Loss of control in flight related to the inability to recognize an upset and controlled flight into terrain remain the primary causes of accidents involving transport aircraft.
Training company Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) highlighted an incident in which one of its upset prevention and recovery graduates used skills he learned on its course to save his aircraft and two lives.
A C-12, the U.S. Army’s version of the Beech King Air 200, encountered severe clear ice at 6,000 feet during a training mission. Within moments of the pilot’s first recognizing ice accumulation, and with the airspeed at 160 knots, the aircraft began to shudder “violently” as the speed quickly dropped to 140 and then to 120. The C-12’s nose dropped and the aircraft banked 60 degrees to the right.
Remembering his APS training, the pilot concluded, “You have to aggressively and correctly reduce angle of attack in a stall or you may not recover.” Despite the fact that the aircraft was descending at 3,000 feet per minute at a bank angle greater than 70 degrees, his training worked. “As I shoved the yoke forward and pulled the power back,” he recalled, “I made sure we were in trim and, within a couple of seconds, I could once again feel feedback in the ailerons. I rolled the aircraft upright and started to pull out of the dive.”
The aircraft later landed safely.