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7 Steps To Make The Perfect Crosswind Landing

Crosswind landings can be intimidating, but these 7 steps will guide you from final approach to touchdown.

1) Wind Check

When you're on final at a towered airport, ask ATC for a wind check. An instantaneous wind reading gives you a good idea of what you're correcting for. And if you're at a non-towered airport, look for the wind sock. There's at least one visible from the end of each runway.

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2) Monitor Your Speed

You should be established on your final approach speed (-0/+5 knots). When you fly the right speeds, you can spend more time focusing on the landing, and less on worrying about getting slow or fast on final.

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3) Flying A High Wing Plane? Less Flaps Might Be The Key.

Some aircraft manufacturers recommend using partial flaps in strong crosswinds. Check your POH. If they recommend it, you'll have an easier time managing your touchdown.

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4) Transition From Crab To Slip

Initially on final, you're pointed into the wind, wings-level, to maintain a straight ground track on the extended centerline of the runway. But as you approach the threshold, you'll enter a side-slip for touchdown. Use rudder to align the nose with the runway, and use ailerons to prevent drifting upwind or downwind. It takes some practice, but we have great examples of what it should look like here.

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5) As You Flare, Increase Control Inputs

As you flare, you're slowing down, and that makes your flight controls less effective. Slowly add more rudder and aileron during the flare to keep yourself aligned with the runway, all the way to touchdown.

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6) Upwind Wheel First

In the perfect crosswind landing, you'll touch down on the upwind wheel first, followed by the downwind wheel, and then finally the nose wheel.

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7) Wind Correction After Landing

Once the aircraft is on the runway, don't release the controls. Gradually increase your ailerons into the wind, so that a gust of wind doesn't lift your upwind wing.

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Want to immediately improve your takeoffs and landings? Check out our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings online course. It's full of tips and techniques you can use on your next flight to improve every takeoff and landing. Learn more and sign up now.

Corey Komarec

Corey is a commercial aviation student, Certified Flight Instructor and commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings at the University of North Dakota. He has been flying since 16 years old, and is pursuing a career in the airlines. You can reach him at corey@boldmethod.com.

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