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Instrument Flying Handbook
Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers Using Analog Instrumentation
Unusual Attitudes and Recoveries

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Instrument Flying


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency

7. Failure to check the ball of the turn coordinator when
interpreting the instrument for bank information. if the
roll rate is reduced to zero, the miniature aircraft of
the turn coordinator indicates only direction and rate
of turn. Unless the ball is centered, do not assume the
turn is resulting from a banked attitude.

Power and airspeed errors result from the following faults:

1. Failure to cross-check the ASI as pitch changes are

2. Erratic use of power control. This may be due to
improper throttle friction control, inaccurate throttle
settings, chasing the airspeed readings, abrupt or
overcontrolled pitch-and-bank changes, or failure
to recheck the airspeed to note the effect of a power

3. Poor coordination of throttle control with pitch-and-
bank changes, associated with slow cross-check or
failure to understand the aerodynamic factors related
to turns.

Trim errors result from the following faults:

1. Failure to recognize the need for a trim change due
to slow cross-check and interpretation. For example,
a turn entry at a rate too rapid for a cross-check leads
to confusion in cross-check and interpretation, with
resulting tension on the controls.

2. Failure to understand the relationship between trim
and attitude/power changes.

3. Chasing the vertical speed needle. Overcontrolling
leads to tension and prevents sensing the pressures to
be trimmed off.

4. Failure to trim following power changes.

Errors During Compass Turns
In addition to the faults discussed above, the following errors
connected with compass turns should he noted:

1. Faulty understanding or computation of lead and

2. Fixation on the compass during the roll-out. Until
the airplane is in straight-and-level unaccelerated
flight, it is unnecessary to read the indicated heading.
Accordingly, after the roll-out, cross-check for
straight-and-level flight before checking the accuracy
of the turn.

Approach to Stall

Practicing approach to stall recoveries in various airplane
configurations should. build confidence in a pilot's ability to
control the airplane in unexpected situations. Approach to
stall should he practiced from straight flight and from shallow
banks. The objective is to practice recognition and recovery
from die approach to a stall.

Prior to stall recovery practice, select a safe altitude above
the terrain, an area free of conflicting air traffic, appropriate
weather, and the availability of radar traffic advisory

Approaches to stalls are accomplished in the following

1. Takeoff configuration should begin from level flight
near liftoff speed. Power should be applied while
simultaneously increasing the angle of attack to induce
an indication of a stall.

2. Clean configuration should begin from a reduced
airspeed, such as pattern airspeed, in level flight.
Power should be applied while simultaneously
increasing the angle of attack to induce an indication
of a stall.

3. Approach or landing configuration—should be
initiated at the appropriate approach or landing
airspeed. The angle of attack should be smoothly
increased to induce an indication of a stall.

Recoveries should be prompt in response to a stall warning
device or an aerodynamic indication by smoothly reducing
the angle of attack and applying maximum power, or as
recommended by the POH/AFM. The recovery should be
completed without an excessive loss of altitude, and on a
predetermined heading, altitude, and airspeed.

Unusual Attitudes and Recoveries

An unusual attitude is an airplane attitude not normally
required for instrument flight. Unusual attitudes may
result from a number of conditions, such as turbulence,
disorientation, instrument failure, confusion, preoccupation
with flight deck duties, carelessness in cross-checking,
errors in instrument interpretation, or lack of proficiency in
aircraft control. Since unusual attitudes are not intentional
maneuvers during instrument flight, except in training, they
are often unexpected, and the reaction of an inexperienced
or inadequately trained pilot to an unexpected abnormal
flight attitude is usually instinctive rather than intelligent
and deliberate. This individual reacts with abrupt muscular
effort, which is purposeless and even hazardous in turbulent
conditions, at excessive speeds, or at low altitudes. However,
with practice, the techniques for rapid and safe recovery from
unusual attitudes can be mastered.