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Don't Make These 5 Mistakes In Crosswinds

Steady crosswinds can be challenging, especially if you make one of these common mistakes...

1) Removing Aileron Input Early During Landing Rollout

As you slow down during rollout, there's less airflow around your ailerons, making them less effective. To counter the crosswind, you need more control input. As you slow to taxi speed, your ailerons should be held fully into the wind.

2) Performing A Side-Slip Too Early On A Long Final Approach

To fly the wing-low method, you use your rudder to line your nose up with the runway, and ailerons to correct for left/right drift all the way from final approach to touchdown. Essentially, you're slipping the plane through the crosswind in order to keep yourself lined up with the runway from final to touchdown.

If you're on a long final, wait until you're relatively close to the runway before starting the maneuver. It will make final approach more comfortable for your passengers.

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3) Neutralizing Crosswind Corrections In The Flare

As you flare your airplane for touchdown, don't neutralize the controls in a crosswind. While you may fly straight and level momentarily, the crosswind will push your airplane off the centerline, you'll touch down with a side load, and risk losing directional control on landing.

4) Overshooting Your Base To Final Turn

Overshooting final happens for several reasons, the first of which is wind. If you have a crosswind like the image below, you'll have a high groundspeed during your base leg. And the higher your groundspeed, the more bank you'll need to roll out perfectly on centerline.

The more bank you use to correct, the more danger you put yourself in. That's because you're setting yourself up for an accelerated stall, or worse yet, a cross-controlled stall.

5) Forgetting To Reduce Aileron Input During Takeoff Roll

As you accelerate down the runway during takeoff, your flight controls become more effective. Start with full aileron input into the crosswind. As your speed increases, slowly reduce the aileron input. If you try to keep full input, you will have a tough time controlling the airplane and might overbank on rotation.

How much aileron do you need as you accelerate? Just enough to keep the wings level throughout your takeoff roll and rotation.


Want more tips and techniques to use on crosswinds? Check out our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings online course here.


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