how much wind is too much?


Well-Known Member
So I did my preflight this morning and all was fine till i got to checking out the rudder and the wind went from 290@6kts to 290@20kts but it was right down the pipe of RW29 so we still figured it to maybe be a go? Then wind kicked up to 290@30kts and that pretty much killed this day. If a 50kt wind is coming right down the pipe and you have a Xwind of 0 is that allowable? Guess you have to be nuts to try that one though.

My question is, (and i know that the max allowable x-wind is 15kts) how much wind is too much wind for a training flight where you are trying to learn?
With wind going down the runway my biggest concern is taxiing. I personally do not like wind stronger then 15.
I generally will not exceed the maximum demonstrated crosswind component of the aircraft (15 knots for the Katana/172, 12kts-152).

And I also use a 30kt limit for total wind when flying really light singles.

With 50 kts of wind down the runway, you're asking for problems, worse if it's gusting. You're proabaly not accostomed to such a low groundspeed, and may find yourself moving backwards during the flare if you don't extra airspeed. Why risk it?
Yea, what Lain said. For me also, I don't like to push over 15. Things can go ok @15-17knts. and they can get wonkie quick. I had xwinds of 15ish and ended up running off the rwy. What a ride. Pulled it off ok and continued the offrun on the grass right up to the txy way smooth as silk, looked like I meant to but didn't plan that short-cut!!
This was in a club 172 last summer on my last poker run stop, heart was poundin!

I think where I went wrong mostly was in rollout, I think I still had right rudder in. It happened pretty quick, tires squelling, on two wheels. Not one of my proudest moments but...
Yea, I agree also with 15knts or there abouts. Just the other day I HAD to land on runway 18 with the winds at 29014G19 shew! I was about 5ft from touchdown when that 19knt wind desided to die. Dropped like a rock! But at least it was centerline!
Thanks guys, thats actually about what i was thinking. I always kinda knew if it was over 15kts there was really no sense on going out to the airport.

Today just got me thinking how much is too much and what should my no-go windspeed be. I think I have decided that 15kts in any direction will be my max for taking off. This was my gut feeling anyways and you guys just enforced it.

Thanks again guys!
I would have to say it depends on the situation... if you are flying for a lesson, or you have an important trip to make, I would say you could tolerate sufficiently much more wind than if you were taking your new girlfriend flying for the first time. I think that flying should be fun, and sometimes a windy day just kills the good time (like in a piper cub, for instance)... I think the wind decision basically comes down to one thing... how comfortable are you? I dont think a pilot should ever step outside his/her comfort zone in any aspect... it's just not safe.
Agreed there. You really can't put numbers on it because it all depends on the plane and the pilot.

A heavy plane and an experienced pilot will handle more than a light plane and an exprienced pilot.

As for me... I would probably still go in a 172 if it was 30kts straight down the runway with no gusts. That's my absolute limit. If there was any gusting at all, or any x wind the wind speed would have to be much less for me to fly. The problem is that the wind is rarely blowing straight down the runway. Plus when the wind is that strong you're almost guarenteed to have gusts.

I would not have gone in the situation you described because the wind was increasing to 30kts, meaning that in another hour it could have been 40kts... which would be nearly impossible to taxi in (for me anyway).
Here is one more thing to keep in mind for my situation guys.

The National Center for Wind Technology is about a mile and half past the threshold of the runway i was going to takeoff on. When you see blades as big as 10 story buildings flipping in the winds, it makes the decision easier.

I am sure in time I will become more comfortable with Xwinds but 30 kts is pushing it too far for me.
If the crosswind component exceeds 15 knots or the max demonstrated components, it's a no-go.

If steady winds are greater than 25 knots in any direction or 30 knots in gusts, I would call it a no-go. I don't like seeing the airspeed indicator coming close to that white arc during taxi.
Hey guys,

I agree, it depends on the airplane and the pilot. As for me, I fly 172's and I don't feel comfortable with anything above 15kts since I'm a low time pilot and don't fly frequently enough.

I certainly don't want to bend any metal on our club airplanes. AOPA's Air Safety Foundation article on wind suggested that with winds of 20 kts. or greater, one needs to be "on top of thier game" and be extra cautious.

Problem is, here in Oklahoma, 15-20kt winds are pretty common!!

Take care,
Mark P.
It depends on the plane, pilot, and airport.

Remember that a crosswind limitation is just that, for crosswinds. It doesn't apply if the wind is straight down the runway.

Generally, I would start students flying on mostly calm days. As they got more experienced, I would take them up in stronger and more gusty winds. I took experienced students up in winds that were gusting to 25 or 30 several times. It is valuable experience but beyond a couple of hours of landing practice in these conditions, the returns start to diminish. For example, this isn't the weather to practicing short and soft field TOLs for your checkride. You could, however, do air work, and it would be an educational day for ground reference.
The other side of the coin is you have to learn how to deal with wind sooner or later.

What happens if you make a habbit of avoiding "high" winds and one day you're out on a XC, away from home and you really need to land but the wind is 15G22 40 degrees off the runway, or worse yet 90 degrees off?

I'm not advocating running out and doing solo work in 30 kts winds when you only have double digit total time in the logbook but at some point you need to start bumping up your "absoloute" limit and the only way to do that is get out there in some stronger winds.

I remember when I first started flying and 5 or 8 kts kinda worried me.

Then I moved out to PHX.

Out here in the desert 15 kts is a relatively common occurance and if you ever fly into Laughlin (Bullhead City, AZ) 16-18 kts is the norm (granted it's generally down the runway, but it still makes for an interesting final).

Something that helps with high winds is partial flaps. It allows you to fly a slightly faster final which gives you more control in correcting your crosswind - but remember you'll need more pavement to roll out on!

I generally use 12kts as my "figure." Anything above that it's a half flap landing.
You bring up a good point 602. I hadn't really thought too much about how strong the wind would have to be for me to "divert". Probably a steady wind of 30 knots or more in any direction in the 172, 35 in the 182, and/or definitely anything that exceeds the 15 knots x-wind component, not counting the gust factor.
In spite of my general wind personal mins of 15kts or so I agree with all who commented after me. It does depend on the person and or plane etc. For me just going out on a burger run sometimes I will cancel if it gets very windy and gusty because when your fighting the wind on TO, enrote and landings, it makes it more like work and takes some of the fun out of it.

And of course I think training with some good winds blowing is important because you really have to get some hands-on time to be able to handle it well.When I was doing my PPL my CFI would cancel our reg lesson and we would do x-wind t/o's and landings on the windy days, and I'm grateful he did! That training with him on those days is what I take with me when I'm by myself on those damn windy days.

Aslo if it's a windy day I take advantage of it and do a few runs around the patch and practice those t/o's and landings.

Also as mentioned, sooner or later you gotta land, windy or not, so 'ya gotta suck it up and make it happen. Practice, practice, practice.
Yeah, 30 knots should be the limit for light twins and singles. 30 is also the minimum for an airmet being issued too. Unless, it's right down the runway around 30 knots is usually just too much for the little planes. And always check the crosswind component of your airplane. When you exceed that, you're a test pilot!
And also, in many POHs what you find is the "Maximum Demonstrated Crosswind Component." That just means that it is the maximum crosswind that they landed with in certification. It doesn't necessarily mean that it is the max. capable crosswind component, although as someone else pointed out, at that point, you do become a test pilot.

Anyone ever flown a J-3 in a strong wind? You can actually throttle back and hover or go backwards!
Right now I am comfortable with 20 knots coming straight down the runway (without any higher gusts) and I am comfortable with up to a 10 knot direct crosswind. I know that the maximum demonstrated component on the 172 I am flying is 15 knots, but that was with a test pilot with thousands of hours at the yoke and it was also with a new plane, not one that is as old as I am!
I consider max xwimd to be full rudder deflection in the slip and still not being aligned with the runway. There is a technique to get around it but it's not one I'm comfortable with and in that case I'd definately find another runway / airport.

The technique is to crab into the wind... then just before flare go full rudder and simeultaneously lower the upwind wing. The inertia from the rudder will yaw the plane further than it would have, and if you time it right with the alerions you'll end up landing with the nose pointing straight down the runway. This would only work in a tricicle gear plane of course.

Anyways I think I read that somewhere... would never try it though