Expect Left Traffic

Flight 25 – Crosswind Landings

Ah the side slip.  Yesterday we had perfect conditions to practice some crosswind takeoffs and landings.  My takeoffs were pretty good, but it was nice to get some practice on the side slip.  The landings went okay, but I think I would like to practice a few of them as low passes, not touching down, just slipping all the way down the runway.  This helped me normal landings quite a bit and I think would help me with practicing the transition and getting a feel for the technique, without having to worry about rounding out and landing right away.  This picture I found from a forum does a good job of demonstrating how this is done (and since it seems a few friends of mine reading this are not as knowledgeable about aviation, I should start explaining things more often).    A crosswind left uncorrected will cause you to drift off your course.  Easily correctable while enroute somewhere, but not so good when you’re trying to land.  Initially you approach the runway with a crab angle established.  This is where you point the nose in to the wind enough to correct for drifting off course.  Landing with this crab angle is possible, but hard on the landing gear, and usually a bumpy experience that passengers don’t appreciate.  A side slip is where you dip the upwind wing down so that the wings compensate for drift, and you use opposite rudder to to stay lined up with the runway.  In a steady wind this isn’t too tricky, when it’s gusty it’s a bit more interesting.  In a good landing the upwind wheel will touch down first, followed by the other main, and finally the nose wheel.  As the plane slows down you have to use more and more aileron and rudder to keep things lined up.  It seems very much an art to perfect and keep on top of.  We got in ten landings in the time we had, it was a lot of fun and good practice.

In digging around for some stuff on side slips, I also found this picture of Bob Hoover (an acrobatic pilot) making a perfect landing in a severe cross wind (notice the direction of the dust kicked up).  Someday I’ll get there, maybe I’ll even have the moustache to match.

May 16th, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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