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Cutting down on crosswind component


FastEddieB

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Just this morning I finished up the Annual Condition Inspection on my Sky Arrow.

 
The manufacturer provides a checklist for flight testing, and with everything buttoned up and checklist in hand and GoPro on cap I went flying, in spite of some gusty winds and an Airmet for turbulence to 18,000'.
 
Everything went perfectly - no squawks at all. Yay!
 
Anyway, circled down over the airport, and on final it was obvious it was pretty gusty and the left crosswind to RWY2 could make things bumpy with wind spilling over the trees just west of the runway.
 
I have mentioned before if the wind is really howling, one can reduce the amount of the crosswind by landing at an angle to the runway. This video is, I think, a good example of that.
 
 
BTW, it is not my habit to drag it in with that much power. I just misjudged the strength of the wind. So it goes.
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I don't like this technique.  For me its harder not easier and If I have rudder to spare, which I would on this landing, how is it making things any easier?  

 

When tracking the centerline there is an instant visual confirmation that your judgement is right and your gear are as far as possible from the runway edge.

 

I see extra risk but not the benefit.

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I just consider it a tool in my toolbox - one that can make an impossible crosswind landing just barely possible, or a just barely possible one relatively easy.

 

I was taught it and have used it on occasion and it seems to noticeably cut down on the crosswind component. It works for me.

 

If you don't like it, don't use it!

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I just consider it a tool in my toolbox - one that can make an impossible crosswind landing just barely possible, or a just barely possible one relatively easy.

 

I was taught it and have used it on occasion and it seems to noticeably cut down on the crosswind component. It works for me.

 

If you don't like it, don't use it!

 

Honest question Eddie: in what way does it make it easy?  If additional rudder deflection was 'hard' I could follow but I use enough to maintain alignment and more isn't harder at all.

 

Compare a centerline landing that is barely possible, as soon as the rudder is to the stop and its not enough to maintain heading you know you are at the limits for this type of landing.  In your diagonal you don't know your beyond limits until you run out of runway at the edge and now you have to do a turn?  Thinking about it rudder limits or judgement could have your running out of runway at the edge.

 

I heard you thank those that said 'nice' things so I guess I'm perhaps not being 'nice'.  I just figure you posted the video publicly to get honest comments even if they are not all kudos.

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I don't think he would allow the airplane to fly across the runway into the grass.  A pilot must continue to act as a pilot, not a passenger.

Exactly.

 

Worst case you see you're running out of diagonal "runway", and just turn to stay on the runway.

 

Should be easy, due to low ground speed at that point in the landing.

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Exactly.

 

Worst case you see you're running out of diagonal "runway", and just turn to stay on the runway.

 

Should be easy, due to low ground speed at that point in the landing.

 

It is just me, but I wouldn't want to be making that downwind turn because I was running out of space going diagonal across the runway.

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I don't think he would allow the airplane to fly across the runway into the grass. A pilot must continue to act as a pilot, not a passenger.

Sure, and a good pilot doesn't want to put himself in a position to have to make some kind of last minute on the ground swerve maneuver to stay on the runway. Just saying "be a pilot and not a passenger" does not magically solve all problems.

 

The CT series is a tad squirrelly on the ground at higher speed, I would not want to be making high speed turns on the runway.

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What Ed is recommending is not some huge controversial, dangerous, downwind swerving maneuver.  It's basically flying a crab angle, and path, to the ground if you have enough runway width to help reduce the crosswind component.  If you have a problem with it, don't do it.  Where it could really make a difference is if the crosswind component is at or near your airplane's maximum and you are landing on a very wide runway.

 

Since people here seem to like to take things to ridiculous extremes, if you HAD to land with a 60 knot, 90 degree crosswind, would you insist on trying to land straight down the runway?  I would land with a 90 degree crab and 90 degree flight path to the runway.

I took no offense to Eddie's suggestion. I simply noted one potential concern I had with it.

 

I was annoyed by the implication that raising a potential downside somehow meant I was just a passenger and not a real he man, go get 'em pilot.

 

Speaking of ridiculous extremes.

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You said he might continue off the runway on to the grass.  I merely stated that he would continue as any other pilot would and keep the airplane on the runway.  Not to do so would perhaps equate to being a passenger instead of a pilot.  It's really not difficult.

Sigh...in Eddie's video, you can see him turning to the right near the left runway edge to remain on the runway.

 

The CT does NOT like to turn at high speeds on the ground. My point was that if that video were done in a CT, I would consider it at the upper limit of what would be safe, considering the speed and the rate of turn. Just a little bit faster and your choices are roll into the grass or tip a wingtip into the ground. But hey you're still on the runway so it's all good I guess.

 

You are right, it's really not difficult, nor should it be controversial.

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Consider it "pilot technique."

Like many other things in aviation, not everybody subscribes to it.

Personally, I have tried the technique in my CTSW and really did not see a noticeable difference in the results.  As someone pointed out already, it just adds risk on the ground rollout, under windy conditions already.

If the direct crosswind is 18 knots, what will 2 degrees in azimuth reduce it by?  If attempting to get below 17 knots crosswind component, maybe that is accomplished, but what business do I have there anyway?

Call me old fashion, but I prefer to keep the runway centerline right between the two main gear . . . where it should be.

 

Imagine this . . . after wiping out two runway edge lights and tearing off the left main wheel fairing, the insurance adjuster and FAA safety inspector remarks, "dude, what were you thinking?"

 

To each his own, eh?

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Eddie, what do you estimate your ground speed was at touch down? And, how wide was the runway?

Screenshot at touch down:

 

17039874481_dfbecdc7b4_z.jpg

 

Looks like about 44k IAS. A little fast for me, but I do tend to let it land sooner if gusty. Same reason I chose 20° flaps.

 

If you look at the windsock in the video as I taxi in, I'd say my groundspeed was maybe 34k.

 

And that's one key. If you can land at 39k into an effective 20k headwind component, your groundspeed at touch down can be in the vicinity of 19k. That may help ameliorate the fears of all the horrible things some are envisioning - you're barely above walking pace!

 

Runway shows as 75' wide.

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I recently added that yaw string and I think it's informative to watch it in the video. In spite of the windsock showing a substantial crosswind with the angled landing there appeared to be virtually none on touchdown.

 

But watch what it does when taxiing straight down the runway!

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There are at least a couple of comments that say 'if you don't like it don't use it'.  Taken literally, fair enough, but to me ear I hear, no negative comments on this recommendation!

 

Seems wierd.  

 

I say

  • there is a valid runway edge issue 
  • unless your rudder is to the stop it fails to make landing my CT any easier.  Let me explain, once I'm set up for a crosswind landing the visual clues are my relationship to the center line.  The technique is flaperons to control drift and rudder to control heading.  If you increase / decrease crosswind component then the amount of rudder deflection changes but it feels the same.  I"m not x degrees from center, I'can't feel that instead I'm enough to hold heading.  Reducing crosswind component a small amount changes the amount of bank required to counter drift by not by a notifiable amount.

I agree with what Sport Pilot said that if you have a very wide runway and are at the limits of your rudder authority that this technique begins to make sense.  In the gusty High Sierra a light sport will run out of control authority on all axis before running out of rudder alone so for me the centerline is generally the target.

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