Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
from PocketLearning, May 2004
about proper crosswind technique. There is only one method that
FAA sanctions for flight training: the wing-low method.
Read the associated article Knowing
the airplane's heading with the centerline of the runway, notes the
and direction of drift, then promptly applies drift correction by
the upwind wing. The amount that the upwind wing must be lowered
depends on the rate of drift.
lowered, the airplane will tend to turn in that direction. Given
this, it is necessary to apply sufficient rudder pressure to oppose the
turn and keep the airplane's longitudinal axis aligned with the
Drift is controlled with aileron, and the heading with rudder.
you run out of aileron control, then you've exceeded the crosswind
of the aircraft.
If you run
aileron control using the wing-low method, chose another runway or
You'll know whether the winds are too strong on final. You dont
this kind of advance warning with the crab method because you only know
if the winds are too strong at the last second when you "kick out the
prior to touchdown.
crab method come from? The crab method is used in aircraft with
back wings. If you'd use the wing low method in a 737, then you'd
probably scrape the upwind wing tip on the runway. See the Malaysian
Airlines 747 trying to use the wing-low method of crosswind control and
notice that the starboard engines scrap the ground. As advertised
above, prior to touchdown, the pilot must kick out the crab to
the aircraft just prior to touchdown. What happens during strong
crosswinds? Well a 737 is able to handle much higher crosswinds
the 15-17knot max demonstrated crosswind of the typical
roll, be sure you increase your amount of aileron crosswind
If you dont maintain directional control with rudder and control the
properly, you're likely to tip or skid.
Cross Wind Technique - Tips
- To use the wing low method, the pilot aligns the airplane's
with the center-line of the runway, notes the rate and direction of
then promptly applies drift correction by lowering the upwind wing.
- The amount the wing must be lowered depends on the rate of
When the wing is lowered, the airplane will tend to turn in that
- It is necessary, then, to simultaneously apply sufficient
rudder pressure to prevent the turn and keep the airplane's
axis aligned with the runway.
- In other words, the drift is controlled with aileron, and
- The airplane will now be side slipping into the wind just
that both the resultant flightpath and the ground track are aligned
- If the crosswind diminishes, this crosswind correction must
accordingly or the airplane will begin slipping away from the desired
- To correct for very strong crosswind, the slip into the
be increased by lowering the upwind wing a considerable amount.
- As a consequence, this would result in a greater tendency
airplane to turn.
- Since turning is not desired, considerable opposite rudder
applied to keep the airplane's longitudinal axis aligned with the
- In some airplanes, there may not be sufficient rudder
to compensate for the strong turning tendency caused by the steep bank.
- If the required bank is so steep that full opposite rudder
prevent a turn, the wind is too strong to safely land the airplane on
particular runway with those wind conditions.
- Since the airplane's capability would be exceeded, it is
that the landing be made on a more favourable runway either at that
or at an alternate airport.
- Special attention must be given to maintaining directional
by use of rudder, or nosewheel/tailwheel steering, while keeping the
wing from rising by use of aileron.
- When an airplane is airborne it moves with the air mass in
it is flying regardless of the airplane's heading and speed.
- However, when an airplane is on the ground it is unable to
the air mass (crosswind) because of the resistance created by ground
on the wheels.
NEXT: Knowing the Winds>>
5.4.1 Wind Direction. The wind direction shall be
determined by averaging the direction over a
2-minute period. When the wind direction sensor(s) is out of
service, at designated stations, the direction may be estimated by
observing the wind cone or tee, movement of twigs, leaves, smoke, etc.,
or by facing into the wind in an unsheltered area.
5.4.2 Variable Wind Direction. The wind direction may
be considered variable if, during the 2-minute evaluation period, the
wind speed is 6 knots or less. Also, the wind direction shall be
considered variable if, during the 2-minute
evaluation period, it varies by 60 degrees or more when the average
wind speed is greater than 6 knots.
5.4.3 Wind Speed. The wind speed shall be determined by
averaging the speed over a 2-minute period.
At designated stations, Table 5-1 shall be used to estimate wind speeds
when instruments are out of service or the wind speed is below the
starting speed of the anemometer in use.
5.4.4 Wind Gust. The wind speed data for the most recent 10 minutes shall be examined to evaluate
the occurrence of gusts. Gusts are indicated by rapid
fluctuations in wind speed with a variation of 10 knots or more between
peaks and lulls. The speed of a gust shall be the maximum instantaneous
5.4.5 Peak Wind Speed. Peak wind data shall be
determined with wind speed recorders. The peak wind speed shall be the
maximum instantaneous speed measured since the last routine
5.4.6 Wind Shifts. Wind data shall be examined to
determine the occurrence of a wind shift. A wind shift is indicated by
a change in wind direction of 45 degrees or more
in less than 15 minutes with sustained winds of 10 knots or more
throughout the wind shift.
5.5.5 Peak Wind Data. The peak wind shall be reported
in the remarks section whenever the maximum instantaneous speed in
knots (since the last observation) is greater
than 25 knots
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