Cross-Wind Landings

Cross-Wind Landings

Landings are never boring. They require your undivided attention as you transition your vehicle from an air- to a land-craft. Fortunately, they also can be fun because you face a variety of challenges to your skills. They can — and should — be relaxed, but they won't be boring.

Advanced landing maneuvers are similar to those for advanced takeoffs. You'll practice landing with a crosswind, on short airfields, soft airfields, and a combination of these. In fact, your solo practice sessions could include many such advanced landings to help you develop your skills. Remember, the most critical part of flying is landing.

Cross-wind landing

Your instructor will help you learn how to perform these maneuvers in your specific aircraft. Here are some proven tips for making the task easier:

Flying Words

A go-around is a rejected landing that becomes a takeoff so you can go around the traffic pattern again for another landing. Go-arounds are wise to employ when you're coming in too fast or too slow, or there's an object on the runway. If the object is an airplane taking off (oops!), fly to the right side of the runway to watch and avoid the other craft.
  • The crosswind landing will start by holding a crab into the wind on final approach. You will be traveling straight down the runway but the nose will be off to one side. This is a good way to start but, of course, you can't land like this.
  • As the airplane approaches the beginning of the runway you will transition into a "sideslip." This aligns the nose with the runway centerline and actually slides the airplane sideways into the crosswind.
  • To enter a sideslip, you control the aileron and rudder differently than in normal flight. The rudder is used to keep the nose straight and the ailerons are used to control sideways movement. For example, in a left crosswind you move the left aileron (using the yoke or stick) to offset the left wind, and move the right rudder to keep the nose straight.
  • Always know and use the manufacturer's suggested approach speed and procedures for crosswind, soft-, and short-field landings.
  • As you cross over the runway threshold (beginning of the runway) power should be at idle or what is recommended in the plane’s operating handbook, but your hand should be on the throttle in case you need to abort the landing and perform a go-around.
  • Short-field landings with an obstacle at the threshold require that you use the plane's best rate-of-descent speed and procedures once you're past the obstacle
  • Soft-field landings require that you land on the main landing gears and keep the nose wheel from touching the ground until speed is reduced to minimize possible damage to the more fragile nose wheel components. On a tailwheel airplane the touchdown should be made with the tail on the ground or as low as possible.