What type of ‘stomach turning, rollercoaster-like’ maneuvers are required to know as a CFI (or Commercial Airline Pilot).
From what I’ve gathered, many students become a CFI to accumulate their hours. However, the thought of doing spin training (which is one of the maneuvers I learned are required for CFIs) gets me feeling unsettled.
I understand the necessity of knowing how to recover the airplane if a spin occurs (especially in an instructor role) but I would like to know…
Has anyone had these same feelings? How were you able to overcome them? Are spins even as ‘scary’ as I’m making them out to be?
What’s scary to me might not be to you and visa versa. A few years ago I had a cane spider in the house (if you’re not familiar it’s a spider that’s the size of a Halloween decoration which I actually thought it was when I first saw it). I thought it was cool and named him Boris, but the family did not share my affection (as demonstrated by theirs screams) and I was forced to catch and release Boris back into the wild.
Same goes for spins. Some folks are terrified by them, others love it, most I think are in between. In my experience however once you understand what’s happening the fear becomes less of a factor. That said again everyone is different. The good news is you literally only have to do 2. Your instructor will demo and recover then talk you through yours. While I can say I loved the experience it was really a non event.
I was honestly terrified of spins training prior to going. I am not a roller coaster person. My instructor got the plane into the uncoordinated stall and over we went. It was over as fast as it started. Recover was simple. And then he did it again the other way. And then it was my turn. Twice in each direction. I dont think I would/could ever be a 2 year instructor and do this multiple times. But I know if it happens by accident I know how to recover.
It depends on experience! I was initially afraid of stalls until I saw one. Then I realized it wasn’t a big deal. I was uneasy over the thought of spins, but with knowledge and experience you can understand the dangers of a maneuver and how to mitigate that risk.
Spin training is essential to be a safe CFI but as William said, it’s a quick hour flight and it’s over. You see it, know how to prevent one and recover from one and then you’re on your way. I wouldn’t let the fear of maneuvers stop you from pursuing being a pilot. I suggest you go up for a discovery flight and ask to see a maneuver or two, just so you can diffuse the unknown. I bet it won’t be as bad as you imagined.
I have never been a fan of maneuvers, especially spins. I remember that after a day of instructing, I would often lay down and my body would still feel like it was doing steep turns.
Besides spins, which you will only do a few of, stalls and steep turns are the most common maneuvers and they really are not that intense. You will feel more comfortable in time doing these.
I have to be honest; I loved the fact that CFIs must under-go spin training for the fact that if you are flying with another individual and they get you into a stall/spin, you better be able to recover appropriately. Now at first the thought of “spinning an aircraft” may be displeasing but know that the aircrafts used in spin training (aka a Cessna Skyhawk 172) is designed where you could take your hands off the controls, and it’ll recover itself by simply pulling the power to idle.
Every spin instructor talks you through every process step-by-step, the initial spin the best advice I could ever give is talk through the steps out loud. Where I have heard applicants struggle first, is they freeze up and get stiff. By talking out loud the recovery process and what you’re doing helps ensure both you and the instructor are on the same page.
Brady brings up a great point about saying out loud what you are physically doing. It’s a great way to have a shared mental model with your instructor and it is great practice because that is exactly what instructors have to do when demonstrating maneuvers.
Spins are awesome! To me Lol. I loved teaching maneuvers and would always try to get my students to really enjoy doing stalls, steep spirals, steep turns, lazy 8s, 8s on pylons. I’ve even done some loops and rolls in a T6 and Bi-plane!
But liking rollercoasters or doing aerobatics is not required to be a pilot. Going from Student Pilot to CFI is structured to first get you comfortable in the plane and then over time become more and more confident with each maneuver as you progress. If you end up not liking spins, that is perfectly fine; key is to always maintain proficiency with how to avoid them and recover from them by chair flying once in awhile.
Go take a discovery flight and have a blast,