To Spin or Not to Spin
When the Earth fills your windshield
TO SPIN OR NOT to spin. I spun.
It wasn’t required for my sport pilot certificate. In fact, it’s not
even required for a private pilot certificate anymore. I read about
spins, talked about them with my instructor, and was even asked
about them during my checkride, but had never experienced one.
The argument against spins is that if a pilot is taught spin awareness and avoidance, there is no need to actually teach spin recovery.
And if the instructor isn’t proficient with spins, it could actually be
dangerous. Despite the controversy, it was simple to me. Would spin
training make me a better pilot? I thought so. It definitely wouldn’t
make me worse. More importantly, would it be fun? You bet!
I’m an experiential learner. I can read something all day and be
able to correctly answer a slew of test questions thrown my direction, but deep within it’s just rote knowledge, or head knowledge,
until it’s been field tested. When I was learning to land in a crosswind, book learning wasn’t enough. It took many flights before I was
able to confidently land when gusts were blowing across the
Would book knowledge be enough to
recover from a spin by myself if I needed to?
There was only one way to find out. And for
my first spin, I much preferred having an
experienced instructor in the right seat than
being by myself or with a frightened passenger gripping my forearm.
They also just sounded fun. The thought
of spinning a plane through the sky from a
safe altitude while learning a new skill
seemed like a great way to spend an afternoon, emphasis on “from a safe altitude.”
What’s fun at 5,000 feet above ground level
would not be so at 1,000 feet. This was going
to be a serious lesson, but a fun one for sure.
The REMOS GX I normally fly has a
placard prohibiting intentional spins, so my
instructor, Jason, arranged for us to use a
Cessna 172N. It’d been a while since we had
flown together, so we were both looking forward to the flight. It also happened to be my