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Ryanair Mentored Cadet Blog – Hugh Maguire (Part 5)

Hi all, welcome back. This one is all about AUPRT (Advanced Upset Prevention and Recovery Training). This type of flying is a little different, you could say it’s getting turned on its head (literally)… ok, bad jokes over.

When we start in AFTA we hear about this training and how enjoyable it is, and I was no different, I loved it. It’s a big difference from the usual flying we do. This photo is the Slingsby T67 M260 Firefly, AFTA’s aerobatic aircraft, and yes we have to wear parachutes when flying in this one. This particular aircraft is an ex RAF trainer used for initial training of future fast jet and rotary military pilots.

We do three hours over three flights, one of which is in the T67 Slingsby, the rest are in a Cessna, with an advanced autopilot and angle of attack electronic indicator for angle of attack awareness appreciation. I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the Cessna, it’s been a while. But I particularly enjoyed flying the Cessna in a manner I never had before, much closer to its limitations.

The training is not about just going out and doing aerobatic manoeuvres like loop-the-loops or barrel rolls, it’s about learning how the aircraft can get into an undesirable state, and how we can safely recover from it. We cover many scenarios including stalls, the effect of G-force, and how the autopilot can lead us to a loss of control. Recognition of upset and dealing with the “Startle effect” are core competencies that must be developed during this phase of training.

This training is a new EASA requirement for all flight students to have completed, and I can really see the benefits of it; my confidence has grown as a result. Not only do I have a better understanding of how to avoid such scenarios, but in case I do find myself there, I feel confident to recover safely. Most of the confidence was built when practicing the manoeuvres and recoveries, such as the “Lazy 8”, recovery from inverted flight and offloading “G” forces in various scenarios.

Many people ask: for safety reasons, why is this training not completed in a simulator? And it’s a good question considering we complete our whole training (and everything afterwards too) with our main focus on safety. The main reason is the effect of G-force. In order for pilots to experience positive and negative G-forces, we need to complete the training in a real aircraft. A tip that worked for me was: don’t eat breakfast before you go.

We experience up to positive 3G, that is the feeling of 3 times our body weights pressing into the seat. Negative G is also enjoyable, and for this one I could feel myself being lifted off the seat, and saw my kneeboard opening on its own while strapped to my knee. These scenarios are where the Slingsby excels, the Cessna cannot be flown to the same limitations.

The manoeuvres make for some great photos, here’s a few from one of them from the Slingsby.

Until next time, all the best.