Wing Drop Stalls 1 - Saturday, 19 February 10am

I freely admit I was more than a little apprehensive going into this lesson. I was a bit nervous about basic stalls but that proved unfounded. This was to be the same I found out later, but the feelings in my gut I still remember clearly. The briefing went as briefings go, Paul went over the physics of stalls, I asked questions and Paul answered them well. Did the usual pre-flight and off we went. Had a small hiccup during the run up checks when the alternator decided it didn’t want to work properly. Apparently the overvolt cutoff switch had cut in when I had done the alternator check and the alternator hadn’t been switched back on. Once we fixed that, away we went although I realised much later that I had not completed all of the checks - another lesson learned about distractions.

Takeoff went well, we climbed to 2500 as we were allowed to (I levelled off at 2400 just to give us some leeway) and we flew out past Cambridge. Once we reported clear we climbed up to 3000 feet (the eastern practice area has an upper limit of 3500) and Paul put the plane into some strange attitudes and I had to recover using the rudders only. I was quite tense at this point but after a few I became more enthusiastic. Paul then did a couple of real wing drop stalls and I had to do the rudder recovery for those, then it was my turn. When we did the first one the wing didn’t drop so we had done a power and flap stall (see lesson 9) from which I recovered easily. Then we did about 7 or 8 more. By the end I wasn’t stressed out at all although on my final one I used aileron which is a big no no but I caught myself in time and levelled out within tolerances. For my final flight test I must complete a wingdrop stall and recover within 300 feet and 90 degrees of my original course. Paul said he is happy for me to go out on my own and try them. One thing I have observed is that there is a great deal that needs to be done in a short period of time, but you do have the luxury of time after the initial recovery actions (stick centrally forward about 10cm, full opposite rudder and full power all together) to bring the nose up to straight and level flight, establish a climb and raise the flap. I am certainly feeling confident enough to have a crack at doing them tomorrow on my own.

I really want to thank Paul for turning a jumbled mess of anxious nerves into a diehard thrill seeker... well not quite, but stalls hold no fear for me any more. Short of aerobatics I don't think any other aspect of flying training will scare me as much again.