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.

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

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