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Crosswind Landing

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Crosswind Landing

Old 1st Sep 2020, 11:15
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Crosswind Landing

Hello,

I am a newly qualified SEP PPL(A) pilot and would just like to ask for some advise from experience of crosswind landings. I was landing in a 10kt on Saturday at my local airfield and I was holding off and fairly well aligned with the center-line of the runway, I just felt the aircraft yaw about 10 deg. to the left, which eventually resulted in the aircraft landing in this attitude. It did make for a very smooth landing. It all happened very quickly and I was think about correcting with a bit of right rudder, but by that time the aircraft had landed.

I reflection, I think my slow reaction in giving it some right rudder, was that I was not confident in how the aircraft would have behaved in reaction to be just pressing the right rudder. I did not want to totally unsettle the aircraft at such a late stage.

From experience, would the aircraft have just yawed to the right (i.e. 'lined me up)'or would it have induced some roll too. Would just inputting rudder have been okay, or should I have crossed controlled?

I probably need to spend some time landing in crosswind conditions, which i will do. But I would like to hear some advice from an experienced pilot too. As I said, I am newly qualified and recognize that there is still so much to learn!

Thanks for reading!
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 11:54
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Apply rudder to align the fuselage with the centerline. In your case this would have been right rudder. The second part is: apply opposite aileron (crossed controls indeed) to keep the aircraft over the centerline. In this case you would have applied left aileron to avoid the aircraft drifting to the right, away from the centerline.

Yes, a bit of rudder will also induce a bit of roll, but you would not have noticed it that much as there is usually a small delay before it takes effect. Within that delay you would have seen the aircraft drift off centerline and that is where you need the aileron input.

If you want to practice this:
1. Find an instructor to go along on a day with a stiff (steady) crosswind.
2. Alternatively, find a moderate but steady crosswind and start applying the needed corrections when still 200 feet up (or 300 feet). Practice applying the inputs to keep the fuselage aligned and adjusting roll angle to stay above the extended centerline. Go around at 50 feet and repeat until comfortable. Have a plan B for when you're not comfortable (which is why option 1 may be the better one).
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 12:16
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First, congratulations you ask!

Second, most important to give any real advice: what kind of aircraft were you piloting?

Third, as a newbie I would always tend to advice a more crab approach and less cross controls.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 12:26
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Thank you Jhieminga and ChickenHouse for both replies.

Jhieminga, I agree it would be wise to get some practice flying in crosswind landing conditions - maybe with an instructor. As I am sure all experienced pilots will agree, you are sometime in a situation where you need to think and act quickly - sometimes previous experience provides you with he best (and quickest) answer - obviously I am still stocking up on experience!

ChickenHouse, thank you for your advise. I am flying a PA28. During the landing in question I was using the crab method for most of the decent, but then aligned my self with the centerline, but the aircraft yawed again at the last moment!
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 14:02
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One more Q, 'newly qualified' translates to how many hours of flight experience (both, until passed practical exam and hours since)?

Training crosswind landings is one of the recurrent things to consider for the rest of your flying life.
For getting used to the techniques I would advice to jump in a 172 and do some additional training.
High wing because the margin of error is slightly better for training compared to the PA28.
Jump in the PA28 only later and learn smooth transitioning from crab to aligned - key is your mental, not physics.
Get a tough day and train at 90 degree x-wind with an experienced pilot, you will be amazed.

Outlook:
An old 172 with a skilled experienced pilot will land without squeak up to about 30-35 knots 90 cross, above you run out of rudder and skid at landings ...
Disclaimer, do not, never, try this in the beginning, learn listen train in steps and with cold faith in your heart.

Last edited by ChickenHouse; 1st Sep 2020 at 14:29.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 16:09
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Thanks Chickenhouse, that is good advise. I have about 70 hours in my logbook, but only 7 hours (PIC) since I passed my skills test. I passed just before Christmas and managed to fly twice (~2 hrs), then the lockdown happened!

I have flown the other 5 hours post lockdown, plus an hour with an instructor to get my currency back. I know as a newly qualified pilot I still have a lot to learn, but I also know that some of that is best learnt from experience - or from someone who is experienced!

Thanks again for the great advice, I will let you know how I get on.


"There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. But there are no old bold pilots."
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 17:10
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An old 172 with a skilled experienced pilot will land without squeak up to about 30-35 knots 90 cross
Well... not this old 172 pilot. 25 knot direct crosswind, maybe, with lots of effort, and a bit of screeching of tires. By 30 knots direct crosswind, you've run out of control to hold it along the runway centerline. I've done the testing. One of my projects was flight testing a modified Cessna Grand Caravan for crosswind compliance. 20, gusting to 25 knots was the limit for controllability in that plane. At times, I had full aileron and rudder applied, and was starting to use some brake to keep straight on the runway. There are sometimes tricks, like landing diagonally along a runway, but such things are outside the scope of "proper" piloting of rental airplanes.

In a PA-28, or any GA plane, 10 knots should be achievable with a little practice and self confidence. Focus mostly on keeping the plane on the centerline. Let your mind fly the plane, and think less about exactly what control inputs you're making - that can actually distract you. In a 10 knot crosswind, whatever control inputs you apply which keep you on the centerline at approach speed will be safe. I have run out of aileron while flying a PA-28R in a heavy crosswind (18 to 20 knots, if I remember), so I went elsewhere that day. If you can hold the runway centerline down the final approach, you should feel confident about completing the landing. If you can't maintain the runway centerline on final, I'd go somewhere else.

If you plan to land with the upwind main wheel contacting first, that' entirely okay, and no need to rush to get the other main wheel on, it'll settle when it's ready. Just hold the roll input you had when you touched the upwind mainwheel, while keeping straight with the rudder, and you should be fine.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 17:42
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Somebody pointed out to me, that sideways runway excursions due to strong crosswinds overwhelmingly end up in the grass on the upwind side. Quite logical.

Hence a piece of advice not to deliberately try landing offset from the centre-line which will reduce the margins for rollout. Also, sticking to the runway axis helps to evaluate how is one actually managing the approach, providing a measure of own performance. Pilot DAR explains well why that is important.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 18:32
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Isn't it a matter of "crabbing in" vs. "side-slipping in"? Myself mightily enjoy sideslips, either to counter a crosswind or to get rid of excess height. But the gliders seem to prefer crabbing, no surprise with those dragonfly wings they carry.

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 2nd Sep 2020 at 17:26.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 18:59
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I've always taught the crab with a kick straight as you touch down as the primary cross wind method for ab initio. This is simply because there are many aeroplanes that are limited in the amount of roll you can apply without the wing tip striking the ground on landing. even with heavy aircraft the B737-200 was limited owing to the risk of the engine nacelles striking the ground as was the B707.The wing down method is relatively straightforward to teach later and I did so. The PA28 series with the 'Hersey Bar' wing will run out of aileron very early on and so the wing down method is not effective in strong cross-winds owing to that limitation.

Some of the wind down methods are incorrectly described. The intention is to slip into the wind equal to the rate of drift to maintain the centre line. The rudder is then used to prevent the resulting yaw and so the aeroplane is kept maintaining the centre line with slip. The nose in a crosswind will not be pointing along the centre line and so it is not correct to say you steer the centre line by aligning the nose with rudder.

It is foolish and totally unnecessary to cross control at 200-300 feet. unless you are intending a slipping approach during a glide approach but i'm sure that is not intended in the description.
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 19:21
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I have never crabbed and kicked a Jodel DR1050 in over 1500 hours. I have always sideslipped.
I have used the crab and kick technique in a Pa28, which I have only a few hundred hours on.
I think mass (inertia) affects which technique to use..
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Old 1st Sep 2020, 19:25
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Originally Posted by Jan Olieslagers View Post
Isn't it a matter of "crabbing in" vs. "side-slipping in"? Myself mightily enjoy sideslips, either to counter a crosswind or to get rid of excess height. But the gliders seem to prefer cerabbing, no surprise with those dragonfly wings they carry.
Same here, I use a side slip for all light aircraft I fly and a modified wing down in the transport Category Turbo props I have flown. However as you pointed out gliders have to be landed wings level so a crab method is used.

I have landed a C 172 in a 30kt 90 degree crosswind many years ago when I was young and foolish. I used the maximum wing down I could hold with rudder and then touched down with enough crab to keep straight. The tire gave a bit of yelp on touchdown but it worked fine until I came to a stop and tried to turn off at the exit. This required a turn out of the wind and as soon as started to turn the wind started lifting the tail and upwind wing. A frantic blast of power and a turn back into the wind got me back on 3 wheels but it was a close call. So now I was stuck on the runway and running out of ideas. Fortunately after a few minutes there was a temporary lull in the wind and I was able to exit the runway and swing into an into wind tie down spot where I hastily secured the aircraft and vowed "Never Again !"

Last edited by Pilot DAR; 2nd Sep 2020 at 02:08. Reason: typo
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 05:58
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Big Pistons Forever : When you had your experience, it was with flaps still down on the ground I guess? When rolling in heavy winds I always have flaps up.

GA aircraft are really different to handle.
I may not want to land in 20 knots crosswinds in a PA28.
Flying in the coastal areas I often do with a C172.
(10 knots may be announced as 'calm' in in the area ;-)
I avoid cross control slip in a taildragger, I always go crab and kick there.
Gutts feeling - don't use hanging tips cross control techniques in heavy crosswinds, go crab.

And for the OP, you have to train train train train train train for the right kick for your aircraft.
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 08:49
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We can get really hung up on what is the 'best' technique or on what to call it or what is the maximum you've ever experienced, but the main thing is to build up experience safely and get comfortable with crosswind landings. I find that a lot of PPL students are not used to crossing controls and this is partially due to the fact that slipping is not always taught extensively (check your POH for the limitations on this as well). Glider pilots are a lot more comfortable with this option. One way I have found to teach a crosswind approach and landing uses what I described in my earlier post: instead of crabbing and applying rudder at the last moment, I let the student get into the 'one-wing-low' attitude from 300 feet on and use those 300 feet to get used to the sight, feeling and control movements needed to keep the aircraft where we want it. Once that becomes familiar we can move the transition to 200 feet, 100 feet and by doing that, transitioning from a crabbing approach to land on the upwind wheel during the flare, which is a dynamic situation in itself without introducing the complexity of crosswind, starts to get easier. I have left out the different rate of descent you might get, transitioning through the flare and moving to a control input for use during rollout/taxiing and many other things I'm sure. For the full story the best thing is still: team up with your favourite instructor, book a lesson in some nice steady crosswind conditions and practice! Teaching this through an internet forum is never going to be a succes
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 11:52
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I find that a lot of PPL students are not used to crossing controls and this is partially due to the fact that slipping is not always taught extensively (check your POH for the limitations on this as well)
Yes, and a more basic reality is that most students have not included in their training, moving the flight controls to their extreme deflections in flight (not all at once, of course!). But pilots should be aware that the control deflection stops are set to be what you could need, but not more than needed. With planned and briefed maneuvering, it is practical to move each flight control to its maximum deflection, and certainly rudder and aileron, during a sideslip. All GA pilots should be comfortable sideslipping their certified planes, they will all do it fine. Yes, certain 172's have an "avoid" for slips with flaps extended, but it's not a prohibition, rather cautionary (so don't do it aggressively close to the ground). A type will not get certified if it cannot be safely sideslipped to maximum aileron and rudder deflection. I will regularly sideslip both my planes, particularly for precision during practiced forced approaches. If you're comfortable sideslipping, you'll find crosswind landings less worrisome.

instead of crabbing and applying rudder at the last moment, I let the student get into the 'one-wing-low' attitude
Yes, handle the dynamic crosswind landing situation with fewer "last minute" applying of different controls. Sure, you have fly the plane by controlling it, and that is naturally dynamic, but you don't need to make it more difficult on yourself by planning then timing last second drastic configuration changes. As much as conditions will allow, ease from one configuration to the next over many seconds, rather than trying to guess exactly the right second in which to drastically change things - while close to the ground. If you've been imperfect in aligning a tricycle plane with the runway centerline as the first main wheel touches, yes, plan to straighten it, but it will also tend to straighten itself. Touching the upwind mainwheel first will help this. (Taildraggers are something different!)

As said, practice, practice, practice! I know that when you finally get your hour after waiting for a few weeks to go flying, the last thought on your mind is to do circuits, but landings, takeoffs, maneuvering and practice emergencies require the most practice for currency, and seem to be practiced least during hundred dollar burger runs.


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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 12:28
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No ‘kicking’

A positive but smooth rudder input to straighten the aircraft is what’s required
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 12:47
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I avoid cross control slip in a taildragger, I always go crab and kick there
I cross control slip my taildragger regularly with no problem. In flight, a plane is a plane. As I touch the upwind mainwheel during my wheel landing, I'll smoothly align the airplane with the runway - but that's for a taildragger. Wheels on the runway technique is a little different for taildraggers, though airborne is the same.

If you're slipping the plane, you have one wing lower than the other, so one mainwheel lower than the other, and you're maintaining your alignment with the runway. You have satisfied yourself well back on final approach that you can control the plane in that wind. If you fly all the way to contact that way, you know that you can land, albeit one mainwheel first - no problem. If you've chosen to crab your way down final approach, you will have to align the plane to the runway at the last moment. Doable, though you're introducing a destabilized approach at the very last moment, when you're also judging the flare. If you were holding an awesome crab, you could find that when you "kick it straight", the plane drifts downwind as you do that, and then you find that you're short on control to maintain the runway alignment, just as you need even more to get yourself back the centerline, 'cause you've been blown downwind across the runway a little.

When I train pilots in amphibious floatplanes, it's always touch the upwind main wheel first, and then hold the downwind main off just a little with increasing aileron deflection, to be sure. If you crab an amphibious floatplane onto the runway, particularly a paved one, you're at risk of rolling it over.

Flaring for landing requires judgement and attention. Complicating that maneuver by superimposing a rapid "kick" to change heading simultaneously just gives you more work. Yes, airliners with low hanging engines, and sailplanes do require this technique because large roll angles close to the surface are unwise, but as we're talking PA-28, we're not talking airliners and sailplanes! That's why there is post PPL type training!
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 13:09
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Originally Posted by ChickenHouse View Post
One more Q, 'newly qualified' translates to how many hours of flight experience (both, until passed practical exam and hours since)?

An old 172 with a skilled experienced pilot will land without squeak up to about 30-35 knots 90 cross, above you run out of rudder and skid at landings ...
Disclaimer, do not, never, try this in the beginning, learn listen train in steps and with cold faith in your heart.

I'll be very surprised if that's not more than the limit in the POH (which nobody yet seems to have suggested should be consulted). In addition, I assume the aircraft the OP has access to are club owned and therefore may have additional limits for newly qualified pilots.
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 13:30
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the limit in the POH (which nobody yet seems to have suggested should be consulted)
Of course, consult and follow the POH. Though understand that with very few exceptions, the "Demonstrated Crosswind" value presented in the POH is the crosswind speed required to be demonstrated during certification, and is not considered limiting, unless specifically presented as an absolute limitation.

A part of the thinking on this will be where is the value stated? Using the PA-28-181 POH as an example, Section 2, Limitations, makes no reference to crosswind values, so there is no limitation. It is found (as required to be presented to the pilot) in Section 4, Normal Procedures, 4.2 Airpseeds for Safe Operations, and is expressed as a maximum demonstrated crosswind velocity. Cessna typically presents it in Section 5, Performance, and using the 172S as an example, it says: "Maximum demonstrated crosswind component 12 15 knots (not a limitation).", Which is good news for Chickenhouse!

Interestingly, my taildragger flying boat does contain crosswind limits in Section 2, Limitations, so the pilot is bound by those as limitations. Though its a very early FAR Part 23 airplane, so the refinements of what is and is not typically a limitation may not have been worked out. The crosswind limit for it is greater on the water than on the runway, though generally it's not necessary to land with much crosswind in the water. If the wind is that strong, either land directly into it, or it's too rough anyway! A lesser crosswind limit as a taildragger on the runway is appropriate.

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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 17:54
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There are many types between a glider and a heavy transport aeroplane that are better landed using the crab technique, Amongst the long list is the Seneca 11. The props are precariously low to the ground. In my view It is critical to maintain wings level with plenty of back pressure on touch down to ensure there is not a prop strike. A prop strike is not an infrequent event when pilots have elected to use wing down on these aeroplanes in strong crosswinds.

Pilot Dar's point on ensuring that the aeroplane doesn't drift downwind across the runway is important. If the pilot kicks too early this is a real threat. The answer is not to do that. If you are a bit late kicking nothing much will come from it. The plane will land with one wheel ahead of the other and will swing straight around that wheel while the plane is still light on the ground with a little friction. Any sideways force on the leading wheel is very slight and therefore of little concern. As has been said the crab requires thorough training which is why I have always taught it first. The slipping landing is relatively straightforward to teach. When applicable the wing down method is my usual choice.
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