Cross-Control Stall and Elevator Trim Stall

Cross-Control Stall

The objective of the cross-control stall demonstration is to show the effects of uncoordinated flight on stall behavior and to emphasize the importance of maintaining coordinated flight while making turns. This is a demonstration-only maneuver; only flight instructor applicants may be required to perform it on a practical test. However, all pilots should be familiar with the situations that can lead to a cross-control stall, how to recognize it, and the appropriate recovery action should one occur.

The aerodynamic effects of the uncoordinated, cross-control stall can surprise the unwary pilot because it can occur with very little warning and can be deadly if it occurs close to the ground. The nose may pitch down, the bank angle may suddenly change, and the airplane may continue to roll to an inverted position, which is usually the beginning of a spin. It is therefore essential for the pilot to follow the stall recovery procedure by reducing the AOA until the stall warning has been eliminated, then roll wings level using ailerons, and coordinate with rudder inputs before the airplane enters a spiral or spin.

A cross-control stall occurs when the critical AOA is exceeded with aileron pressure applied in one direction and rudder pressure in the opposite direction, causing uncoordinated flight. A skidding cross-control stall is most likely to occur in the traffic pattern during a poorly planned and executed base-to-final approach turn in which the airplane overshoots the runway centerline and the pilot attempts to correct back to centerline by increasing the bank angle, increasing back elevator pressure, and applying rudder in the direction of the turn (i.e., inside or bottom rudder pressure) to bring the nose around further to align it with the runway. The difference in lift between the inside and outside wing will increase, resulting in an unwanted increase in bank angle. At the same time, the nose of the airplane slices downward through the horizon. The natural reaction to this may be for the pilot to pull back on the elevator control, increasing the AOA toward critical. Should a stall be encountered with these inputs, the airplane may rapidly enter a spin. The safest action for an “overshoot” is to perform a go-around. At the relatively low altitude of a base-to-final approach turn, a pilot should be reluctant to use angles of bank beyond 30 degrees to correct back to runway centerline.

Before performing this stall, establish a safe altitude for entry and recovery in the event of a spin, and clear the area of other traffic while slowly retarding the throttle. The next step is to lower the landing gear (if equipped with retractable gear), close the throttle, and maintain altitude until the airspeed approaches the normal glide speed. To avoid the possibility of exceeding the airplane’s limitations, do not extend the flaps. While the gliding attitude and airspeed are being established, the airplane should be retrimmed. Once the glide is stabilized, the airplane should be rolled into a medium-banked turn to simulate a final approach turn that overshoots the centerline of the runway.

During the turn, smoothly apply excessive rudder pressure in the direction of the turn but hold the bank constant by applying opposite aileron pressure. At the same time, increase back elevator pressure to keep the nose from lowering. All of these control pressures should be increased until the airplane stalls. When the stall occurs, recover by applying nose-down elevator pressure to reduce the AOA until the stall warning has been eliminated, remove the excessive rudder input and level the wings, and apply power as needed to return to the desired flightpath.

Elevator Trim Stall

The elevator trim stall demonstration shows what can happen when the pilot applies full power for a go-around without maintaining positive control of the airplane. [Figure] This is a demonstration-only maneuver; only flight instructor applicants may be required to perform it on a practical test. However, all pilots should be familiar with the situations that can cause an elevator trim stall, how to recognize it, and the appropriate recovery action should one occur.

Maintaining Aircraft Control, Upset Prevention and Recovery Training
Elevator trim stall

This situation may occur during a go-around procedure from a normal landing approach or a simulated, forced-landing approach, or immediately after a takeoff, with the trim set for a normal landing approach glide at idle power. The objective of the demonstration is to show the importance of making smooth power applications, overcoming strong trim forces, maintaining positive control of the airplane to hold safe flight attitudes, and using proper and timely trim techniques. It also develops the pilot’s ability to avoid actions that could result in this stall, to recognize when an elevator trim stall is approaching, and to take prompt and correct action to prevent a full stall condition. It is imperative to avoid the occurrence of an elevator trim stall during an actual go-around from an approach to landing.

At a safe altitude and after ensuring that the area is clear of other air traffic, the pilot should slowly retard the throttle and extend the landing gear (if the airplane is equipped with retractable gear). The next step is to extend the flaps to the one-half or full position, close the throttle, and maintain altitude until the airspeed approaches the normal glide speed.

When the normal glide is established, the pilot should trim the airplane nose-up for the normal landing approach glide. During this simulated final approach glide, the throttle is then advanced smoothly to maximum allowable power, just as it would be adjusted to perform a go-around.

The combined effects of increased propwash over the tail and elevator trim tend to make the nose rise sharply and turn to the left. With the throttle fully advanced, the pitch attitude increases above the normal climbing attitude. When it is apparent the airplane is approaching a stall, the pilot must apply sufficient forward elevator pressure to reduce the AOA and eliminate the stall warning before returning the airplane to the normal climbing attitude. The pilot will need to adjust trim to relieve the heavy control pressures and then complete the normal go-around procedures and return to the desired flightpath. If taken to the full stall, recovery will require a significant nose-down attitude to reduce the AOA below its critical AOA, along with a corresponding significant loss of altitude.

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