LOC-I in Australian General Aviation

Flight Safety Australia Magazine 2016


“According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), in 2014, the number of aircraft ‘control problems’ involving general aviation (GA) aircraft was the highest [it has been] in the last 10 years. This was significantly greater than the 10-year average; however, it was consistent with the general trend (since 2010) of increasing aircraft control occurrences in GA. Around 70 per cent of these occurrences involved aeroplanes and greater than 50 per cent involved aircraft conducting private/business/sports operations. There were 60 accidents—two fatal and six serious injury accidents—and four serious incidents. Of these occurrences, 22 were investigated by the ATSB. The most common control issues were loss of control, hard landings and wheels-up landings.

The United States’ ATSB equivalent, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) notes an even stronger trend. According to the NTSB, in the past decade nearly 47 per cent of all fatal aircraft crashes involved ‘loss of control’. Of those cases, nearly 80 per cent were aerodynamic stalls, weighted heavily toward stalls in the early stages of a baulked landing (‘go-around’) of instrument missed approach. In fact, loss of control in flight (LOC-I) is involved in the greatest majority of fatal air crashes in all categories of aircraft operation that fall under the NTSB’s purview—recreational, general aviation, instructional flight, business flying, corporate (professional flight crew) operations and even commercial airline flights.

Whoever’s data you use, it’s clear that we need to know a lot more about stalls and spins, and how to avoid them.”

It is worth repeating that last statement – CASA's flagship aviation safety magazine stated that “we need to know a lot more about stalls and spins, and how to avoid them.”

FAA Most Wanted


The FAA's most wanted issues are quite clear - prevention of loss of control in flight for GA is one of them and there is much activity in the USA to address this - education and technology including regulation (new FAR 23, pilot training).


"Incorporate more realistic scenarios into flight training regarding stalls. Ensure pilots have the confidence to do stall recovery."

The FAA and NTSB are much more active than the ATSB and CASA! The flight training industry in the USA is also much more active than in Australia.

What the NTSB and FAA Do

Refer https://www.flyingmag.com/preventing-loss-control-with-training-technology?src=SOC&dom=fb

“Loss of aircraft control remains the No. 1 killer of general aviation pilots, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). At an industry roundtable hosted by the NTSB at its Washington, D.C., headquarters in April, the hot topic was how better training and technology can help pilots do a better job of flying their airplanes safely. (For a complete video archive and transcript of the discussion, visit the NTSB.)

Several of the participants suggested that flight instructors generally need more experience with slow flight and stalls so that they can teach their students to quickly and confidently recognize and recover from these conditions.”

“The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook was updated in 2016, and the chapter on slow flight and stalls is now titled Maintaining Aircraft Control: Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. The FAA defines an upset as “an event that unintentionally exceeds the parameters normally experienced in flight or in training,” such as excessive pitch attitudes and/or bank angles, or “flying at airspeeds inappropriate for the conditions.”

The handbook suggests that to avoid upsets, pilots should receive upset recovery and prevention training, including slow flight, stalls, spins and unusual attitudes.”

Also refer http://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/regulations/the-faa-updated-their-guidance-on-flight-reviews-will-it-make-flying-safer/

“The FAA just released AC 61-98D to help beef up what pilots and instructors cover in their flight reviews. While it doesn't change the regulation and minimum training requirement of FAR 61.56, it does recommend where pilots should spend their time in the review, in an effort to lower accident rates.

Loss Of Control Is The Major Concern

According to the FAA, Loss Of Control (LOC) was the number one cause for GA fatalities from 2001 through 2010.”

From that AC 61-98D:

“Regardless of the pilot’s experience, the flight instructor should review at least those maneuvers considered critical to safe flight, such as:
• Takeoffs;
• Stabilized approaches to landings;
• Slow flight;
• Stall recognition, stalls, and stall recovery;
• Spin recognition and avoidance;
• Recovery from unusual attitudes; and
• Operating the aircraft by sole reference to instruments under actual or simulated conditions.”

It is worth repeating this item: “Spin recognition and avoidance”!

The FAA’s AC 61-67C Stall and Spin Awareness Training is also relevant on the subject of flight training for stalls:

“The flight training required by part 61 does not entail the actual practicing of spins for other than flight instructor-airplane and flight instructor-glider applicants, but emphasizes stall and spin avoidance. The most effective training method contained in Report No. FAA-RD-77-26 is the simulation of scenarios that can lead to inadvertent stalls by creating distractions while the student is practicing certain maneuvers. Stall demonstrations and practice, including maneuvering during slow flight and other maneuvers with distractions that can lead to inadvertent stalls, should be conducted at a sufficient altitude to enable recovery above 1,500 feet AGL in single-engine airplanes and 3,000 feet AGL in multiengine airplanes. The following training elements are based on Report No. FAA-RD-77-26:
a. Stall Avoidance Practice at Slow Airspeeds. ………
b. Power-On (Departure) Stall. ……
c. Engine Failure in a Climb Followed by a Gliding Turn. This demonstration will show the student how much altitude the airplane loses following a power failure after takeoff and during a turn back to the runway and why returning to the airport after losing an engine is not a recommended procedure. This can be performed using either a medium or steep bank in the turn, but emphasis should be given to stall avoidance. …….
d. Cross Controlled Stalls in Gliding Turns. Perform stalls in gliding turns to simulate turns from base to final. Perform the stalls from a properly coordinated turn, a slipping turn, and a skidding turn. Explain the difference between slipping and skidding turns. Explain the ball indicator position in each turn and the aircraft behavior in each of the stalls.
e. Power-Off (Approach-To-Landing) Stalls. ……
f. Stalls During Go-Arounds. …..
g. Elevator Trim Stall. (1) Have the student place the airplane in a landing approach configuration, in a trimmed descent. (2) After the descent is established, initiate a go-around by adding full power, holding only light elevator and right rudder pressure. (3) Allow the nose to pitch up and torque to swerve the airplane left. At the first indication of a stall, recover to a normal climbing pitch attitude. ………”

This is much more thorough than a typical training syllabus conforming to CASA’s Part 61 MOS.


I don't see the ATSB and CASA putting adequate attention to LOC-I. Particularly disappointed to read about one such accident where the pilot had a history of handling the aeroplane such that a stall/spin was most likely YET the report guessed that the cause of the engine failure was carburettor icing and both CASA and ATSB promptly promoted the avoidance of carburettor icing and totally ignored what caused the fatalities - stall/spin. An engine failure should not result in death.


Refer the 1944 book Stick and Rudder to ATSB/CASA reports in 2007 to the Flight Safety Magazine article of 2016 to now. The biggest single cause of fatal GA accidents is stall/spin from a turn. Why don't ATSB and CASA tackle LOC-I with the same fervour as in the USA?

I put that question to Greg Hood, CEO ATSB, at the RAeS Hargrave Lecture and Dinner on 13/6/18 and he agreed that the history of accidents in the last twelve months supported the need to take more action.


I posted these notes on 7th June, prior to the Moorabbin accident:


A change in the emphasis and guidance by CASA could have a marked effect on the skills and awareness of all GA pilots:

1. In RPL and PPL tests plus CPL tests in single engine aircraft only, examiners should require the incipient spin entry and recovery (mandatory for the test) to be from a turn. After all, CASR 61.195 already requires all pilots to have been trained and assessed as competent in these exercises prior to the test.

2. The above action will result in more emphasis being placed on LOC-I skills and awareness training by flight training schools.

3. The same emphasis on LOC-I should be placed on Aeroplane Flight Reviews – again, the requirement is already in the regulations so only requires guidance when the existing CAAP 5.81-1 is rewritten as an Advisory Circular.

4. These actions would require improved stall/spin awareness training and ongoing refresher training for many instructors.

CASA's flagship aviation safety magazine stated in 2016 that “we need to know a lot more about stalls and spins, and how to avoid them.”


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