the stall, I never experienced any of that.

I did some old country loops and rolls in the 242. I was flying unlimited at the time and performing at Air Shows. Of course, the Zlin is no Pitts, but nice gentle aerobatics, nevertheless. I read on the Cessna site that an flight instructor and a student went into a spin on a Cessna 150 that went flat after 6 turns. I couldn’t understand why this happened, perhaps the C of G was displaced. It seems they unstrapped themselves and moved forward and this provided the recovery. I have no comments, I wasn’t there.

I, on purpose several years ago spun a Cessna 150 with a man named Patrick George, with the power on, I demonstrated in spin aileron, then out spin aileron, I demonstrated this on numerous occasions in my 2 Place Pitts Special when I was teaching Aerobatics, so why not in the Cessna 150, when I gave it out spin aileron, the aircraft nose rose to about 20 deg above the horizon, I remember Pat George saying he couldn’t see the ground over the glare shield. yes, we were flat, nothing new, this looked somewhat like the 2 Place Pitts when we went flat, certainly not the same in the single Pitts, that was always a wild ride.

We went around about 14 times, stopped counting; I applied right rudder, no response, we were 1300 feet over Lake Scugog, 430 feet above ground, still rotating, often in the single Pitts when in an inverted spin I would push on the stick and fly out of the inverted spin, so why not try the same technic

on the Cessna 150, I had no other choice, my guardian angle was looking after us that day, we recovered about 200 feet over Scugog Island.

Below is a true story how a safe situation can become a terror:

IFR is all about the procedural network within the ATC system. Keeping  the shiny side up should not cause any concerns.

Although, on the 7th November 2006, at approximately 4:30 in the evening. I was in the  right seat in a Mooney, registration N56378. The pilot was a client who purchased this aircraft in Daytona Beach Florida. We were in Daytona Beach where I checked out this pilot. We flew to Toronto,  stopping at Greensboro NC. It was a beautiful day, severe VFR, until we arrived over Lake Ontario. there was stationary front causing low  ceiling and marginal IFR conditions. Toronto YYZ was at Cat 1,  Buttonville was below IFR limits. Oshawa was barley acceptable for an IFR approach. Toronto ATC cleared us for the back course at Oshawa runway 30 at an altitude of 3600 feet and 12 miles back we  intercepted the localized. Rather than chase the needle, I deduced the inception heading using basic trigonometry. Once we intercepted the localizer, I instructed the PF (pilot flying) to engage the autopilot for the reverse course for runway 30. Although I have flown the back  course numerous times, I picked up the IFR chart for a final review. On looking up at the instrument panel, with great consternation, I saw the AH (artificial Horizon) indicating a 70% bank in a left turn, airspeed had also reduced toward a stall. This could have been a fatal error on my part, I pressed the red button to disengage the autopilot, rather than override the autopilot.

The aircraft immediately went into a left turn descending dive.

I suspected a spin, I applied right peddle and brough the yoke back. within seconds I initiated a spin recovery.   The airspeed increased; I was sure we were at redline. Then a miracle happened, the AH showed some activity with the horizon becoming evident in a left bank. We lost 2000 feet, we were fortunate, and very lucky to have survived.

Oshawa called me and asked if we needed assistance, I replied that I would like to fly the approach again. Oshawa instructed me to climb to 3600 feet and contact Toronto ATC. Arriving at 3600 feet I gave ATC a call. They told me they were about to call search and rescue because they thought we had gone into Lake Ontario. The controller than asked what I wanted to do, I told him I wanted to fly the back course again.

To this day, I will never forget the controller saying, are you sure you can do this, he should have said, how can I help you? We flew back to intercept the back course, we were second on the approach, a Piper lance had to proceed on a missed. I was instructed to call 3 miles back with the runway in sight. we didn’t see the lights until we were one mile back, yes, I broke the rules.

 That was by far a nightmare flight, never to be forgotten.