Spins are essentially what happens when only half the plane is stalling. Or rather, half the plane is stalling significantly more than the other half. Because half the plane has more lift than the other, this forces the plane into a bank, very quickly followed a pitch down. Obviously, this is dangerous.

Spins happen when a stall occurs, with a yaw on the plane (not coordinated flight).

Standard disclaimer for my other flying notes: I’m not a CFI. Hell, as of this writing, I’m not even a private pilot. Don’t take this as flight instruction.

Recovering from a Spin

Essentially, this is stopping the rotation, and unstalling the wing.

  1. Power to idle
  2. Ailerons neutral
  3. Full opposite rudder
  4. Push down (exit the stall)
  5. Neutral rudder after spin stops
  6. Return to level flight (return to level flight)

Demonstrating a Spin

Approach a spin similar to a power-off stall. This makes sense, because a spin will send you hurtling toward the ground, and it’s better to do that with minimum power applied.

As the plane approaches stall, smoothly apply full rudder in the direction o the desired spin rotation, while applying back pressure (pull up) on the elevator. The airplane should yaw in the direction of the rudder and enter the spin. Thus, entering the “Incipient” phase of the spin. At this point, spin recovery techniques should be initialized.


  • Entry is pretty obvious
  • Incipient is just after entry - the plane is spinning, but it’s not yet following a vertical flightpath
  • Developed is when the plane is heading more-or-less straight down.
  • Recovery is when the rotation ceases and the stall is exited. It may take a few turns to exit recovery phase, depending on the aircraft.