24 – Unusual Attitudes

In this exercise and lesson you will be taught to recognize a potentially hazardous flight attitude from instrument indications and recover before a hazardous attitude develops.

Planned Activities

• Exercises 24 Unusual Attitudes

Reference Material


• AIM AIR 3.0

• Ground School and PGI Notes 


• Study the Abnormal and Emergency sections in the POH

• Review the POH (chapter 7 aircraft systems) to develop a better understanding of how or why a malfunction would occur or to understand how different systems affect the aircraft’s instrument indications.

• Review human factors associated when flying with reference to instruments only (Hint: look in the AIM).

• Be able to answer the following questions:

1. Which instrument will indirectly tell you the pitch of the aircraft?

2. How do we recover from a nose-up unusual attitude? Nose down?

3. How can we prevent unusual attitudes from developing?

4. When do you think you are most likely to get into an unusual attitude?

• Write down your questions!

Tips/Rules of Thumb/Theory 

• Radial scan starts from the attitude indicator and radiates like spokes of a wheel and is adjusted for information needed.

• Don’t take your eyes off the attitude for longer than it takes to “briefly” look at two other instruments.

• The easiest recovery from an unusual attitude is not to get into one!

• Regularly check that the aircraft is properly trimmed (momentarily let go of the controls and monitor for pitch changes).

Unusual attitudes: You must rely on your instruments to determine problem and recovery procedure rather than your senses.

• To recognize an unusual attitude the first cue is the trend on the airspeed indicator. Increasing airspeed = nose low attitude, decreasing airspeed = nose high attitude. Instruments you should reference are ASI, TB, ALT, and VSI.

• Always recover to a stabilized level flight attitude or climb using prompt coordinated control movements applied in the proper sequence.

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