As a tribute to the first intentional spins performed in aviation, eight-time Master Instructor Rich Stowell recently published a 5-1/2 minute YouTube video demonstrating the spins done by aviation pioneer Harry Hawker in June and July 1914.
According to Stowell, Hawker’s daring demonstration of the ability to deliberately spin and recover undoubtedly opened the door for the scientific study of spin dynamics. Thanks to scores of researchers and test pilots since, a large body of information has been accumulated on the subject.
“Unfortunately, mythology, bad information, and fear continue to drive a lot of current day training regarding stalls and spins,” he continued.
In addition to presenting a history lesson, Stowell hopes the video will encourage more pilots to seek out spin training from instructors who possess the knowledge, skills, and equipment for the job.
Although Hawker reportedly centralized the controls to recover from his spins — a technique found to work in many airplane designs of that era — the typical light aircraft flying today often require positive use of anti-spin controls to recover from spins, Stowell notes.
Australian Harry Hawker was a test pilot for Sopwith and later co-founded Hawker Aircraft, which was responsible for military aircraft such as the Hawker Hurricane. Stowell is the 2014 National FAA Safety Team Representative as well as the 2006 National Flight Instructor of the Year, and is a recognized expert on loss of control. He has performed more than 33,000 spins in 230 spins-approved airplanes.