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An Inadvertent Spin and What I Learned About Flying a Mooney


From: "Andrew Czernek"
To: "Mooney Mail List"
Subject: RE: Mooney Spins!!!
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 19:24:28 -0800

>From: Donald Kaye

> >You really, really don't want to accidentally get a Mooney in a spin, as
>is apparent for this post!
>I don't do cross controlled stalls with anyone in a Mooney anymore and,
>once again, I recommend against anyone doing them.<

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


Revision: 10/28/2010



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