One of my earliest aerodynamical engineering texts, Airplane Aerodynamics, written in 1951, worries about spins thusly: "unless care is taken in design, the wing tips may stall first, with a resultant flow separation over the ailerons, making them ineffective in controlling roll." [page 295] Of course the speed, maneuverability, and fuel advantages inherent in a highly swept wing has overruled this early concern. Most of our wings do indeed stall at the wing tips first, so our focus has turned to preventing a stall which, in turn, will prevent a spin.
Do you need to know how to recover from a spin? Unless you are in an aircraft designed to spin, the answer is no. Just don't stall the airplane and if you do stall an airplane, don't yaw it. But if you would like to know more about it, read on. How I learned all this: Single Spin Recovery.
What does a spin look like in a T-37? Like this.
For an excellent take on spins from an engineer friend of mine: A "new spin" on spins, www.engineeringpilot.com.
Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.
Photo: T-37 Cockpit shot, low altitude maneuvering, from Eddie's collection.
Flight Theory and Aerodynamics, page 147.
Generally speaking, you need to stall the wing before the aircraft will spin.
The attitude isn't necessarily 40° nose down and steady at that. The T-37, for example, will oscillate to higher extremes nose up and down.
Video: T-37 Spins.
Modern transport category aircraft do not require spin flight certification: don't stall the aircraft and you won't be in danger of a spin. The primary audience of this book was pilots flying fighter aircraft in the seventies and eighties. I suspect even modern fighter aircraft would not be routinely spun.
Flight Theory and Aerodynamics, page 151.
We called this a "spin prevent" in the T-37. If autorotation hasn't started, you can simply "fly the airplane out of the spin." The key in the T-37 was to do this smoothly, so as not to wrap the airplane into another spin in the other direction, often inverted.
[1T-37B-1, page 6-3] The following procedure is recommended for a normal spin recovery:
If you keep your aircraft out of a stall you should never need a spin recovery. If you find yourself in a spin with an Air Force pilot who grew up in the T-37, transfer aircraft control and watch the following, which was beaten into memory:
Connolly, Thomas F., Dommasch, Daniel 0., and Sheryby, Sydney S., Airplane Aerodynamics, Pitman Publishing Corporation, New York, NY, 1951.
Dole, Charles E., Flight Theory and Aerodynamics, 1981, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, NY, 1981.
Technical Order 1T-37B-1, T-37B Flight Manual, USAF Series, 30 September 1959
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