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6 Dangers Of Tailwinds During Takeoff And Landing

You take off and land into the wind for a reason. Here are 6 good reasons to avoid tailwinds...

1) Increased Groundspeed

Tailwinds are great for performance aloft, when an increased ground speed gets you to your destination quicker. Higher groundspeed can make flying in the traffic pattern tricky.

Boldmethod

2) Increased Rate Of Descent

Because of this increased groundspeed, if you're flying a final approach with a stiff tailwind, you'll be forced to fly a increased rate of descent. This can make it difficult to perform a stabilized approach.

Aleksander Markin

3) Increased Takeoff Distance

According to a Cessna 172S POH, you should expect a 50% longer takeoff roll with a 10 knot tailwind.

Boldmethod

4) Increased Landing Distance

The same goes for landing. For each 2 knots of tailwind in a C172S, add an additional 10% to your landing distance. In the video below, a Boeing 737 floats almost all the way down the runway during a challenging landing in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The extra speed this aircraft had during landing is the same factor that causes many tailwind related accidents...

5) Reduced Directional Control

As you enter your flare on landing with a tailwind, you'll be traveling much faster over the ground than you're probably used to in your airplane, due to a high groundspeed. Maintaining directional control is tough, especially with a quartering tailwind. This pilot wasn't so lucky.

Swayne Martin

6) Poor Obstacle Clearance

While your rate of climb won't necessarily change with a tailwind, your angle of climb can shift dramatically. If you have a strong tailwind, and a high groundspeed, your angle of climb is decreasing. That can make it harder to clear obstacles ahead of you.

Aspen Airport Operations

Take The Next Step...

Do you have a perfect takeoff and landing every time? Neither do we. That's why we built our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings online course.

You'll learn strategies, tactics and fundamental principles that you can use on your next flight, and just about any takeoff or landing scenario you could imagine. Even better, the course is full of tools you can come back to throughout your flying career.


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