LOS ANGELES, CA – If your flight instructor has ever said that bank angle in the pattern should never exceed 30° FIRE THEM!
This idea has been going around for decades and the story goes something like this, If you don’t over bank in the pattern you can’t inadvertently stall and spin into the ground on the base to final turn. It’s a bunch of horseshit and the proof is the startling statistics around stall/spin accidents in traffic patterns.
Pilots who think they can’t exceed 30° of bank in the pattern will find other ways to mishandle the airplane when they are struggling to line up with the runway. The usual maneuver leading to their death is the skidding turn which simply entails adding to much rudder in the direction of the bank.
The skidding turn gives the pilot a visual cue that the nose is dropping. The next thing the shitty airplane driver in question does is pick up the nose with back pressure on the yoke or stick. Now the plane is over-yawed and the wing is loaded up with a higher than necessary angle of attack on the edge of an accelerated stall. If you are thinking this is the argument for installing an AOA indicator in every plane then click away now and go back to watching Tiger King, here is the LINK.
Most shitty pilots are lucky and survive thus reinforcing a bunch of bad behaviors with which to tempt fate again. Some pilots – the dead ones – put their Dunning-Kruger effect on full display and as the nose just begins to depart into a stall they will instinctively try to pick it up with more back pressure, when they SHOULD have unloaded to keep flying and gone around, which drives the airplane right into a spin at 500′ above the ground. Game over.
If only they would have banked more and kept the plane in coordinated flight they would be alive today reading this article and nodding in agreement.