My Mom wasn’t enamored with flying sideways, crab-like. I didn’t like that last-second kick on the downwind rudder pedal to align the airplane with the runway before the tires hit the pavement sideways.
There is another method. Advanced technique — like scratching your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.
Here is the Holy Grail for Googling pilots. Finally, the SECRET ADVANCED SUPER-DUPER SURE-SHOT PAINLESS STAINLESS FORMULA FOR LANDING IN CROSSWINDS 😀 When the windsock is pointed at Pinatubo, across the runway.
Landing the airplane is tough enough — you line up with the runway and juggle power and pitch attitude to maintain glide slope and a slow approach speed to landing.
As the airplane slows, you rearrange your brain.
That’s because you flirt with the backside of the power curve in slow flight. The controls are illogically reversed — pulling the nose up merely slows the airplane down, making it sink, not climb. Reducing power drops your nose, which increases your speed in a steeper descent.
If you think that’s baffling, uh-huh.
You push this and pull that, half a phase out of step with the yo-yo airplane, acutely aware that if you do something too much or too little, the airplane will get either too slow or too low to fly.
Then there’s the crosswind.
On top of everything you’re already doing, you lower one wing into the wind.
And in yet another counter-intuitive move, you step on opposite rudder to keep the airplane from turning toward the lowered wing.
The books call this the “wing low” or “sideslip” technique.
You slip sideways into the crosswind as you fly forward to the runway.
The slip negates the crosswind and keeps the airplane aligned with the runway.
You keep this up all the way to the ground, canted into the wind, opposite rudder to yaw against the bank.
You touch down on one wheel, like an Evel Knievel or French Helldriver (I’m showing my age) wheelie stunt, leaning precariously into the wind, until life slows down and the airplane is rolling benignly on the runway.
Then you push the throttle forward and thrust your airplane once more in to the air, until sunset if you have to, siezing on the chance to practice while the crosswind keeps up.
Now you know why student pilots hate crosswinds.
Pilot books, flying magazines and airplane videos have explained this to death. So what is the REAL secret here?
It’s this —
The control inputs are tiny. A touch of yoke into the wind, a nudge of opposite rudder, and you’re there. This is not maneuvering flight.
Almost not worth writing about. Nobody writes about how to ride a bike, right? You just, Do It. If you have to think about it, you’re overdoing it.
Fly on a crosswindy day. Stop thinking about technique. Think of … Angelina Jolie.
Even I have written about this too much now. Did you know I never learned to ride a bike?
Posted from Manila, September 2, 2009
My Dad‘s birthday. He would have been 83 years old.