Crosswind Landing

c172captain

Well-Known Member
So, there is an argument between me and the guy who said that the ice would fly off at 12,000ft. It's been my impression that on a crosswind approach to landing, it is best to crab into the wind, "weathervane", I think is the technical term. I was told that I was wrong and that it is best to use the "wing down, top rudder" technique by essentially aileron-ing into the wind and using rudder to maintain directional control with the nose pointing towards the runway.

I personally think that crabbing into the wind is more fun but I have never been given any formal training on approach to land in a crosswind (I know, it's pathetic) so I have always just done what "felt right". I have used both techniques mentioned above, and both seem to work perfectly fine, but what is the right way?
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
So, there is an argument between me and the guy who said that the ice would fly off at 12,000ft. It's been my impression that on a crosswind approach to landing, it is best to crab into the wind, "weathervane", I think is the technical term. I was told that I was wrong and that it is best to use the "wing down, top rudder" technique by essentially aileron-ing into the wind and using rudder to maintain directional control with the nose pointing towards the runway.

I personally think that crabbing into the wind is more fun but I have never been given any formal training on approach to land in a crosswind (I know, it's pathetic) so I have always just done what "felt right". I have used both techniques mentioned above, and both seem to work perfectly fine, but what is the right way?
I crab, then kick out at the last second, a lot of guys advocate the slip method, ehh, I don't like it. One because I like to use my standard flap setting in the airplane I'm flying (which is full flaps usually) rather than flaps up. Slow speeds are good, and two, I don't really think pax like the feeling of falling out of the sky. That being said, there is no real right or wrong way to do it.

-pat
 

Brian Z

Well-Known Member
I like to crab until short final then transition into a slip. Last night I had a pax that felt funny with the crab angle I needed to hold the centerline on final. I went into a slip, but could not hold the centerline do to the crosswind so I went back crabbing until I got into some lighter winds. Sometimes the choice is not up to you.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
I personally think that crabbing into the wind is more fun but I have never been given any formal training on approach to land in a crosswind (I know, it's pathetic) so I have always just done what "felt right". I have used both techniques mentioned above, and both seem to work perfectly fine, but what is the right way?
There is no "right" way. Anybody who tries to tell you otherwise is wrong ;)

The fact of the matter is that as long as the plane is aligned with the runway, with zero drift, at the time of touchdown, that's all that matters. How a pilot gets to the point of touchdown is personal preference. He could roll over and fly inverted until 10 feet off the ground for all I care, as long as he rolls back over and touches down correctly.

Here are the pros of each method:

Crabbing in to the wind, then "kicking" the aircraft straight before touchdown--more comfortable for passengers because they don't feel as though they're going to fall out of their seats on final. Does not induce a higher sink rate because there is less drag on the plane.

Wing low, top rudder, slipping all the way down final--helps the pilot figure out the control inputs needed prior to touchdown, so the plane is more stabilized. There are no drastic changes at the very end. Induces a higher sink rate, which can be a good thing when obstacles are located at the approach end of the runway.

In my personal flying, I generally crab until about 100 or 200 AGL to keep the pax comfortable, then transition to the slipping method so that I have plenty of time to figure out the wind conditions and get stabilized prior to touchdown.
 

Inverted25

Well-Known Member
I second Jrh approach method. I crab for most of the final then transition to a slip on short final. Seems to work out best that way. But my instructor when I got my PPL a few years back only allowed slips so I'm very comfortable doing it either way.
 

Superfly7XAF

Well-Known Member
I always crab in on final and then about 100ft off the ground I use a sideslip the rest of the way; never had any problems.

Kind of like this guy:

[yt]BFloyyEBblQ[/yt]
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
I have never used a crab past short final, but I also don't fly big jets with long wings. I think crabbing into the flare in a light aircraft IS the wrong method unless you simply run out of rudder using the forward slip.....by definition kicking out the crab just before touchdown makes for an unstable approach. If you have the means to execute a forward slip, you can maintain centerline the whole way down w/o the fancy rudder dancing used in the other method, and you can more easily gauge the changes in control forces as the A/s slows. The forward slip demands more attention to airspeed from the pilot and feels uncomfortable to some, but it is an extremely useful tool for flying light aircraft if used properly.
 

SmoothLanderJ

Well-Known Member
I always crab in on final and then about 100ft off the ground I use a sideslip the rest of the way; never had any problems.

Kind of like this guy:

[yt]BFloyyEBblQ[/yt]

Actually I think thats a Woman flying that MD-11! ;) Nevertheless, I love that video. Thats a picture perfect way to do it.

I agree with most of the people on here about the proper crosswind method. Today here In MEM I landed with a 20kt crosswind with gusts to 30. The funny thing is while on final (I think around the FAF) I was going over the technique (in my mind) for when I was going to transition from the crab to wing low, hey it worked out pretty good!
 

JLF

Well-Known Member
I crab until the flare and like it. That method just feels natural to me...
 

Polar742

All the responsibility none of the authority
I'd say it depends on what airplane you fly and what technique you like to use.

Some airplanes, light or otherwise, just don't like the sideslip. If I remember correctly, some Seneca I flew had some interlink between the rudders and ailerons. If you held it in a slip for a long time, you'd be a tired pilot by the time to flare.

Some airplanes will even do better if you land in the crab.
 

GlenA

Senior Chicken Counter
I use both as well, start with a crab and then transition to a slip on short final (or short short final :)) .
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
I always crab in on final and then about 100ft off the ground I use a sideslip the rest of the way; never had any problems.

Kind of like this guy:

[yt]BFloyyEBblQ[/yt]
A pictures is worth a thousand words and this is a textbook perfect example on how to land in a x-wind! I've used it in everything from a small C152 to large jets.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
My CFI taught me to slip once turned to final, and that's how I've always done it.

However, I learned all this in a 152.

In my very limited experience, it feels like you have more rudder authority in a 152, so slipping it feels easier to me than in a 172. The SP that I've been flying lately feels like it wants more of a crab-to-slip technique than a slip all the way down final. Actually, compared to the 152, it feels like flying a truck. :)

This could all be my imagination, though. At this point in the game, I'm learning how different airplanes, even of same make and model, tend to feel and I'm going with what's working.

Obviously, I do a lot of go-arounds while I'm figuring this stuff out. :)
 

Polar742

All the responsibility none of the authority
Good points by all.

Just a couple add-in notes.

1) As you gain experience in aircraft control, you'll get "lazier" (best term I can come up with right now) and just fly a crab to the flare and turn it into a slip. Don't pull the power when you do that, or a, um, positive contract with terra firma will occur. (easier said than done)

2) Landing on centerline, in the touchdown zone, is your objective. How that's done is technique.

3) Fly a tailwheel, they don't take any non-sense about not being headed straight down the runway.

4) "Big Jetz" vs. small planes. Until the 747, everything I flew one could slip them up to the crosswind limit.

The 747 (anectodally the DC-8, but I've never laid hands on one...just the 'old-timers' stories about it), we are taught to land in a crab, kick the crab out just before touchdown, but slipping is dangerous as you might (and it has been done many, many times) drag a pod. Oddly enough, in a 25 knot cross (max for autoland) the jet will start a slip anywhere from 200 to 500 feet.

I guess the deal is, unless you're going to strike airplane metal before you reach a crosswind limitation in the airplane you fly, it doesn't matter.
 

SmoothLanderJ

Well-Known Member
Good points by all.

Just a couple add-in notes.

1) As you gain experience in aircraft control, you'll get "lazier" (best term I can come up with right now) and just fly a crab to the flare and turn it into a slip. Don't pull the power when you do that, or a, um, positive contract with terra firma will occur. (easier said than done)

2) Landing on centerline, in the touchdown zone, is your objective. How that's done is technique.

3) Fly a tailwheel, they don't take any non-sense about not being headed straight down the runway.

4) "Big Jetz" vs. small planes. Until the 747, everything I flew one could slip them up to the crosswind limit.

The 747 (anectodally the DC-8, but I've never laid hands on one...just the 'old-timers' stories about it), we are taught to land in a crab, kick the crab out just before touchdown, but slipping is dangerous as you might (and it has been done many, many times) drag a pod. Oddly enough, in a 25 knot cross (max for autoland) the jet will start a slip anywhere from 200 to 500 feet.

I guess the deal is, unless you're going to strike airplane metal before you reach a crosswind limitation in the airplane you fly, it doesn't matter.
This is fantastic advice. I 100% agree. I had a 15 to 20kt crosswind in BTR a few weeks ago. I had it on the touchdown zone and center line but I pulled the power a little too early and PLANTED IT. I actually rememberd this yesterday and kept the power (speed) up longer and it worked out pretty good.
 

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
4) "Big Jetz" vs. small planes. Until the 747, everything I flew one could slip them up to the crosswind limit.
If you try that with the small version of the Arctic RJ you WILL drag a wingtip. When we went through a hiring boom earlier this year we had three of four wing strikes because of new guys trying to land it like they were still in a 172.
 

Polar742

All the responsibility none of the authority
If you try that with the small version of the Arctic RJ you WILL drag a wingtip. When we went through a hiring boom earlier this year we had three of four wing strikes because of new guys trying to land it like they were still in a 172.
I had no idea the SkiDoo would do that. Of course, I have no time in that one, but it does look like it sits low. From what I hear the Citation X will do the same thing. Just for grins, what bank angle will drag the wing?

Thanks man....Ya learn something everyday.
 
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