Modelling mayday: New research from U of T Engineering helps pilots train for aerodynamic stall

On a winter night in February 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed just outside of Buffalo, N.Y., killing all 49 passengers and crew aboard and one person on the ground. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the turbo-prop aircraft experienced many factors contributing to the crash, including an aerodynamic stall from which the aircraft did not recover.

“In most cases, a lot of things go wrong before a plane actually crashes,” says Peter Grant, a professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and a leading expert on flight simulation. “Part of the challenge is that pilots are often trained on simulations that take an aircraft right up to the point of aerodynamic stall, but not past it.” Read full story…