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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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