Aircraft Upsets and UPRT in the News

Aircraft Upsets Making Headlines

Over the course of 2014, there have been a number of Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) mishaps that have made the headlines.  In December, AirAsia 8501 (an A-320), resulted in the loss of 162 people.  To be fair, the investigation is on-going and a cause has yet to be determined.  But LOC-I is the leading theory currently.  Also in December, an Embraer Phenom 100 crashed into a house when it stalled (aural stall warning sounded for last 20 seconds of flight) during an approach to landing, killing 3 onboard as well as 3 on the ground.

For 2015, The National Transportation Safety Board has included reduction of LOC-I accidents as one of their “Most Wanted”.  Add this to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s release of Document 10011 recommending on-aircraft Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) for all commercial pilots and the European Aviation Safety Authority’s mandating UPRT for Multi-pilot’s licensing (MPL), and there may actually be hope for a new focus on training that prepares pilots to prevent and recovery from LOC-I events.  Hopefully there will also be a focus on what exactly UPRT is, and what it takes in an IP to properly and safety instruct in this potentially deadly environment.


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One Response to Aircraft Upsets and UPRT in the News

  1. This video depicts the recent crash of an ATR-72-600 turboprop in Taiwan. It is always important to be careful not to jump to conclusions until investigations have run their course, recovery of the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder should be straightforward in this case. From the video it is readily apparent that the aircraft has a nose-high pitch attitude and a high sink rate. Knowing the attitude and flight path allows us to deduce that the angle of attack (AoA) was high. A characteristic of all fixed-wing aircraft beyond the stall, or critical AoA (AoA crit) is what is known as “negative roll stability”. This phenomenon can cause lateral instability in roll, which could account for the rapid left roll evident in the video. In fact, some aircraft can exhibit “roll reversal” past the stall AoA which can result in aileron inputs working opposite their normal function.

    This loss of life is a tragedy. Hopefully information that can be learned from a thorough investigation of this accident can help in some way to avert this type of disaster in the future.

    Randall Brooks, APS VP Training and Business DevelopmentAviation Performance Solutions

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