I’ve never been a fan of doing stalls. One of my biggest struggles in preparing for my Private Pilot Checkride a few years ago was pulling a power-on stall in the Cherokee 140. The examiner commended me on my stalls when all was said and done, but I’ve never really practiced them that much. I figure my goal as a pilot was to not stall the airplane. When it came time to do my Biennial Flight Review, I again got fairly nervous doing the stalls, though I did them just fine.
After my BFR I decided that I needed to get beyond this nervousness I had surrounding stalls. The club Cherokees are not rated for spin training, so I contacted another flight instructor I’d flown with in Greenville, S.C. at Flight School of Greenville. We set up a time to review stalls and agreed to do some spin training. After all, spinning an airplane from a stall was what I was nervous about, so I might as well do some spin training so I know what the airplane was going to do.
The lesson went quite well. I found that I was actually focusing too much on the turn coordinator and “the ball” instead of paying attention to what the airplane was doing. I was beyond fixating on the ball, stalls actually became a piece of cake. Cyndy also introduced me to spins, with her demonstrating a spin to each side and then me spinning the airplane with her guidance.
The biggest takeaway from the lesson is that I was entirely too rigid in the airplane. I needed to learn to sit back, relax and “become one with the airplane.” Once I relaxed, stopping fixating and paid more attention to the entire airplane, I felt much more at ease with these maneuvers.
Here’s a video of the first three spins in the lesson.