Crosswind Considerations

Before flying in strong crosswind conditions, it is always a good idea to get some practice in beforehand.

Last Friday, I found myself fighting the first stiff crosswind that I had seen in months. As a result, my trusty Cherokee was blown off the centerline on landing, and I seriously considered making a go-around in those few seconds before touchdown. Don’t let this happen to you.

Instead, hunt for crosswind conditions to practice your technique on those lazy local flights. Consider the winds and find an airport with a good crosswind runway. If your home airport has two runways, it may be good practice to choose the least favorable one on occasion.

If you haven’t made a landing in a stiff breeze in a while, start small. Try tackling a five knot wind, then gradually step yourself up. If its been a very long time, or if you are uncomfortable with your crosswind technique, grab your local CFI on a windy day and log some instruction from a pro.

Remember to always consider your personal skills in any crosswind landing. Many pilots fall into the trap of assuming that they can land at their airplane’s max demoed speed. Consider that max demoed means the maximum crosswind at which a professional test pilot demonstrated a landing in a particular make/model of airplane. Most casual pilots should not consider flying in such circumstances. When the wind is too strong, you can usually land at another airport with more favorable conditions. Or it may be a good day to stay on the ground and catch up on some hangar talk.


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About the author
Pat Flannigan is a professional pilot and aviation blogger. He has been flying for fifteen years and is currently working as an airline pilot in the United States.

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