Crosswind challenge

April 01, 2014

Crosswind landings can be a major challenge for pilots and occur when the wind is across the runway not head on.

The recent bad weather in the United Kingdom has really tested the skills of pilots and AirlineRatings has obtained some stunning vision of planes trying to land at Birmingham.

Typically aircraft land and take-off into the wind to decrease the landing or take-off distance.

In some cases aircraft land with a slight downwind component – typically associated with noise sensitive airports where one runway is preferred over another.

Where a pilot faces a crosswind landing they need to point the aircraft in the direction of the wind while maintaining a straight course toward the runway.

This is called crabbing or yawing.

In strong crosswinds the pilot may also dip the wing – sideslip – into the direction of the wind.

Just before touchdown pilots apply rudder to bring the plane – and its undercarriage – back so it is aligned straight down the centre line of the runway.

This takes great skill and the results – if not done properly – are often quite spectacular as shown in video below.

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