1. Why a spin record?
Aviation records tend to fall into three categories: Higher, faster, farther. The current records are so extreme that it is beyond state-of-the-art technology—and my budget—to go after them. The inverted flat spin world record is interesting, different, unique, and awe-inspiring!
2. The first spin…and the last?
The first spin makes me nervous; so much goes through my mind about airplane performance, my performance, and anticipation. As the spin rate increases and stabilizes, I relax as I confirm the airplane is working like I expect. The last spin is a relief; I have been hanging upside-down for three minutes at negative 1.5 G, my right leg is tired and shaking from keeping the rudder to the firewall.
3. What are you thinking about?
I am totally in the moment and focused on aircraft performance. My scan goes like this: Altimeter to oil pressure to oil temperature to EGT then repeat. I look for rises in EGT, which will be followed by a movement of the mixture control to increase (enrichen) fuel flow. All this while thinking about my right foot on the rudder, left hand holding full throttle except when I adjust mixture, and right hand holding the stick in the upper right corner.
4. Why is spin training important?
Students must experience full stalls and spins to: 1) not fear them; and, 2) be capable of recognizing and recovering them virtually without overthinking the situation.
5. Advice for student pilots?
I tell all pilots, both students and certificated, to get spin and unusual attitude training. It might make you uncomfortable; however, it will definitely make you safer. Don’t just do it once, stay current by refreshing that training periodically.