Terminology in Upset Prevention & Recovery Training


Regardless of the type of airplane flown or whether operating under 14 CFR Part 91, 121, or 135, all pilots are encouraged to adopt standardized terminology when discussing loss of control. Following are a few of the key terms:

  • Airplane Upset refers to a departure from the intended flight profile that may or may not involve stalled flight, and that typically involves an excessive angle of bank, an excessive angle of pitch, or both, but that does not involve spinning. As a point of reference, the Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aiddeveloped for air carrier operations defines an airplane upset as an airplane “unintentionally exceeding the parameters normally experienced in line operations or training” along with the following general guidelines:
    • A pitch attitude greater than 25° nose up
    • A pitch attitude greater than 10° nose down
    • A bank angle greater than 45°
    • Within the above parameters, but flying at airspeeds  inappropriate for the conditions/phase of flight or maneuver.
  • Loss of Control refers to airplane accidents that result from situations in which the pilot should have maintained, or regained aircraft control, but did not.
  • Normal Flight Mode refers to a typical manipulation of the controls that results in the intended outcome of a flight operation, where the performance of that flight operation can be measured against a set of standards.
  • Unusual Attitude is an umbrella phrase that includes, among other things, the unintended attitude that can follow an encounter with an inadvertent stall or spin, wake turbulence, or an uncommanded spiral. Unusual attitudes can arise as a result of pilot–airplane interface issues, inappropriate control inputs, or environmental factors.

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