Trim Use on Go-Around

Practice stall-avoidance techniques so you're better prepared.

Tip Cessna 172 Takeoff
Tip Cessna 172 Takeoff
Cessna 172 TakeoffFlying

We all know that we use elevator trim to reduce pressures on the yoke in flight and thereby make our airplanes easier to handle. You might reason that during an aborted landing you can leave the trim wheel alone if, say, you're already trimmed for an approach at 70 knots and want to execute a climbing go-around at 70 knots. But in many airplanes, that's a big mistake.

The possibility for a stall increases during a go-around when a great deal of nose-up elevator trim is dialed in and full power is suddenly applied. With the elevator trim set for approach attitude, the nose-up pitching moment can be very pronounced, leading to trouble in a hurry if you aren't on top of things.

Think about it. During a normal landing you are approaching with full flaps and lots of nose-up trim. If you suddenly need to go around, in most light airplanes with the burst of power coming on you'll need to immediately add forward yoke pressure to keep the nose from rising. You'll want to trim nose down to put the airplane in a proper attitude for a safe climb out at Vy. Once nose down trim is applied and the flaps are retracted, you'll find that elevator forces will feel normal once again.

If you fail to push the yoke forward or trim nose down, you risk encountering what's known as an elevator-trim stall. The best way to avoid this dangerous condition is to practice go-arounds at a safe altitude and then head to the traffic pattern to ingrain those stall-avoidance techniques into your muscle memory so you're better prepared for the real thing.

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