Stalls in Multiengine Aircraft

Stall characteristics vary among multiengine airplanes just as they do with single-engine airplanes, and therefore, a pilot must be familiar with them. Yet, the most important stall recovery step in a multiengine airplane is the same as it is in all airplanes: reduce the angle of attack (AOA). For reference, the stall recovery procedure described in in the Maintaining Aircraft Control category is included in Figure 12-19.

Figure 12-19. Stall recovery procedure.

Figure 12-19. Stall recovery procedure. [click image to enlarge]

Following a reduction in the AOA and the stall warning being eliminated, the wings should be rolled level and power added as needed. Immediate full application of power in a stalled condition has an associated risk due to the possibility of asymmetric thrust. In addition, single-engine stalls or stalls with significantly more power on one engine than the other should not be attempted due to the likelihood of a departure from controlled flight and possible spin entry. Similarly, simulated engine failures should not be performed during stall entry and recovery.

It is recommended that stalls be practiced at an altitude that allows recovery no lower than 3,000 feet AGL for multiengine airplanes, or higher if recommended by the AFM/POH. Losing altitude during recovery from a stall is to be expected.


Power-Off Approach to Stall (Approach and Landing)

A power-off approach to stall is trained and checked to simulate problematic approach and landing scenarios. A power-off approach to stall may be performed with wings level, or from shallow and medium banked turns (20 degrees of bank). To initiate a power-off approach to stall maneuver, the area surrounding the airplane should first be cleared for possible traffic. The airplane should then be slowed and configured for an approach and landing. A stabilized descent should be established (approximately 500 fpm) and trim adjusted. A turn should be initiated at this point, if desired. The pilot should then smoothly increase the AOA to induce a stall warning. Power is reduced further during this phase, and trimming should cease at speeds slower than takeoff.

When the airplane reaches the stall warning (e.g., aural alert, buffet, etc.), the recovery is accomplished by first reducing the AOA until the stall warning is eliminated. The pilot then rolls the wings level with coordinated use of the rudder and smoothly applies power as required. The airplane should be accelerated to VX (if simulated obstacles are present) or VY during recovery and climb. Considerable forward elevator/ stabilator pressure will be required after the stall recovery as the airplane accelerates to VX or VY. Appropriate trim input should be anticipated. The flap setting should be reduced from full to approach, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Then, with a positive rate of climb, the landing gear is selected up. The remaining flaps are then retracted as a positive rate-of-climb continues.

Power-On Approach to Stall (Takeoff and Departure)

A power-on approach to stall is trained and checked to simulate problematic takeoff scenarios. A power-on approach to stall may be performed from straight-and-level flight or from shallow and medium banked turns (20 degrees of bank). To initiate a power-on approach to stall maneuver, the area surrounding the airplane should always be cleared to look for potential traffic. The airplane is slowed to the manufacturer’s recommended lift-off speed. The airplane should be configured in the takeoff configuration. Trim should be adjusted for this speed. Engine power is then increased to that recommended in the AFM/POH for the practice of power-on approach to stall. In the absence of a recommended setting, use approximately 65 percent of maximum available power. Begin a turn, if desired, while increasing AOA to induce a stall warning (e.g., aural alert, buffet, etc.). Other specified (reduced) power settings may be used to simulate performance at higher gross weights and density altitudes.

When the airplane reaches the stall warning, the recovery is made first by reducing the AOA until the stall warning is eliminated. The pilot then rolls the wings level with coordinated use of the rudder and applying power as needed. However, if simulating limited power available for high gross weight and density altitude situations, the power during the recovery should be limited to that specified. The landing gear should be retracted when a positive rate of climb is attained, and flaps retracted, if flaps were set for takeoff. The target airspeed on recovery is VX if (simulated) obstructions are present, or VY. The pilot should anticipate the need for nose-down trim as the airplane accelerates to VX or VY after recovery.


Full Stall

It is not recommended that full stalls be practiced unless a qualified flight instructor is present. A power-off or power-on full stall should only be practiced in a structured lesson with clear learning objectives and cautions discussed. The goals of the training are (a) to provide the pilots the experience of the handling characteristics and dynamic cues (e.g., buffet, roll off) near and at full stall and (b) to reinforce the proper application of the stall recovery procedures. Given the associated risk of asymmetric thrust at high angles of attack and low rudder effectiveness due to low airspeeds, this reinforces the primary step of first lowering the AOA, which allows all control surfaces to become more effective and allows for roll to be better controlled. Thrust should only be used as needed in the recovery.

Accelerated Approach to Stall

Accelerated approach to stall should be performed with a bank of approximately 45°, and in no case at a speed greater than the airplane manufacturer’s recommended airspeed or the specified design maneuvering speed (VA). The entry altitude for this maneuver should be no lower than 5,000 feet AGL.

The entry method for the maneuver is no different than for a single-engine airplane. Once at an appropriate speed, begin increasing the back pressure on the elevator while maintaining a coordinated 45° turn. A good speed reduction rate is approximately 3-5 knots per second. Once a stall warning occurs, recover promptly by reducing the AOA until the stall warning stops. Then roll the wings level with coordinated rudder and add power as necessary to return to the desired flightpath.


Spin Awareness

No multiengine airplane is approved for spins, and their spin recovery characteristics are generally very poor. It is therefore necessary to practice spin avoidance and maintain a high awareness of situations that can result in an inadvertent spin.

In order to spin any airplane, it must first be stalled. At the stall, a yawing moment must be introduced. In a multiengine airplane, the yawing moment may be generated by rudder input or asymmetrical thrust. It follows, then, that spin awareness be at its greatest during VMC demonstrations, stall practice, slow flight, or any condition of high asymmetrical thrust, particularly at low speed/high AOA. Single-engine stalls are not part of any multiengine training curriculum.

No engine failure should ever be introduced below safe, intentional one-engine inoperative speed (VSSE). If no VSSE is published, use VYSE. Other than training situations, the multiengine airplane is only operated below VSSE for mere seconds just after lift-off or during the last few dozen feet of altitude in preparation for landing.

For spin avoidance when practicing engine failures, the flight instructor should pay strict attention to the maintenance of proper airspeed and bank angle as the student executes the appropriate procedure. The instructor should also be particularly alert during stall and slow flight practice. Forward center-of-gravity positions result in favorable stall and spin avoidance characteristics, but do not eliminate the hazard.

When performing a VMC demonstration, the instructor should also be alert for any sign of an impending stall. The student may be highly focused on the directional control aspect of the maneuver to the extent that impending stall indications go unnoticed. If a VMC demonstration cannot be accomplished under existing conditions of density altitude, it may, for training purposes, be done utilizing the rudder blocking technique described in the following section.

As very few twins have ever been spin-tested (none are required to), the recommended spin recovery techniques are based only on the best information available. The departure from controlled flight may be quite abrupt and possibly disorienting. The direction of an upright spin can be confirmed from the turn needle or the symbolic airplane of the turn coordinator, if necessary. Do not rely on the ball position or other instruments.

If a spin is entered, most manufacturers recommend immediately retarding both throttles to idle, applying full rudder opposite the direction of rotation, and applying full forward elevator/stabilator pressure (with ailerons neutral). These actions should be taken as near simultaneously as possible. The controls should then be held in that position until the spin has stopped. At that point adjust rudder pressure, back elevator pressure, and power as necessary to return to the desired flight path. Pilots should be aware that a spin recovery will take considerable altitude therefore it is critical that corrective action be taken immediately.