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Replies to: Mooneys and spins

Original post: 4/1/2000
By: Larry A. Crawford

I can attest to the spin characteristics of a J model also. On the very first flight in my 201 I was a 35 hour student pilot. My flight instructor was a 19 or 20 year old with limited Mooney experience. If I recall we were the second 201 on Boeing Field in 1978.

Anyway, we went up to 5000 feet, with 4 people in the airplane and full fuel. I would guess that we were about 100 lb. over gross. The flight instructor said "Lets see what this airplane will do in a departure stall." We were indicating about 150k at the time when the (Idiot?) aggressively hauled back on the stick. Folks, we did not stall the left wing dropped like a rock and we were nose high vertical, and I do not mean nose vertical. The wings were vertical. When we recovered we were at about 2000 feet and going the other way. THAT IS A LOSS OF 3000 FEET!

It was obvious that we ran out of rudder. I did not realize what had actually happened until much later and after several years in the Mooney.

Incidentally, like dumb sh**'s we went back up and tried it again. Only this time I was flying. By this time we had burned off some fuel, and I was a lot less aggressive on the controls. But I had full right rudder in when we stalled. This time it broke cleanly, however, it sure as hell gave me a new appreciation for the "flight envelope" of our Mooney.

Larry A. Crawford


Original post: 3/30/2000
By: Andrew Czernek

This note is really about the value of training with someone familiar with Mooneys -- such as Don. I've had beers with Don, but have never flown with Dr. Kaye. Nonetheless he's very much a part of this tale.

I started my commercial work about 24 months ago, when I owned a 201. The work was done with a very experienced ex-military pilot, but one with no Mooney experience. At that point I'd been flying for 30 years and had spun Cessnas and Pipers, but never my Mooney.

So . . . we're out over the Puget Sound at 2,500' on a nice day and the instructor asks for a power off stall. At the point of an incipient stall, most of feel the buffeting, add power and recover. "No, the Commercial Practical Test Standards require a full stall and that's what you need to do," said the instructor. Full stall -- BAM! -- we're upside down in a spin. If you want heightened appreciation of the waters of Puget Sound, view them full-in-the windshield from less than 2,000' and in a spin.

We recover -- having lost 1,000' in two rotations. We go back to 2,500' -- and the instructor asks for the same procedure again. The second time, I'm very careful to avoid cross-controlling. What happens as we slow through the buffet? BAM! Inverted and spinning again. I refused to do any more "full" stalls that day.

Subsequent to that, two things happened:
1. We landed. The instructor insisted that something must be wrong with the rigging.
2. I woke up the next morning in a cold sweat, saying "How could I be so dumb as to invite a spin at 2,500?" (See Mooney Quote-of-the-Week.)

We checked the rigging -- which was never suspect in my mind. A high-quality Mooney shop in Stockton had done the annual on the plane only six months earlier, and they check rigging aggressively as part of normal procedures. I e-mailed Don and he told the same story that he did on Friday to this list. He was very helpful and cooperative in de-briefing the situation -- though I'd only met him socially and never trained with him.

What are the morals of this story?
* It doesn't take much of a cross-control at the point of full stall to push a Mooney into a spin.
* Recovery is not as natural as it is in most Cessna and Piper models. * If you're going to go into full stalls and invite the spin, do it at 6,000' or higher. I believe that Don and others have stated before that Mooney test pilots use a minimum of 6,000' for spin/stall entry.
* For the three reasons above: TRAIN WITH A MOONEY SPECIALIST.
* Don Kaye is a first-class Mooney pilot and a gentleman.

Best regards,

Andrew Czernek
N52202 1989 Mooney 252
Mukilteo, WA -- KPAE


Original post: 4/1/2000
By: Andrew Czernek

From: John Small
Subject: Re: Mooney Spins

The information in Rich Stowell's tape 'Stall/Spin Awareness', 1998,

states unequivocally that the order is (PARE) ...

1. Power off
2. Aileron neutralize
3. Rudder full opposite forcefully
4. Elevator forcefully thru neutral

John's note is perfectly accurate. This is really a footnote to the above; to my earlier post; and to Don Kaye's excellent description of variances in spin characteristics of Mooney models.

We called the factory after our incident, talking to the chief test pilot. The answers were informative:
First: they don't start testing below 6,000 AGL.
Second: if the spin goes beyond 4 revolutions, you do whatever it takes to break the spin. That means reversing rudder; adding power; shifting CG (both pilots sliding forward).
Third: you really don't want to spin a Mooney.

Best regards,

Andrew Czernek
N52202 1989 Mooney 252
Mukilteo, WA -- KPAE



Revision: 10/28/2010