View Full Version : Training for Recovery from unusual attitude in the simulator.

7th Nov 2008, 11:00
Flight International 4-10 November 2008. According to a report by the Flight Safety Foundation loss of control iis now the top "killer" airline accident category. Boeing reported to the FSFI Avaition safety Seminar in Honolulu the results of a controlled test it carried out on a group of more than 30 pilots from all backgrounds to determine whether upset recovery training has a beneficial effect on pilot ability to recover effectively from unusaul or extreme attitudes. The pilot who got the best pre-training result was a low hour pilot with a purely civilian training background and no aerobatic experience.

Hard to believe, especially if military trained pilots were involved in the trials, and one wonders what angles of bank and pitch were involved in the "controlled" tests. The Boeing definition of an upset includes pitch attitude greater than 25 degrees nose up or 10 degrees down, bank angle greater than 45 degrees or within above parameters but flying at airspeeds inappropriate for the conditions.

The above limits are quite benign and it is no wonder that a low hour pilot should have been easily able to recover - after all this is covered in PPL training.

I would be interested in readers experiences of unusual attitude recovery training in the simulator as the extent of the "upset" seems to depend largely on the whim of the simulator instructor or check pilot. Some will invert the aircraft for instance or cause it to pitch up way beyond the benign 25 degrees decreed by Boeing. Allowing for the fact simulator fidelity is limited in extreme attitudes, it seems to me the vital part is the ability to quickly recognise extreme attitudes on instruments and recover on instruments.

One would have thought recovery from ten degrees nose down and 45 degrees angle of bank is a no brainer.

7th Nov 2008, 11:17
NOSE UP - In the simulator, I do generally to 45º up or so...
1º Full power
2º Bank (increase L or R) to nearest "horizon" reference line
3º Level wings
4º Reduce power when speed permits
NOSE DOWN - in the simulator, generally 30º or so, in a turn, speed near VMO.
1º Power to idle
2º Level wings
3º Bring airplane symbol to normal horizon attitude
4º Increase power back to normal when speed permits
Military technique in NOSE UP above (2º) is "bank to 90º...!"
In the 747 simulator, I suggest to go to near 60/70º bank, if need be.
Happy contrails

7th Nov 2008, 12:35
Military technique in NOSE UP above (2º) is "bank to 90º...!"

"Military technique?" From the FCTM: "If normal pitch control inputs do not stop an increasing pitch rate, rolling the airplane to a bank angle that starts the nose down should work. Bank angles of above 45 degrees up to a maximum of 60 degrees, could be needed."

I dont anything about a 'military" technique, though. In any case 90 degrees of bank seems both unnecessary and potentially bloody dangerous. Remember that B52 crash at an air display in USA - wasn't he going for 90 degrees bank when he went in? If that is "military" technique, count me out...!

galaxy flyer
7th Nov 2008, 12:41
Bud Holland's B-52 crash had absolutely nothing to do with unusual attitudes; other than the overly aggressive maneuvers he was doing. Yes, in USAF, they do teach the possibility of using 90 degrees of bank in fighter type aircraft with very high pitch attitudes. They still use 60 for most recoveries


7th Nov 2008, 13:34
Galaxy -
To mention military - the AF trained me at Luke in 1963... F-104G/NATO.
And I got a 3 months TDY with the 479th, as exchange officer.
That is where I learned the 90º bank for nose up recoveries.
I continued to do that game with the LR-24s when I was a type rating CFI.
Obvious, the 747 bank to 60º is fine. Keep a "1 G" load.
The 747 "roll rate" would not permit a 90º bank. Prob same in a C-5...
I tried that in the simulators. Does not work.
The only one that could come closer (that I know of) is the 727.
Besides all that, "pod engines" do not like side loads.
I know a guy (then Boeing test pilot) who ended with... a 2-engine 720...!
He got fired... Our friend 411A knows him too...
Happy contrails

7th Nov 2008, 13:46
Been 6 months since I did my unusual attitudes in the sim.

We did 3 recoveries each, I had two nose up (above 50deg) one at 120 ish degrees and one at 70 degrees of roll. One nose low with full nose down trim left on with toga thrust at about 70degrees of bank.

So mild? NO!

7th Nov 2008, 14:54
BelArgUSA is correct.

This 'upset' training in the airline business became in vogue, again, after the USAir accident in Pittsburgh (the rudder problem). We all practiced
the maneuvers in the sim.

One 'technique' I was taught with the nose-high situation was to use a small amount of roll (aileron), coupled with a small amount of rudder to get the aircraft established in a 60 degree bank. I was hesitant to use too much rudder for several (obvious) reasons.

Also, yes, I was also taught to 'go for' 90 degrees of bank in the fighter-type aircraft. It works beautifully. But, in the 'big' aircraft, 60 degrees will do the job.

I enjoyed this training...it was fun...and, I learned a few things. (Which is the point of sim training...Duh!!)

One other trick I learned is, when the aircraft is, for example, in a nose-low situation with a substantial angle of bank (when you have trouble knowing which way to roll to wings level)...roll toward the 'dog house'. Pull the thrust off, roll toward the dog house (these two things done simultaneously), then ease the nose up toward the horizon (after you have wings level or close to wings level)....adding thrust when the nose is on the horizon as the airpseed approaches target speed.

It's all good....

Fly safe,


7th Nov 2008, 15:19
My previous airline (and I'm sure most others too), train for recovery from unusual attitudes/upset recovery.

The procedure was simplified into:


The recovery being implemented in that order.

Recovery from excessive bank may only require 'roll', as the 'power' may not need adjusting and the 'pitch' may also require only slight adjustment.

A spiral dive on the other hand would require reduction in 'power' (possibly with the addition of speedbrake), 'roll' to level the wings and, finally, 'pitch' to recover from the dive.

It works well in the sim.

FOK :)

7th Nov 2008, 15:20
I had a real life experience that certainly got my attention!!

It was quite a time ago, in a Falcon 20F, the details are shown in a post in D&G General Aviation & Questions called "The Dance of the Falcon", post number 63, dated 15th September 2007.

We all live and learn.


7th Nov 2008, 16:59
My primary instructor always taught me to "Step on the Sky". Breaking it down, first recognize whether you are nose-up or nose-down, adding or removing power accordingly. Then, roll the airplane in the shortest direction towards the "sky" on the ADI until level. An ADI with a skypointer (roll pointer points at the sky, opposite the direction of bank. Most commercial aircraft use this type) helps, as you can "Step on the Skypointer". After "unloading" the wing, pitch to the horizon and recover to normal flight.

We practiced some recoveries from inverted attitudes as well. It was interesting to note that in some situations such as an extreme wake vortex encounter, if you are rolled beyond the inverted position, the quickest way to "wings level" may actually be to continue the roll you have already started (inadvertently).

The exception to "Step on the Sky" was the same "Wingover" steep-bank recovery from an extremely nose-high attitude that has been previously described.

At my current company we are trained in the same manner in the simulator (DHC-8), and the recovery techniques seem to work the same way as in light aerobatic aircraft, just with the obvious differences in performance, control forces, and timing.

7th Nov 2008, 21:50
Most of this thread is focused on the classic ‘upset’ loss of control; however this may not reflect the primary threats in service.
The UK CAA report Global Fatal Accident Review 1997–2006 (CAP 776) (www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP776.pdf) suggests that more attention is required to flight handling following engine failure, and the risks of disorientation when flying a go-around.
2.1.3 “Flight handling” was the second most common causal factor. Of the 82 fatal accidents allocated this causal factor, 26 (or 32%) involved inadequate flight crew handling of an engine failure or loss of power, at least 24 (or 29%) resulted in the aircraft stalling, 10 (or 12%) involved flight crew disorientation and eight (or 10%) occurred during go-arounds.
The PSM+ICR report (www.flightsafety.org/fsd/fsd_nov-dec99.pdf) identified many problems and reasons associated with LOC after engine failure, and made recommendations for improvement, especially in training.

Re the problem of disorientation.
Disorientation training is rarely accomplished successfully in simulation due to simulator deficiencies (motion without sustained acceleration). Perhaps this aspect relates to any difference with military training which is often flown in-flight ‘for real’.

Another aspect relating to all types of LOC control (or hazard), is the need to control of surprise. Again this is something where simulators are not well matched to the human factors aspects which product in this problem.