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I've been reading about stall/spin accidents ever since I started 
flying years ago. I've done the power-on/off stalls like everyone else 
and quite honestly, practicing them had done nothing to help me 
understand what happens on that turn from base to final. I had heard 
about George Munson from a pilot I met while refueling at Turners 
Falls and checked out his website. After I finished reading all the 
testimonials and seeing myself in many of them, I decided it was time 
to get in touch with him.

Basically I wanted to simulate what happens on that base to final turn 
that would cause a stall/spin accident. We met first for about an hour 
while George and I discussed the characteristics of flight that lead 
to them before heading out in his Citabria to the practice area. I 
felt very comfortable talking to him about the areas I wanted to work 
on and found his explanations straight-forward and easy to understand. 
I should mention that although I love flying, I intensely dislike 
unusual attitudes, even including steep turns. So there was a big part 
of me that wasn't looking forward to this at all - but none of that 
fazed George.

At the end of the 1st lesson, we had done steep turns, and stalls and 
spins. Despite not liking the view out the window very much, George's 
easy, confident  manner helped put me at ease. When we got together 
for our 2nd training session, we simulated over and over that base to 
final turn, setting up the Citabria high above Rt 91, pretending that 
was our runway. I'd simulate overshooting the turn to final, then 
banking hard and putting in a lot of rudder to initiate the stall then 
subsequent spin. We even practiced getting out of the spin simply by 
letting go of the controls and letting the plane correct itself.

George also showed me the differences between a spiral and a spin and 
lo and behold, there I was practicing steep turns, intentionally 
getting into a spiral and easily recovering from it. I actually 
started to enjoy it!

This has definitely given me more confidence in my flying skills and 
laid to rest the fears I've had about inadvertently entering a stall/
spin close to the ground. Although I'm not ready for acrobatic 
training yet (!), my goal is to incorporate some sort of yearly stall/
spin and other unusual attitudes training with George.

Thanks George for helping me dilute the fear I've had about this kind 
of flying!
Margaret Mastrangelo
Amherst, MA

Margaret... thanks for the kind words !   5-2-09
This space reserved for Margaret's picture.  She plans to come back for more spin training , and this time I'll get some pictures!
Katie's acro flightKissing the ground!!!Brian J3Look closelyLook again
George will take you for a spin!

In a great way!  I was introduced to George by a friend who completed a spin training flight with him in the past.  Although I am based out of Long Island, I found the trip up to KBAF to receive my spin training and endorsement from George to be well worth it.  George is very cool in the airplane and creates a relaxed environment for you to learn how to put his beautiful Citabria into and out of a spin.  His teaching methodology is systematic, logical, and makes learning about spins and executing them a non-event.  After the training, I was treated to a few acrobatic maneuvers that were totally awesome.  If you are looking for a flight instructor to learn about spins or need an endorsement on spins, George is the one you are seeking.  You’ll learn and have fun at the same time, which is the best approach.  I highly recommend him!

William P. Wang

I have been flying for about 10 years and had just a little over 800 hours of total time when I went to George for spin training.  I mention those numbers because unlike some pilots who seem to be quite comfortable doing spins right from the start, spinning an airplane for me was completely outside my comfort zone-- afterall, I had spent my entire flying career being completely paranoid about keeping the 'ball' centered. So for me to intentionally stall an airplane in an uncoordinated flight condition, was, quite frankly, a source of a great deal of anxiety for me.

Consequently I had to work up to full spins in steps, starting with doing some 'falling leaf' maneuvers to get a feel of the rudder control and saving the plane before it even got close to a spin, to  progressivly getting more and more agressive with the rudder inputs. George was very patient and allowed me to progress at my own pace as I become more comfortable with the increasingly radical sight picture of the horizon sweeping across the windshield.

Of course it didn't quite go as smoothly as that and at one point I seemed to have hit a wall, the wall being, in all honesty, motion sickness.  In trying to figure out how to combat this, we finally hit upon the idea of covering up the airspeed indicator and the turn and bank indicator-- this kept me 'outside' the airplane.  Turns out I was apparently focusing way too much on the turn and bank indicator (more than I even realized)-- moving my focus back and forth between inside and outside the cockpit was the biggest source of my motion sickness issues.  Suddenly things began to click and I felt much better.  So much so that I was able to complete the training very soon after that.

Beyond the spin training, learning to fly the Citabria completely by outside references has transferred to my other flying and has without question made me a better pilot as I am flying much more by feel than I have before.  Recently I was flying an Arrow when I realized I had done a take off and a landing without once having looked at the airspeed indicator.  It was both humbling, in that after 10 years of flying I was learning a basic airmanship skill, yet very satisfying at the same time.

So for anyone who, like me, has spent the majority of their time flying 'docile' aircraft like Pipers, flying the Citabria is a great way to improve your flying skills.  And of course, as far as flying more confidently, there is nothing like actually experiencing the suddenly twirling ground rushing up at you and recovering from a spin!

Joe Marino
Belchertown, MA
Thanks Joe, for the kind words and the "stick with it" attitude.  This guy takes a lickin and just keeps on tickin.  He has since come back for more spin training, determined to chase those demons to the far corners of the hanger.  Nice job Joe!
Thanks Will!
Dave Kiselstein acro flight
I had a blast furthering my skills in Spins, Loops, Rolls, Takeoffs and Landings in N5235X.  George is a Positive, Patient and Professional Instructor.  You'll Love the Plane, the Instruction and the Experience. Can't wait to do the "Victory Roll" with him again.
Dave Kiselstein 8/11
Photo courtesy Dave Kiselstein
Thanks for the kind words Dave, and for the beautiful picture frame and photo of the Model A and Citabria
"The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival"
Randy and George during an acro flight.  Photos courtesy Randy Nickerson
Rodolfo, CFI Spin Training
Muneeb and George, CFI Spin Training
Andris, CFI Spin Training and Tailwheel Endorsement
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Click here to see video of Rodolfo and George spin training
Click here to see video of Muneeb and George spin training
Dave's acro flightGreg's acro flightJoy's acro flightKen D Rear Seat CitabriaGeneva's acro flight
Trenton's 1st acro rideTC Lovin it!
Trenton front seat departure from 7B2Trenton searching for traffic
Trenton's first acro ride
Ben F.
Max at the ControlsAnd Jake at the controls
Selfie Stick :)
Kristen, Tailwheel endorsement
Al and Grandkids, Max and Jake
Vissi and George.