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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

When an unusual attitude is noted during the cross-check,
the immediate problem is not how the airplane got there, but
what it is doing and how to get it back lo straight-and-level
flight as quickly as possible.

Recognizing Unusual Attitudes
As a general rule4 any time an instrument rate of movement
or indication other than those associated with the basic
instrument flight maneuvers is noted, assume an unusual
attitude and increase the speed of cross-check to confirm the
attitude, instrument error, or instrument malfunction.

Nose-high attitudes are shown by the rate and direction of
movement of the altimeter needle, vertical speed needle, and
airspeed needle, as well as the immediately recognizable
indication of the attitude indicator (except in extreme
attitudes). [Figure 5-39] Nose-low attitudes are shown
by the same instruments, but in the opposite direction.

Recovery from Unusual Attitudes
In moderate unusual attitudes, the pilot can normally
reorient by establishing a level flight indication on the

attitude indicator. However, the pilot should not depend on
this instrument if the attitude indicator is the spillable type,
because its upset limits may have been exceeded or it may
have become inoperative due to mechanical malfunction.
If it is the nonspillable type instrument and is operating
properly, errors up to 5° of pitch-and-bank may result and its
indications are very difficult to interpret in extreme attitudes.
As soon as the unusual attitude is detected, the recommended
recovery procedures stated in the POFI/AFM should be
initiated. If there are no recommended procedures stated in
the POH/AFM, the recovery should be initiated by reference
to the ASI, altimeter, VSI, and turn coordinator.

Nose-High Attitudes
If the airspeed is decreasing, or below the desired airspeed,
increase power (as necessary in proportion to the observed
deceleration), apply forward elevator pressure to lower the
nose and prevent a stall, and correct the bank by applying
coordinated aileron and rudder pressure to level the
miniature aircraft and center the ball of the turn coordinator.
The corrective control applications are made almost
simultaneously, but in the sequence given above. A level
pitch attitude is indicated by the reversal and stabilization
of the ASI and altimeter needles. Straight coordinated flight
is indicated by the level miniature aircraft and centered ball
of the turn coordinator.

Unusual Attitude Nose-High..
Figure 5-39. Unusual Attitude Nose-High.