Exercise 13 – Spins

The spin exercise for PPL students is a recognize and avoid exercise. The expectation by the end of the lesson is not to be able to perform spins, it is about not getting in a spin in the first place. Students will not normally do more than 1 revolution spins – IOW, not beyond the incipient stage.

Transport Canada’s Stall/Spin Awareness Guide is a fantastic resource when it comes to teaching this lesson, it is availableĀ hereĀ (new window PDF).

Before teaching this lesson, it is worth to review Slow Flight and the authority the rudder still has vs all other controls in the slow regime of flight. If at all possible, you should try and demonstrate the an incipient spin at the end of your stall lesson.

All procedures in this article are not aircraft specific, always follow your aircraft’s spin procedures for entry and recovery and never attempt spins in aircraft which are not certified to do so.


  • Many Cessna aircraft must begin spins at quite higher altitudes than normal airwork.
  • Make sure you have this altitude and always follow POH instructions


  • Align the aircraft with a road and have plenty of altitude for the maneuver.
  • Being a power off stall entry
  • Just before the stall, apply full backpressure and pro-spin inputs
  • Hold the inputs to demonstrate the incipient stage


  • After 1/2 a turn, begin an immediate recovery using the procedure outlined in your aircraft’s POH
  • Be methodical and assertive while verbalizing the recovery procedure
  • Throttle IDLE, Ailerons NEUTRAL, OPPOSITE Rudder, Control Column BRISK FORWARD
  • Recover from the dive as you’ve been taught in your training
  • Recover to cruise or as appropriate
  • Describe what has occurred if appropriate
    • If the student requires another demo, go for it

Student Practice

  • Have the student perform the entry and on first signs of a spin, recover
  • Make sure the student thoroughly understands the signs of an impending spin
  • Recovery should be initiated ASAP
  • If your student is uncomfortable with the entry, enter the spin for them and then have them recover


  • There are many scenarios in which a pilot can enter a spin inadvertently
  • Demonstrate of have the student practice from various power settings and attitudes spin entries and recoveries
  • Possibilities include, power on entries, climbing/descending turns, “base to final” scenario, cross controlled or accelerated stall entries

Precision Recovery

  • If with a CPL student, align with a road and have the student recover aligned with the road after x amount of turns or half turns.
  • For CPL students, make sure they do not enter a spiral dive from the spin
  • If a spiral dive is entered, they should be able to recognize and recover


  • Point out instrument indications including the Turn Coordinator (T/B), airspeed and altitude indications
  • Never use the inclinometer for spin direction information

The spin is considered an aerobatic maneuver and should never be attempted in non-certified aircraft. All procedures should be done in accordance with the POH. Pilots have to think of mechanical control movements rather than pressure for spin recover – this involved elevator movement in a direction that, by the looks of it, will make things worse.

All of this information on pilot training and flight training in Canada is also available at www.myflighttraining.ca.