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bj_pilot_page_019Author: Paul “BJ” Ransbury, President
APS Emergency Maneuver Training
www.apstraining.com

Part 141 Chief Flight Instructor
Master CFI-Aerobatic / CFI / CFII / MEI / AGI
Airbus A320 Pilot, F/A-18 Hornet Fighter Pilot
Cirrus Standardized Instructor
Fighter Weapons Instructor
ICAS Certified Air Show Performer


The Falling Leaf Exercise is not unique to APS Emergency Maneuver Training. This exercise is a great opportunity for the client to observe and experience flight beyond the normal envelope at angles of attack greater than the critical angle of attack. In addition to simply getting the student’s feet moving, the Falling Leaf Exercise is an excellent demonstration of the aerodynamic reality of negative roll damping, exponential drag affects and reverse aileron effect. The awareness of and first-hand experience with negative roll damping is important to the avoidance, understanding and recovery from the various stall conditions, specifically uncoordinated traffic pattern stalls covered later in the course.


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  • [...] The second is the “Falling Leaf.”  This is a stall maneuver that can be difficult to control in some aircraft, but with the docile dynamics of most trainers, it can be performed safely.  The positive benefits of this maneuver are numerous, but the most notable is learning rudder effectiveness in a stall. For example, early in my training when stalls were introduced I would absolutely crank the ailerons around trying to compensate for poor roll stability.  Unfortunately, ailerons are usually very ineffective in stalls.  The rudder on the other hand maintains plenty of effectiveness.  After my performance of stalls on my check-ride, the examiner taught me this maneuver in an effort to improve my flying.  As a word of caution, the maneuver is performed with the aircraft stalled, so too much rudder can cause a spin. There is a great video of the maneuver from the tail of an Extra 300 over at APS Training’s website. [...]

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