My UPRT experience (part 2)

This is the second part of our blog written by BGS training advisor George Jobbins, who shares his experience of a UPRT course. Read the first part here.

After a long delay due to the Covid-19 lockdown and dual flying training restrictions I could finally get back to Ultimate High at Goodwood Aerodrome to complete my UPRT course.  

 You may have read my first blog when I started this course at the end of March. It has been a long gap between the first two trips and this final trip, but I was lucky enough to do some flying at my local club prior to finishing this course so I wasnt completely rusty! If you havent seen my first blog, I would recommend taking a look as it will give you a background on UPRT training and what the first two flights were like.  

Things were a little different this time when I arrived due to the extra restrictions that are now in place to keep us safe during these times. Plenty of hand washing, hand sanitiser and cleaning of all the control surfaces in the aircraft before and after flight. There were also fewer people around due to social distancing measures, so the experience was slightly different to last time. I think most of us are used to living with these restrictions now, so it didnt put me off or deter my performance in the air. 

As it had been a while since my last UPRT flight my instructor spent some time going over the previous two flights to refresh my knowledge and to get me in the zone, ensuring I hadnt forgotten anything important. I like this approach to learning as trying to explain or go recap during an instructional flight can be difficult and wastes time. Once we had summarised the previous two flights we moved onto the brief for today’s flight.  

It was a clear, warm day so perfect conditions for flying, apart from it being very hot while on the ground. Once we were airborne we climbed to 5000 feet, with my instructor giving me control shortly after take off so I could get the feel of the aircraft again. After getting level at our operating altitude we did some pre stall / aerobatics checks prior to moving onto the first manoeuvres. We did some basic stalls so I could get used to the recovery actions push, roll and power the correct way of recovering from an upset. My instructor was happy with how I dealt with these so we moved onto some more advanced upsets. The push, roll, power, stabilise technique is used to recover the aircraft from an upset during course – ‘push’ meaning reduce the aircraft’s angle of attack, roll the wings level if needed and adjust the power as necessary.   

Next, we did some more advanced manoeuvres: incipient spins leading to a fully developed spin. You need to work quicker than normal here with your recovery actions as you are losing altitude very quickly, there is a lot going on, and it all happens very fast.  

We explored using the rudder during a turn which sometimes ended up with a violent upset which was quite a surprise! The same method was used to recover even when upside down, which took some getting used to. It didnt feel natural pushing the controls forward in this situation, but this is necessary to unload the wing before you are able to roll the wings level.  

This final trip was like a summary of what I had been taught previously with some extras thrown in; it can be quite heavy on your stomach if you are not used to this sort of flying. I did find that I needed a breather at times returning to straight and level flight on a couple of occasions for a rest.  

So that is me qualified in upset recovery training. It is now a mandatory requirement prior to your first multi-pilot type rating, but even if you are not planning on flying multi-crew I would still recommend it. You learn so many skills, and I was exposed aspects of flying that I had not experienced before on other courses, which could potentially save mine and my passenger’s lives. It has probably been the most enjoyable and insightful three hours of flying that I have done so far. Hopefully I will never need to use what I have learned as I now have the skills to recognise a situation prior to it potentially becoming out of control.

BGS is a member of Wings Alliance, who offer a combined UPRT & APS MCC package.