Stalls!

A Stall is “purely an aerodynamic event – nothing to do with engine operation. Occurs when lift-producing airflow over the wings is disrupted or lost because the angle of the wings to the airflow (angle of attack) is too high” (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sport Flying by Dan Ramsey and Early Downs. Alpha Books. 2004. p.291).

Today was my first time practicing stalls. A stall is not a good thing, so you practice them in case you every have one; but if you are a good, safe pilot it will probably never happen. Basically, a stall is where the nose of the airplane is too high, you are flying really slow and your airplane does not want to fly anymore, so it decides to fall. You can feel the airplane giving way as it drops. The airplane drops on you, so its kind of freaky. Oh, there is also an annoying stall warning buzzer that goes off to warn you that you are going to stall. So when you practice this, you are up high (4000 feet), its noisy because of the stall warning going off, everything is happening really fast, your stomach is doing flips, and you need to keep an eye out for the clouds or airplanes.

So Instructor Cheryl started us today on some slow flying (flying really, really slow. Its the speed you would be flying at if you were landing). Then we started on the stalls. Cheryl thought we had practiced stalls before, but no. No stalls for this girl. The first one Cheryl demonstrated and it was very freaky, scary and just plain weird (FYI…Cheryl makes it look soo easy). Then it was my turn. The first couple of stalls were a bit scary, but by the last one they were fine. So it was a good flying day today!

FYI…Airplanes really do not want to stall and its really not the airplane that causes the stall. Its really the pilot doing something wrong which causes the stall.