Learning to fly.

Lesson Ten, The Spiral Dive.

In our last lesson we learned about the spin, and I said the Cessna 152 usually enters a spiral dive after the first turn. In this lesson we'll take a quick look at the spiral dive.

The Spiral Dive...

...is probably responsible for more deaths than
the dreaded spin... It is the one manoeuvre that
will break any aeroplane ever built.

There are two ways in which spiral dives are
often entered:
1. From a steep turn.
2. Entry into poor weather without instrument

The steep turn is controlled by reference to the
Earth's horizon. If we let the nose drop, the speed
will increase and height will be lost rapidly.

If you fly into cloud without the training and the
instruments to fly blind, you will enter a spiral dive
within 178 seconds!

In cloud you'll see the height loss and the speed
increase. The natural tendency is to pull back on
the control column.
But this deepens the spiral, increases the "g" force,
and increases the airspeed.

Spiral dive recognition and recovery

You will recognise the spiral by the following:

  1. The speed is increasing rapidly.
  2. Height is lost at an increasing rate.
  3. The "g" force is increasing.

In a spin,

  1. The airspeed is low and oscillates up and down.
  2. The rate of descent (height loss) is steady.
  3. The "g" forces remain low.

To recover from the spiral dive you must do the following:

  1. Reduce the power; throttle back.
  2. Roll the wings level with coordinated rudder control.
  3. Ease out of the dive.

In the next lesson we'll learn how to take off and to land as we fly a circuit of the airport.

Michael Peare 2001

Next: Lesson 11