Technique: Looking at Loss of Control From the Bottom Up

 - February 11, 2013, 11:10 AM
Flight instructor Rich Stowell, otherwise known as ‘The Spin Doctor.’

Rich Stowell, a master certified flight instructor and aerobatics teacher sometimes referred to as The Spin Doctor, sees a training gap that has the potential to lead to loss-of-control (LOC) issues. Stowell told AIN that, as an instructor, he recognizes the link between LOC issues in transport-category aircraft and the primary education being presented to both current and future generations of pilots.

In his LOC seminars, Stowell points to a major missing element in flight training today. “In previous decades most airline pilots were military trained in aerobatics and upset recovery,” he said. “We’ve seen the results of a [lack of that training] percolating up in a number of high-profile transport accidents in the past few years. I’m working from the bottom up [with entry-level students] to produce consistency in general aviation training, decision-making, risk management and [to address] the loss of control that comes from faulty stick-and-rudder skills.”

Stowell is quick to point out the industry’s Catch 22 dilemma when it comes to teaching pilots how to avoid LOC accidents. “We have many instructors with cursory stick-and-rudder skills themselves trying to teach other pilots. It’s producing a generational loss of knowledge,” he asserts.

Stowell believes the additional training required by recent legislation is only the beginning and that the aviation industry is going to need to police itself and create better stick-and-rudder standards for pilots of all categories or risk the FAA mandating something the industry won’t like. “Bottom line is to never stop learning. Take advanced training when it’s offered,” he urges.