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What Really Matters in an Upset Training Provider?

By Paul BJ Ransbury, CEO at Aviation Performance Solutions (APS)

Dear valued customers and prospects,

It is a privilege to communicate with you directly on a very important matter – the selection of an upset training provider that meets your needs in overcoming the loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) threat. First and foremost, we care about your safety. When you select APS, we have a career long plan for you that is comprehensive, economical, industry-leading and unquestionably powerful and highly effective.

I will address several key factors to be considered when selecting an upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) provider to mitigate LOC-I. Although this is a fairly straight forward conversation, there are a few layers to it with one layer leading to the next. The list below are the topics I will present and my suggestion is for you to read through them in order. I strongly recommend reading the entire post thoroughly. If you must limit your time, check out ‘Who is APS’ first followed by ‘What are the Five Tenants of Effective UPRT’:

  1. What is Effective UPRT
  2. Who is APS and Why Listen to Us
  3. What are the Five Tenets of Effective UPRT
  4. Career UPRT Plan and Budgeting
  5. Our Political Position

UPRT Panel Discussion ICAO
APS Presents at ICAO on the Gold Standard in UPRT

What is Effective UPRT

At the end of the day, the selected UPRT provider must prepare pilots to recognize a divergent flight condition and prevent it from evolving into an airplane upset – all the while assuring a safe training environment with demonstrable margins of safety. Those are the ultimate objectives of industry-compliant UPRT services soon to be mandated globally. Furthermore, if faced with a developed airplane upset event, the pilot must have the skill, knowledge and mental discipline that is transferrable to, and effective in, their specific airplane while overcoming the incapacitating psychophysiological nature of an upset in the real world. This is a critical point – pilots must be able to access their UPRT skills in a crisis to save their lives. Teaching pilots what to do in an airplane upset and how to do it in a manner that is effective in their specific model of airplane is the easy part. UPRT must not end there – the psycho-physiological impairment issue must be permanently overcome. This paragraph embodies the essence of an Effective UPRT program.

Before I get into the Five Tenets of Effective UPRT, I’d like to provide a brief overview of APS so readers better understand the basis from which we are providing our later comments and guidance on this very important decision you are facing.

Who is APS? Why Listen to Us?

gold-standardAviation Performance Solutions is the world’s largest provider of UPRT solutions now entering our 19th year of business with full-time dedication to this domain of training. Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona USA, we have four training locations on three continents and provide more professional jet pilots with comprehensive UPRT solutions than any other training provider. Jet upset training is not a side business for us (as is understandably the case for many other providers) – UPRT is our primary focus every day. APS uses a proven combination of training tools, platforms, methodologies and resources available to generate the most consistent and lasting skill sets for pilots of all experience levels. We offer an integrated approach to UPRT as is recognized and recommended by ICAO, IATA, FAA, EASA and other national aviation authorities based on over 5 years of research by more than 40 organizations and 80 subject matter experts around the world. Our training solutions include tablet-based apps, piston airplanes, high performance jets and some of the world’s most advanced simulators. We are the exclusive UPRT provider for; the Bombardier Safety Standdown Leading Edge Program, the world’s largest career-track flight school network (CAE-Oxford Aviation Academy), Swiss Re – the industry’s second largest reinsurance provider, and we are the ‘go to’ UPRT instructor development experts for a diversity of major airlines around the world including the largest legacy air carrier in the USA, Delta Air Lines. From Cessna 172 to Citation X to Boeing 747 UPRT solutions – we do it all. Our UPRT services are known, trusted and proven effective. A few references to demonstrate these facts can be found at these links:

What are the Five Tenets of Effective UPRT?

Five-Tenets-UPRTThere are Five Tenets, or criterion, by which the Effectiveness of a UPRT program can be assessed. The list that follows does not embrace everything that matters, it simply addresses a few of the major criteria you must look for.

1. Operational Safety

  • The UPRT provider should have a recognized safety management system (SMS) in place, with assured margins of safety in all aspects of the flight operations including appropriate use of airplanes, maneuver margins of safety and proficient instructors.
  • APS is an IS-BAO registered company with an integrated SMS and utilizes purpose-built aerobatic-certified piston airplanes, purpose-built all-attitude jet trainers and advanced flight simulators within their valid training envelope (VTE).

2. Qualified UPRT Instructors

  • The qualified UPRT instructor is by far the most critical aspect of a quality training program.
  • Effective UPRT Instructors are grown, not born. Fighter pilots, test pilots (including astronauts) and aerobatics pilots are never natural or automatically qualified UPRT instructors. APS has at least one of each and most of our instructors have two or more of those qualifications.
  • Our instructors require elite credentials to even apply with APS. Once vetted and selected, the APS instructor pilot upgrade program is a five week initial checkout with a full year of dedicated mentoring before being considered to have achieved the rank of ‘UPRT expert’. Simulator instructors require a minimum of one year of full-time APS on-aircraft UPRT instructional experience before teaching APS UPRT in the simulator.
Figure 3: Startle Factor in LOC-I

3. Overcoming Psychophysiological Impairment

  • This is a major factor and must be comprehensively and effectively addressed by your UPRT provider. Overcoming this incapacitating factor takes at least two full days of immersion in a real in-flight aerobatic-certified all-attitude all-envelope airplane and, in 95% of the cases, four (4) separate, highly structured, skills-based, 40-minute UPRT flights under the guidance of an expert UPRT instructor following a proven building-block UPRT program.
  • In this phase, the type of training platform used is not nearly as important as is the safety, quality, intensity and validity of the training being provided. Negative training must be eliminated and core UPRT skills being developed must be limited to universally transferable concepts and strategy.
  • Using proprietary methods, APS addresses and overcomes this factor comprehensively and represents the foundation from which true UPRT skill sets are firmly established and further developed.

4. Industry-approved Strategy and Techniques

  • The ICAO Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training, Airplane Upset Recovery Aid – Revision 2, AC 120-109 Stall and Stick Push Training and AC 120-111 Upset Prevention and Recovery Training provide specific guidance on industry accepted and expected techniques with due consideration for unique manufacturer recommendations. The UPRT provider must be teaching industry-approved techniques.
  • UPRT provided by APS complies with all the above-indicated industry guidance documents and many more.

Delta Air Lines Airbus5. Transfer of Skill to the Transport Category Environment

  • Jet pilots must positively transfer developed UPRT skills to the commuter or transport category environment (as appropriate). With proper preparation after necessary in-flight training and monitored practice (3 and 4 above), this can be accomplished by a crew in a two hour advanced simulator session under the guidance of an expert UPRT simulator instructor. Without proper preparation, the skills developed at this level would be inaccessible in a real world upset. APS addresses this training in multi-engine, glass cockpit high-performance advanced simulators. In the hands of a qualified UPRT expert instructor, simulators are very powerful training tools.
  • On-aircraft UPRT in jet airplanes can be added in this phase (after in-simulator training) if desired although it is not essential. Time spent in a jet trainer should be focused on transfer of skill, high mach (above .7 mach), high altitude flight (above 25,000’) and high altitude stalls in the enhanced fidelity of on-aircraft training environment plus jet performance characteristics in all attitudes. This is not the time or place to be learning UPRT basics. APS offers on-aircraft jet UPRT in SIAI-Marchetti S211s,  McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawks, and Dornier Alpha Jets.

Career UPRT Plan and Budgeting

The best news you’ve been waiting to hear is that better does not mean more expensive. Avoid getting talked into getting limited training in fancy and/or expensive training devices or airplanes. You must look at the entire picture. We have expensive high performance jets too (optional, by the way) and they do offer value when properly positioned within a quality building-block UPRT program under the guidance of the expert UPRT instructor. If you are getting less than three flights in a real airplane, you are getting ‘exposure’, not ‘training’ – you absolutely need ‘training’. The Five Core Tenets of Effective UPRT are enduring and are the key to you and/or your flight department overcoming the LOC-I threat. Here’s the really good news:

  • Initial Core UPRT Skill Development: The cost of the initial APS training program is reasonable and of very high value. APS offers a variety of full UPRT solutions.
  • Recurrent Career Planning: Because of the intensity of the the initial APS UPRT program and its strict adherence to the Five Tenants of Effective UPRT, your recurrent training (typically every 1 to 3 years) can be accomplished in a single day. AND, you have the option to augment your recurrent program in a diversity of ways; high mach jet training, mid-performance jet training, advanced simulation, instrument recovery focus and other areas.

The Political Position of APS

UPRT and mitigating Loss of Control In-flight are big topics. Some would even describe them as infinitely complex and insurmountable. We don’t agree. The APS approach to UPRT is not only proven through thousands of participating pilots and has saved lives, but is also the way of the future on a global scale.

As you make your decision, you are going to hear a lot of differing opinions and even some direct challenges to the core tenets we know to be critical to your safety training. We will always give you our honest opinion based on our direct experience. Our business philosophy and ethical approach to serving the aviation community does not allow us to make harsh or critical statements about other providers just because they are trying to help in a different way.
Finally – if you are still not convinced, come see for yourself. We offer free decision maker evaluations for flight department of two or more pilots all year around at each of our training centers around the world. Reach out to us at APS headquarters in Phoenix to set it up: or by telephone at 480-279-1881.
Paul BJ Ransbury, APS President
I look forward to meeting you in person if we haven’t met already. To the many thousands of APS customers already invested in our program, we appreciate your continued support and loyalty, and look forward to seeing you again during the All-New APS Recurrent UPRT Program. You’ll love it!
Safe journeys to all,

Paul BJ Ransbury, President
Aviation Performance Solutions LLC

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