Most pilots are now familiar with the purpose of Upset Prevention & Recovery Training (UPRT), which is to teach pilots the skills necessary to recognize, prevent, and if necessary, recover from an unexpected airplane upset. UPRT mitigates the risk of Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I), aviation’s number one cause of fatalities across all aviation sectors. This training is critical for pilots and benefits not only individual pilots and those who fly with them, but also flight departments and other organizations which wish to mitigate risk and develop a standardized approach for their pilots. Here are a few good reasons to consider getting UPRT for yourself or for the pilots in your flight department:
1. UPRT fills a demonstrated training gap.
While general pilot training is excellent and more than adequately prepares pilots to operate inside the normal flight envelope, pilots often run into trouble in the rare but critical event of an unexpected airplane upset. This often occurs because the manual inputs necessary to recover a plane outside the normal flight envelope are counterintuitive, and pilots’ first response in these time-critical and stressful moments are often the opposite of what needs to be done to recover successfully. UPRT not only trains pilots to develop the skills necessary to recognize, prevent or recover from an upset, but proper UPRT also allows pilots to practice these skills in a real-life on-aircraft situation with enough repetition to overcome the effects of startle and surprise and ingrain correct responses so that they are readily accessible if an unexpected and startling upset situation should occur.
2. UPRT saves lives.
A pilot’s number one goal is always to bring everyone home safely. While the chances of experiencing a Loss of Control In-Flight are not high, the chances of an LOC-I incident being fatal are very high. In a study conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2014, they found that although only 9% of all accidents came from LOC-I, they resulted in 37% of all fatalities. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has identified comprehensive UPRT as the best means of reducing the threat of LOC-I . When pilots are trained and prepared, they stand a much better chance of recovering an upset aircraft and avoiding a fatal accident.
3. UPRT protects Your investments
Secondary by far to the risk of loss of life is the loss of investment that occurs in the unfortunate event of an LOC-I accident. UPRT mitigates the risk of loss of life and property by preparing pilots and flight crews to manage rare but difficult situations that can occur during flight. LOC-I is a significant cause of hull loss in aviation.
4. UPRT improves manual handling skills and airmanship.
In 2013, and again in 2017, the FAA issued Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFOs) warning about the threat of erosion of manual handling skills. In fact, upset recovery maneuvers were specifically listed a means to improve, polish and expand upon basic manual handling flying skills and airmanship that can degrade over time, especially for pilots who generally fly automated aircraft. Read more about this in the APS Skies Magazine article: Manual Input: Does UPRT Improve Manual Handling Skills?
5. UPRT builds a foundation of knowledge.
Understanding the why behind aircraft response in an upset helps to guide pilots’ to correct inputs. It provides pilots with a strong foundation of knowledge on which to base their actions. UPRT uses a building block approach to give pilots the ground training necessary to understand the laws of aerodynamics and physics and why the aircraft behaves the way it does. Putting this knowledge to practice in the aircraft then helps pilots learn to use that knowledge to inform their responses in emergency situations.
6. UPRT shows a commitment to safety and excellence.
The basic concept of a safety management system is to identify risks and the means available to minimize them. Such an approach must take into account how best to mitigate the number one cause of fatalities in aviation: LOC-I. For the individual pilot, flight department, Part 135 operator or other organization, providing pilots with comprehensive UPRT demonstrates the desire to exceed regulatory minimums. Training and preparation for worst-case scenarios shows a commitment to putting safety first, and pursuing excellence in flying and business operations.
7. UPRT develops mental toughness.
Part of the problem pilots experience during a loss of control in-flight is due to the physiological and cognitive effects of startle and surprise. Extreme stress and startle can paralyze us and severely inhibit our abilities to think clearly and make appropriately calculated decisions. By practicing these LOC-I scenarios realistically — in an aircraft with an amount of real adrenaline flowing and real intensity present — pilots are able to practice thinking clearly under stress, staying calm and executing a solution. UPRT builds resilience.
8. UPRT requirements are coming.
While UPRT is not currently part of pilot licensing requirements in the US, some organizations and regulatory agencies are already moving toward mandating UPRT. In fact, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has mandated that all pilots of its 190+ member countries should incorporate UPRT in actual flight prior to Commercial licensing. EASA has created such a requirement, and Upset Prevention and Recovery Training will be required for all pilots of Part 121 Airlines in the U.S. beginning in 2019. An “equivalent level of safety approach” may dictate a broadening of this requirement to other aviation operations in the future.
9. UPRT can save you money on insurance.
As insurance companies have become aware of the indisputable benefits and risk reduction from UPRT, some are offering to incentivize training or offer insurance discounts for those who have completed compliant training. Insurance companies are willing to invest in this training because they know it can save lives and reduce losses.
10. UPRT is a memorable and worthwhile experience.
Pilots who have gone through comprehensive, professional Upset Prevention & Recovery Training are never disappointed in the experience and describe it as extremely valuable. UPRT allows pilots to experience the full freedom of flight in three dimensions and the full aerodynamic envelope in a way many have never experienced before. It is a training experience that will stay with them forever, and provide well earned confidence in all of their subsequent flying.