Stalls (Part Three) Impending Stalls and Full Stalls

Approaches to Stalls (Impending Stalls), Power‑On or Power-Off

An impending stall occurs when the airplane is approaching, but does not exceed the critical AOA. The purpose of practicing impending stalls is to learn to retain or regain full control of the airplane immediately upon recognizing that it is nearing a stall, or that a stall is likely to occur if the pilot does not take appropriate action. Pilot training should emphasize teaching the same recovery technique for impending stalls and full stalls.


The practice of impending stalls is of particular value in developing the pilot’s sense of feel for executing maneuvers in which maximum airplane performance is required. These maneuvers require flight in which the airplane approaches a stall, but the pilot initiates recovery at the first indication, such as by a stall warning device activation.

Impending stalls may be entered and performed in the same attitudes and configurations as the full stalls or other maneuvers described in this chapter. However, instead of allowing the airplane to reach the critical AOA, the pilot must immediately reduce AOA once the stall warning device goes off, if installed, or recognizes other cues such as buffeting. Hold the nose down control input as required to eliminate the stall warning. Then level the wings maintain coordinated flight, and then apply whatever additional power is necessary to return to the desired flightpath. The pilot will have recovered once the airplane has returned to the desired flightpath with sufficient airspeed and adequate flight control effectiveness and no stall warning. Performance of the impending stall maneuver is unsatisfactory if a full stall occurs, if an excessively low pitch attitude is attained, or if the pilot fails to take timely action to avoid excessive airspeed, excessive loss of altitude, or a spin.

Full Stalls, Power-Off

The practice of power-off stalls is usually performed with normal landing approach conditions to simulate an accidental stall occurring during approach to landing. However, poweroff stalls should be practiced at all flap settings to ensure familiarity with handling arising from mechanical failures, icing, or other abnormal situations. Airspeed in excess of the normal approach speed should not be carried into a stall entry since it could result in an abnormally nose-high attitude.

To set up the entry for a straight-ahead power-off stall, airplanes equipped with flaps or retractable landing gear should be in the landing configuration. After extending the landing gear, applying carburetor heat (if applicable), and retarding the throttle to idle (or normal approach power), hold the airplane at a constant altitude in level flight until the airspeed decelerates to normal approach speed. The airplane should then be smoothly pitched down to a normal approach attitude to maintain that airspeed. Wing flaps should be extended and pitch attitude adjusted to maintain the airspeed.


When the approach attitude and airspeed have stabilized, the pilot should smoothly raise the airplane’s nose to an attitude that induces a stall. Directional control should be maintained and wings held level by coordinated use of the ailerons and rudder. Once the airplane reaches an attitude that will lead to a stall, the pitch attitude is maintained with the elevator until the stall occurs. The stall is recognized by the full-stall cues previously described.

Recovery from the stall is accomplished by reducing the AOA, applying as much nose-down control input as required to eliminate the stall warning, leveling the wings, maintaining coordinated flight, and then applying power as needed. Right rudder pressure may be necessary to overcome the engine torque effects as power is advanced and the nose is being lowered. [Figure 4-7] If simulating an inadvertent stall on approach to landing, the pilot should initiate a go-around by establishing a positive rate of climb. Once in a climb, the flaps and landing gear should be retracted as necessary.

Figure 4-7. Power-off stall and recovery.

Figure 4-7. Power-off stall and recovery. [click image to enlarge]

Recovery from power-off stalls should also be practiced from shallow banked turns to simulate an inadvertent stall during a turn from base leg to final approach. During the practice of these stalls, take care to ensure that the airplane remains coordinated and the turn continues at a constant bank angle until the full stall occurs. If the airplane is allowed to develop a slip, the outer wing may stall first and move downward abruptly. The recovery procedure is the same, regardless of whether one wing rolls off first. The pilot must apply as much nose down control input as necessary to eliminate the stall warning, level the wings with ailerons, coordinate with rudder, and add power as needed. In the practice of turning stalls, no attempt should be made to stall or recover the airplane on a predetermined heading. However, to simulate a turn from base to final approach, the stall normally should be made to occur within a heading change of approximately 90°.


Full Stalls, Power-On

Power-on stall recoveries are practiced from straight climbs and climbing turns (15° to 20° bank) to help the pilot recognize the potential for an accidental stall during takeoff, go around, climb, or when trying to clear an obstacle. Airplanes equipped with flaps or retractable landing gear should normally be in the takeoff configuration; however, power-on stalls should also be practiced with the airplane in a clean configuration (flaps and gear retracted) to ensure practice with all possible takeoff and climb configurations. Power for practicing the takeoff stall recovery should be maximum power, although for some airplanes it may be reduced to a setting that will prevent an excessively high pitch attitude.

To set up the entry for power-on stalls, establish the airplane in the takeoff or climb configuration. Slow the airplane to normal lift-off speed while continuing to clear the area of other traffic. Upon reaching the desired speed, set takeoff power or the recommended climb power for the power-on stall (often referred to as a departure stall) while establishing a climb attitude. The purpose of reducing the airspeed to lift-off airspeed before the throttle is advanced to the recommended setting is to avoid an excessively steep nose-up attitude for a long period before the airplane stalls.

After establishing the climb attitude, smoothly raise the nose to increase the AOA, and hold that attitude until the full stall occurs. As described in connection with the stall characteristics discussion, continual adjustments must be made to aileron pressure, elevator pressure, and rudder pressure to maintain coordinated flight while holding the attitude until the full stall occurs. In most airplanes, as the airspeed decreases the pilot must move the elevator control progressively further back while simultaneously adding right rudder and maintaining the climb attitude until reaching the full stall.

The pilot must promptly recognize when the stall has occurred and take action to prevent a prolonged stalled condition. The pilot should recover from the stall by immediately reducing the AOA and applying as much nose-down control input as required to eliminate the stall warning, level the wings with ailerons, coordinate with rudder, and smoothly advance the power as needed. Since the throttle is already at the climb power setting, this step may simply mean confirming the proper power setting. [Figure 4-8]

Figure 4-8. Power-on stall.

Figure 4-8. Power-on stall. [click image to enlarge]

The final step is to return the airplane to the desired flightpath (e.g., straight and level or departure/climb attitude). With sufficient airspeed and control effectiveness, return the throttle to the appropriate power setting.