Plane & Pilot
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Crosswind Landings FAQs

Maintain and expand your skills by unraveling some frequently asked questions about this intricate technique

Crosswind Landings FAQsThe crosswind landing is a complex maneuver to understand and execute. There are many changing forces to evaluate and juggle simultaneously, and the high degree of control coordination and timing required is seldom matched by any other maneuver of a normal flight. This means that a pilot must use the technique frequently to remain proficient.
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Q: What is the purpose of a follow-through?

A: Once the plane makes contact with the runway, the need for crosswind correction is far from over. The moment that the upwind tire touches the ground, speed dissipates further. Continue to increase aileron deflection, in case of a bounce, and maintain center-stripe alignment with the rudder.

Continue to add aileron, even after the second tire sets itself down on the runway. The drag created by the “down” aileron opposite the crosswind helps keep the plane from weather-vaning into the wind. A perfect follow-through has the ailerons reaching full deflection, just as the plane rolls to a stop.

Q: Is there a fail-safe measure against a crosswind accident?

A: Most modern light airplanes are capable of delivering a go-around from the touchdown attitude. Pilots, however, may need review instruction in the critical dos and don’ts of the maneuver; and if so, they should get it. Unless your plane is landing astride the center stripes, aligned with the runway and free of drift, a go-around is in order. You may spare your airplane from damage. If all pilots would hold the mental commitment to a go-around, if needed, crosswind landing accidents would be virtually eliminated.


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