Stall Recovery 101

Stall Recovery 101

One of the hardest things to learn when you see a stall starting on a straight-ahead landing is that you should push on the elevator stick. This is difficult because all your instincts tell you to pull up! But to save the plane, you need a lower angle of attack, and you can get that only with some down-elevator. This takes a lot of practice, which is most safely obtained by practicing stalls and stall recovery high up in the air. Get to know what a stall-about-to-happen looks like and just how much elevator has to be applied to kill the stall before the stall kills the model. I have seen many fliers crash by unintentionally doing a snap roll when they turned onto final for landing. They are trying to go slowly, so they have input a lot of up-elevator, and then they use the rudder to make that last turn. But that’s exactly what you are taught to do to start a snap roll! Suddenly, and without enough altitude to recover, the plane does a snap roll into the ground. I ruined a few models that way myself before I learned the key facts about stalls:

• On a conventional plane, stalls are always caused by the overuse of the elevator and can happen at any speed.

• The use of rudder or aileron while holding up-elevator can cause one wing to stall, and the plane may start a snap roll.

• The times when you may be holding too much up-elevator without realizing that you are doing so are when landing, when making sharp turns and when pulling up at high speed. These are the times when stalls usually get pilots into trouble.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Stall Recovery 101


Updated: February 4, 2016 — 11:14 AM


  1. This is why there should be more stall training during the learning phase. Straight ahead, accelerated, and turn stalls that can slip into a spin or even spiral. All of this should be in basic training as it is with full scale craft. When I get a new airplane I and dial it in the first thing I do is a whole series of stalls to see if its going to fall off on a wing etc etc…

  2. very nice an simple explanation.

  3. You may also need the prop blast to make your elevator respond.
    I was taught that for landing, elevator is for attitude and throttle is for up/down. Small electrics with their low voltage cut off, can induce bad habits of leaning on the elevator. They generally have very low wing loadings which allow us to get away with poor technique. I try to always land with power on even in indoor stuff for this reason.

  4. A worthy article for all fliers to read. If the article was written by the Jef Raskin I knew, the “About the author” did him no honor. Google “Jef Raskin” to understand why I say this.

  5. One of the first things I learn my students while the learn to fly a glider is: when you are landing the plane and your a little short, don’t pull the elevator but give some down elevator so the plane get some speed and starts flying again. I show them the “trick” so they see the difference between stalling the plane and possible crashing short of the runway. Or landing it nice in front of them.

    1. and your a little short,

      You meant “and you’re a little short”, right?

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