Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stalls 'n Spins

Today I went out to try some stalls and spins, in the busy Class B surrounding KSAN. This wasn't a problem because I did it offline.

Flight simulators (like most simulators) tend to favor the normal over the abnormal; that is, the most accurate simulation is the simulation of normal situations. Flight simulators handle normal flight best, and as you move away from normal flight regimes, the simulation becomes more questionable, although it still might be useful. That's the case when it comes to stalls and spins. I did some stalls and spins in my clunky little Cessna 182, and while it's probably moderately close to real life, I take it with a grain of salt.

Stalls seemed to work like they are supposed to work (based on what I've read—I've never piloted a real Cessna), as did spins. Supposedly these Cessnas recover from spins on their own if you just let go of the controls, and that's certainly true for the simulated versions. Whether the simulated recovery is exactly the same as the real recovery is a separate question.

Anyway, I did it mainly just for semi-serious practice. I don't normally stall my aircraft, and I certainly have no reason to spin them, so my interest was mainly academic.

I also did some T&Gs at KSAN (another advantage of simulation is that you can do these at huge, busy airports) and North Island, buzzed the Hotel Del and came within tens of feet of some buildings downtown as I flew among them, and so on. I'm usually not into this type of game-like flying, but it is occasionally relaxing. After a half hour or so, I had relaxed enough.