USU outsources pilot ‘spin training’ after fatal crash

The June crash that killed both the instructor and the student happened during a spin maneuver.

(Herald Journal) Airplanes used in the USU aviation program are seen at the Logan-Cache County Airport on Thursday.

Utah State University’s aviation program is contracting out for pilot “spin training” in the wake of a fatal crash that apparently occurred while a USU flight instructor and student were performing a spin maneuver.

The primary reason for the change is that the crash took away the only plane in the program’s 28-aircraft fleet suited for the training, a two-seat Cessna 152, but department head Bruce Miller said the pause also offers an opportunity to reevaluate practices.

“We have moved right now after the accident to do spin training with some other vendors (that provide their own aircraft), and we’re not doing that in-house,” Miller said. “That’s both a good decision for us as part of the process to let everybody think through that, as well as obviously we don’t have an aircraft right now capable of doing that training.”

Spin training involves intentionally stalling an airplane to induce an earthward rotation similar to what might occur during an inflight crisis. Student pilots are taught how to pull out of such spins by steering their craft in a very specific manner.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the June 24 USU aviation crash near Mendon that killed certified instructor Blake Shumway and flight student Michael Carpenter occurred during a “fully developed spin” initiated for instruction.

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This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.