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Push to safety

When your world starts to turn upside down in an aircraft, knowing exactly what to do about it could save your life.

Pilots can get themselves into trouble when overshooting the base-to-final turn low to the ground in the traffic pattern. Adding rudder to speed the turn without simultaneously adding the appropriate bank could put the aircraft in a skid. If the pilot pulls back on the yoke in such a skid, the aircraft could stall and spin.

If that happens, “pushing is the answer when pulling is often compelling,” says Catherine Cavagnaro, who owns Ace Aerobatic School in Sewanee, Tennessee. Cavagnaro, who has airline transport pilot, CFII, and designated pilot examiner certificates, teaches spins and aerobatics. She gave AOPA Live Executive Producer Warren Morningstar a firsthand look at how pushing forward on the control yoke can be lifesaving in such a scenario.

“When the ground is rushing towards you, pulling is very compelling but fight that instinct,” Morningstar says. “A push may very well save your bacon.”

“You could be on your way into a spin, and if you just quickly push forward then any roll-off tendency stops,” Cavagnaro teaches.

Watch Cavagnaro and Morningstar demonstrate how effective pushing can be. You can meet Cavagnaro in person during the AOPA Fly-Ins this year: She will be presenting seminars on aerobatics and upset recovery.

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