How to recover from a spin in a Cessna 172 ? What are the different maneuvers that a pilot would have to use to to do so?

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    $\begingroup$ Isn't it described in the operating handbook? Nevertheless, in the aircraft I've received instruction: C-152, Piper Cherokee, Piper Tomahawk, all the same: (1) full opposite rudder until rotation stops, (2) lower nose to regain airspeed, (3) recover from dive and apply power. $\endgroup$
    – Anthony X
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ The C172 recovers very easily from spins - in fact you usually have to force it to enter one and then hold it there - so this question might also be interesting $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ In a 172 just let go of the controls, it'll fly itself out. Just recover from the steep spiral without over-g or over speeding. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Some of the above answers-in-comments show why it's a good idea to go to the POH for an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ A few of these coments omits (forgets?) the most important part of PARE, power off! IRL the same applies, it is not uncommon to forget pulling power to idle. $\endgroup$
    – Wirewrap
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 18:11

3 Answers 3


The memory aid is PARE:

  1. POWER to idle
  2. AILERONS neutral
  3. RUDDER on the floor opposite the direction of spin
  4. ELEVATOR nose-down to break the stall

You will want to read the full explanation in the Pilots Operating Handbook or POH for an understanding of the steps and why you need to take them. Commit the sequence above to memory and better yet get spin training from a qualified instructor.

The POH for the 172N model reads (caps and boldface in original):

Should an inadvertent spin occur, the following recovery procedure should be used:

  4. JUST AFTER THE RUDDER REACHES THE STOP, MOVE THE CONTROL WHEEL BRISKLY FORWARD FAR ENOUGH TO BREAK THE STALL. Full down elevator may be required at aft center of gravity loadings to assure optimum recoveries.
  5. HOLD THESE CONTROL INPUTS UNTIL ROTATION STOPS. Premature relaxation of the control inputs may extend the recovery.


If disorientation precludes a visual determination of the direction of rotation, the symbolic airplane in the turn coordinator may be referred to for this information.

Other Spin Recovery Methods

The methods below may or may not recover from all spins. Seek out a qualified instructor for spin training — or, better yet, avoid spins altogether!


Finagin advocates a four-step recovery technique for unintentional spins and departures from controlled flight that pilots can put to use without hesitation — and without fear of making the situation worse — even when they’re confused or disoriented by the unusual attitudes and strange sensations that can accompany spins.

  1. Rip the power to idle.
  2. Forcefully neutralize the stick and rudder pedals.
  3. Look at the airspeed indicator, and once it shows 100 knots or more (roughly 1.4 times the airplane’s stall speed) …
  4. Pull out of the dive.

Source: AOPA


  1. Power – Off.
  2. Remove your hand from the stick.
  3. Apply full opposite rudder until rotation stops.
  4. Neutralize rudder and recover to level flight.

Source: Spins in the Pitts Special by Gene Beggs

Hands In Your Lap

Some advocate the “hands in your lap” method of pulling power, taking your hands (and feet) off the flight controls, and waiting for the airplane to fly itself out of the spin. This may work for certain airframes but not all. Catherine Cavagnaro of Ace Aerobatic School says she likes to perform spin training in a Cessna 152 because that airplane will not self-recover from a spin.

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    $\begingroup$ That's the NASA answer. It works in many but not all airplanes. In particular, some airplanes need a very swift push forward on the stick to break the stall while in the spin. Neutral elevator won't do it. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know if its just me... but I've found the many "memory aids" in aviation to be more difficult than just rote memorization... when trying to recall, is it PAIR? or PARE? What exactly is TOMATO FLAMES? A FAST MOOSE? APES? RAW FAT? These aren't helping me. :) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ A key point here is If disorientation precludes a visual determination of the direction of rotation, the symbolic airplane in the turn coordinator may be referred to for this information. I've heard if you haven't been in a spin before (or very often) it is hard to tell what direction you are actually spinning, so looking at the turn coordinator can help you figure that out. $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ Once I found myself in that situation, and got so scared, that I forgot which pedal should be pushed... Fortunately, I had enough altitude, kept pushing the stick, and the plane flew out of the spin by itself... $\endgroup$
    – xxavier
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 17:53

I always taught my students the acronym PARE:

P: Power idle. This reduces the airflow over the tail. This may seem counterintuitive, but it's about helping to lower the nose and break the stall. The less airflow over the tail, the lower its downward lift component will be. This will in turn allow the aircraft's nose to drop, helping to break the stall. A: Ailerons neutral. This may also seem counterintuitive, as your natural urge will be to put opposite aileron in to level the wings. But in a stall, one wing is more stalled (higher angle of attack) than the other. Let's say it's the left wing. If you were to add right aileron to bring that left wing back up, that means that the left wing's aileron will go down in an attempt to create more lift on that wing. But by lowering the aileron on that wing you will actually be increasing the angle of attack on that wing, which in turn will only deepen the stall on the wing and worsen the spin. R: Rudder full opposite the spin. This is the key step, and in most Cessnas will be enough on its own to dampen or end the spin pretty fast. It counteracts the yaw and roll of the spin. E: Elevator nose down to break the stall (after applying the opposite rudder). This will be like an exaggerated stall recovery, as you will likely have a very nose low attitude. However, this step is key on some aircraft to break the stall.

All aircraft have different stall and spin characteristics. Some are certified for spins, some aren't but will recover easily, and some will not recover well at all. Consult your aircraft's POH to learn about your aircraft's characteristics and certifications, and don't attempt to learn by yourself; always fly with an instructor if you intend to practice spin recoveries.


First lesson from my CFI to recover from a spin: Feet on floor, hands in your thighs. This is called the Beggs/Mueller recovery technique.

The 172 is a "stable" plane. So, as i understand it, if it were dropped from upside down or on its side from a cargo plane, it will right itself.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, this goes against what the Pilot's Operating Handbook says. I'm not saying that a Cessna 172 won't recover from a spin if you just take your hands and feet off the controls, but I'm wary of any advice that contradicts the POH. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ From someone who has done it in a 172, this is a stable plane. If you stall, just let go of the yoke but KEEP THE NOSE STRAIGHT WITH THE RUDDER PETALS. You still have control of your rudder, work those petals. The nose will gently drop (with maybe a little shudder), nose down with elevator and recover, Do not apply ailerons until you are flying. You can work on power on and power off stalls with your instructor. Use PARE. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder if what was stated in this answer really works for all allowable CG positions for this aircraft. Two people in front may be a world of difference than lots of weight in back too. I would trust the POH advice more than this recommendation. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Bill, welcome! I've added a link to the technique to your post. $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 19:52

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