Chapter 13: High Altitude Flight


An aircraft upset or aerodynamic stall at high altitude has often resulted losing control of the aircraft. In most of these accidents inappropriate pilot control inputs were applied; and, the root cause has been: the pilot’s lack of understanding aerodynamics, handling qualities and stability of the aircraft at high altitude.

This chapter focuses on the hazards aircraft may encounter at high altitude, the effect the hazard has on control of the aircraft and how to correctly to cope with the hazard.

  • Low vs High Altitude
  • Buffet 
  • Maneuver Margin 
  • Aerodynamic Altitude/Coffin Corner 
  • Maneuvering Stability 
  • Operation Near the Maximum Ceiling 
  • Center-of-Gravity/Relaxed Static Stability
  • High Altitude Stall 
  • High Altitude Stall Accidents 
  • Auto Pilot/Stall 
  • Stall Warning 
  • High Altitude Stick Shaker
  • High Altitude Icing
  • Pitot Probe Icing
  • High Altitude Turbulence
  • High Altitude – Structural Failure
  • Metal Fatigue
  • Structural Failure
  • Loss of Control
  • High Altitude Fire