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Inadvertent Spin Recovery Guide

Upright or Inverted

Consolidating, simplifying and prioritizing the rudimentary spin recovery actions yields the general, spin recovery procedure. The preferred rudder-then-elevator sequence is included as well. As listed, the procedure is designed to achieve optimum anti-spin effect and is consistent with recommendations based on years of detailed spin research (the bold quotations indicate the verbal statements required during the actual recovery while airborne):

  1. “Power” – Idle
  2. “Ailerons” – Neutral (and Flaps Up) – {when in doubt, Control Stick – “Release”}
  3. “Rudder” – Full Opposite
  4. “Elevator” – Through Neutral


  1. “Rudder – Neutral”
  2. Elevator – “Recover” to Straight and Level or a Climbing Attitude

The first letter in each of the four primary recovery inputs spells out the acronym, PARE (pronounced “pair”). PARE is a convenient memory aid that points the way to spin recovery. The PARE format mimics the most docile spin configuration possible, affording the greatest response to recovery inputs. Errant control inputs that may aggravate the spin are avoided in the process. As a mental checklist, it forces you to focus on the appropriate recovery actions. Calling each item out loud also tends to reinforce the physical inputs.
The recovery process begins at the nose of the airplane and systematically moves aft to the tail. Perform the items in the checklist sequentially. As soon as one item is completed, the next one is initiated, and so on until the primary controls have been positioned according to PARE. The second step, Ailerons – Neutral (and Flaps Up), prepares the wing for Normal Flight. Rudder – Full Opposite means “opposite to the direction of yaw,” using the spin direction cues if necessary. Spin Direction cues are as follows:

  1. “Turn Indicator”: Step on the high wing (in an upright spin) or opposite direction of the needle (upright or inverted) – depending upon specific aircraft instrumentation
  2. “Go with the Flow” by Isolating Visual Yaw: Change your field of vision by sighting straight down the nose of the airplane. This action isolates the yaw component of the spin. Force yourself to look beyond the nose, observing the ground movement below; the ground will appear to “flow” past the nose like water in a river. In a left spin, for instance, the ground moves in a blur to the right; so, step on the right rudder for recovery
  3. “Heavy Rudder” sample the rudder pedals, feeling for the one that offers the most resistance. Press the heavier one all the way to the control stop. Unless you have a lot of experience spinning a particular airplane, this technique may be the most difficult of the three to implement during an unintentional spin.

The crucial rudder-then-elevator sequence appears twice; first to stop the spin, then after rotation has ceased. Reversing the order of these two inputs can aggravate the situation dramatically. It’s also important to exercise control over your elevator input – when spinning stops, stop moving the elevator.
This summary details the physical and verbal spin recovery procedure expected during your spin training with APS Emergency Maneuver Training. Refer to our site online for more spin course information.
Techniques and considerations listed on this page should not be interpreted as over-riding or replacing recovery techniques listed in your Aircraft Operating Instructions
(The above outline is paraphrased in accordance with “Emergency Maneuver Training: Controlling Your Airplane During a Crisis,” by Rich Stowell)

APS’s Training Recommendations:

What is your best defense in aircraft unusual attitude or upset conditions?

  1. First, attempt to avoid conditions that can induce unusual attitudes in the first place! Steer clear of thunderstorms and wake turbulence! Avoid IMC or flight into low visibility conditions if not properly certificated and trained. Avoid distractions.
  2. Second, get the proper training. According to an article in AW&ST (May 8, 1995 issue): “Training should include flights in aerobatic aircraft to practice recovery techniques because no simulator can model the disorientation of actually being upside down… recurrent training every two years, with time in an actual aircraft, would be a good start.” Regardless of the aircraft that you fly, proper training will enable you to learn to react decisively in a high-pressure environment, and to learn proper recovery techniques to avoid a “panic” response that could worsen the situation.
  3. Contact a APS – Emergency Maneuver Training representative. Certainly, we would like to take this opportunity to recommend our program at APS which offers three course layouts to choose from. Please give us a call a 1-866-FLY-HARD and ask to speak with a flight training specialist or submit the online form below for more information today!

Get this training somewhere. The life you save may be more than just your own.

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