Why UPRT is Important



It’s hard to deny that the last few years have presented a new set of challenges for pilots and organizations in an ever-evolving aviation industry. As we look ahead, one of the most important things to focus on as an organization is safety and preparing our pilots for any situation they may encounter in 2023. This is why Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) should be at the top of your list when it comes to investments in pilot training this year.

Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) is the #1 fatal threat faced by every pilot on every flight. As a powerful tool, UPRT can help protect pilots from life-threatening LOC-I situations by providing them with critical skills necessary to be aware of, and recognize and safely recover from, a developing Undesired Aircraft States (UAS) and, most importantly, step in to prevent the UAS from evolving into an Airplane Upset.

In this article, we will discuss how UPRT works to improve aviation safety, what benefits it brings with it, and answer common questions surrounding UPRT such as its requirement status under FAA regulations.

For those familiar with UPRT, keep in mind that the discussion that follows is intentionally high-level.

We’ll be diving into more detail in future newsletters. Let’s get started.

Aerobatic flight experience hammerhead manoeuvre

How does UPRT work?

Loss of control is a very big deal because of its lethality. Proven-effective UPRT involves several critical features; ground instruction, in-flight training, and advanced simulator training all under the guidance of an expert instructor. During the ground instruction component, pilots are taught UPRT theory and the basics of airplane upset and recovery management, as well as critical safety protocols for dealing with emergency undesired aircraft states (UAS) and a variety of upset recovery maneuvers with emphasis on the management of critical human factors such as startle and surprise (more on this later).

The in-flight portion consists of familiarization, and maneuver-based UPRT exercises culminating with a diversity of scenario-based events to engrain required upset training skills and the mental processes necessary for the pilot function despite potentially incapacitation human factors such as startle, surprise, and fear.

By incorporating cutting-edge simulation techniques to minimize the likelihood of an upset leading to fatal accidents, pilots can simulate day-to-day operations in the class of aircraft they fly – from Crew Resource Management (CRM) upset training (if operating as a crew) and all-weather upsets, unreliable airspeed conditions, manually controlled slow flight, to very low altitude events. Together, this training provides them with the necessary skills for successful prevention and recovery during unexpected circumstances. Simply put, positive aircraft control should never be at risk.

UPRT can be an effective way to gain the skills and knowledge needed to stay safe while flying. The everyday skills to bolster aviation safety include increased flight envelop awareness and improved risk-mitigating Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) all the while expanding the pilot’s competency in both manual handling and manual flight operations proficiency. The training program cognitive disciplines to recognize aircraft upsets, avert potential disasters, and manage unforeseen circumstances while flying – all of which help minimize the likelihood of a fatal incident.


South West Aerobatics - Experiences

Role of the Instructor Pilot in UPRT

The role of the instructor in effective upset training is paramount to ensure that pilots are fully prepared for potential aircraft-upset scenarios. An experienced instructor will carefully assess the technical and operational capabilities of the student, identify any weaknesses or areas of improvement, and customize a training program that best suits their particular needs. Most importantly, the role of the instructor is to identify and eliminate negative training and pay keen attention to risks and sources of negative transfer of skill.

The instructor is responsible for providing the necessary guidance and direction throughout the entire UPRT program. Through focused ground training, they will ensure that the pilot understands all of the training material, review all of the safety protocols, and provide real-time feedback during each stage of training. The instructor will also be on hand to answer questions, explain concepts, and provide additional support as needed. 


What is the requirement status of UPRT under FAA regulations concerning this unique pilot training?

At present, the regulatory standing of UPRT under FAA regulations for pilot training is undetermined, excluding Extended Envelope Training (EET) for Part 121 air carriers as required by FAR 121.423. The FAA has been exploring the possibility of making UPRT mandatory for all commercial pilots, but as of right now, there is no set mandate across all Parts of aviation in the United States. That being said, there are many compelling reasons why upset training should be made mandatory for all pilots as discussed in this article.

Aerobatic flight experience stall manoeuvre
Civil Aviation Authority
Aerobatic flight experience loop manoeuvre

What is Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT)?

UPRT sometimes referred to as ‘upset recovery training’ or simply ‘upset training’ is a course of instruction that helps pilots learn how to manage and recover from aircraft upsets that, by definition, often exceed the normal flight envelope. Proven-effective upset training includes ground instruction and practical on-aircraft and simulator training, and covers a variety of topics, including aircraft upset recognition, avoidance techniques, and recovery procedures.

Effective UPRT does not exclusively focus on upset recovery, in fact, it requires robust attention on upset prevention.

The purpose of UPRT training is to help operators maintain control of their aircraft during upset encounters, which can be dangerous and may lead to the loss of aircraft or passenger lives. The program provides pilots with the skills and knowledge they need to handle unexpected situations and avoid potential loss of control emergency situations.

UPRT is mandatory for Part 121 Air Carriers in the United States, but it is also incredibly beneficial for business jet operations, private pilots, and recreational fliers. LOC-I is also their #1 fatal threat on every flight. The training can help pilots become more aware of the dangers associated with airplane upsets and better prepared to handle them if they occur.

UPRT provides pilots with a wide range of benefits. It helps them gain the skills and knowledge they need to recognize aircraft upsets, avoid potential accidents, and handle unexpected situations in-flight. With this training, aviators become more aware of the dangers associated with upsets and are better prepared to manage them if they occur.

Additionally, UPRT offers other important benefits such as increased safety awareness, improved decision-making ability in critical flight scenarios, enhanced problem-solving skills for dealing with difficult situations in the air, and improved overall confidence.

South West Aerobatics roll manoeuvre

Why does human factor training play such an important role in effective flight training, especially UPRT

Human factor training plays an important role in effective UPRT because pilot training must prepare crews to handle startle, surprise, and fear associated with an aircraft upset to survive these unpredictable situations. In such moments, reactions can mean the difference between life and death; therefore, they must understand the mental and physical reactions that occur with startling events such as airplane upsets and traditional unusual attitudes.

Providing appropriate human factor training associated with upset prevention and recovery so pilots can learn how to control their startle reflex, anticipate problems correctly, and be knowledgeable about how their body will react in all sorts of different predicaments. Without this specialized training, a pilot may not be able to stay ahead of potential issues due to being caught off guard or overwhelmed by fear or startle.



South West Aerobatics pilot and guest

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a global trade association representing, leading, and serving the airline industry. The organization has been vocal in its stance on the need for UPRT, citing it as an essential element of effective safety management systems.

IATA believes that UPRT should be mandatory for all commercial airline operations, regardless of the type and size of aircraft. The organization also supports additional training in UPRT to address different scenarios, including those related to extreme weather, icing, and turbulence. In addition, IATA recommends that airlines adopt comprehensive safety management systems that consider UPRT as a key risk mitigation.


How can organizations invest in UPRT?

 Loss of control resulting in fatal accidents is largely avoidable through effective training; sadly, the required ‘effective training’ to establish the required skill set is not happening today. Operators must be aware that the current training system and its traditional approach to stall/unusual attitude training have made LOC-I the number one cause of fatalities in aviation. This is unacceptable. We need to find ways to reduce these numbers and eliminate LOC-I as the top fatal causal factor. One of the main challenges today is the limited number of effective and expertly-qualified UPRT providers.

Safety managers, chief pilots, and directors of flight operations looking to significantly reduce their risk on each flight should consider investing in upset training as a solution for overcoming LOC-I. One way is to send employees to a training program offered by a qualified UPRT provider with a long history of implementing effective solutions to LOC-I that operate just like them. This can be an effective way to ensure that all pilots have a common understanding of how to respond to unexpected incidents and emergencies.

Another way to invest in UPRT to improve the safety of line operations is to enhance the safety culture within the organization to include UPRT every two to three years. This can be done by implementing safety policies and procedures, and by providing training and education on LOC-I-related safety topics such as through online resources during non-UPRT training years.


This Article has been reproduced from a school that we work with in the USA. Paul Ransbury is a link of mine via LinkedIn and is the CEO of APS training in the USA and Europe.