Your worst X-wind experience?

Lead Sled

New Member
Anyone like to share their worst crosswind experience? I was wondering what more experienced pilots have made it through. No matter what kind of plane and whether you felt comfortable doing it or not.

OK, I'll start. Awhile back, returning from an uneventful round robin in a C-172 I came back to find that the winds had shifted and increased drastically. 230 at 12 with gusts of 25 (far stronger than any TAF I saw or info from WXBRIEF). I took two passes for runway 14 and that was enough for me. 12 knots at 90° felt doable but I just couldn’t take on those gusts……yikes! I diverted to another airport with a more favorable runway direction and waited till things calmed down. Even that landing was not comfortable, 15 gusting 25 but only 40°. I was very inexperienced (still am) and scared to death but managed to do it in one try. And no, it was not a pretty touch down but the plane is still in service!


Well-Known Member
Craziest I've ever had was a on a cross country last fall. Basically the weather totally changed. Icing was reported at 9000 feet (and dropping). Ceilings were dropping and there was some fog/haze building. I made it to the destination but at this point there was some pretty significant turbulence, at least for a Piper Warrior. Checked the wind and it came out to something like 24 kt crosswind. I had a friend ahead of me flying in another plane that landed so I came down. Putting it down in 24 kt crosswind was definitely my craziest experience.

It was actually a pretty alright landing considering my extremely limited (and lack of) experience, pretty smooth until a gust hit and brought me back up again. I managed to put it down safely and taxi in and tie down. Had to overnight there because we ended up with frost on both planes as well. As crazy as it was I learned a lot from it.

The 20 kt crosswind landings I did with my instructor the day before helped a lot.


Well-Known Member
done 25kts direct xwind in a warrior. pretty easy. did 20kts in a decathlon, and i have done around 14kts in the champ (doesn't sound like much until you realize its max demo. is 7mph) the day with the champ was a beast because i almost had a wing strike too, maybe 6" away


Well-Known Member
done 25kts direct xwind in a warrior. pretty easy. did 20kts in a decathlon, and i have done around 14kts in the champ (doesn't sound like much until you realize its max demo. is 7mph) the day with the champ was a beast because i almost had a wing strike too, maybe 6" away
I would feel comfortable doing it now but this was like a week after I received my private. I did not really have a choice though, it was either land or risk the lowering ceilings, I figured I'd have a better chance to land then risk a VMC into IMC encounter.

Roger, Roger

Night cross country with 2 students in the DA-42 to KSSF (near San Antonio). A cold front had just come through and it was 25G30, at about a 60° angle to the landing runway. The runway we landed on had a displaced threshold for trees. The trees were blocking out the threshold lights at one point. I was a little nervous. Student didn't do too bad though, esp. given the conditions.


Well-Known Member
I would feel comfortable doing it now but this was like a week after I received my private. I did not really have a choice though, it was either land or risk the lowering ceilings, I figured I'd have a better chance to land then risk a VMC into IMC encounter.
my champ experience was 1 week after i got my tailwheel endorsment. i had all of maybe 20 hours total tailwheel (did tailwheel and acro) plus around 3 or 4 hours in the champ. just over 100TT. it was quite an experience, tried all 3 landings and CKN because the wind kept shifting


Well-Known Member
Mammoth CA, flying for AMF in the Navajo aborted the takeoff once or twice. Inyokern CA, again in the Navajo trying to land never put it down. Some of you may have flown AMF 132 will understand.


Island Bus Driver
26 knots with gusts to 42, 90 degrees off the nose. I got it in on the second try. If it didn't work out that time it was going to end up being a divert.

As far as light GA stuff... Back side of one of the hurricanes in Florida in 2004. Landed at CRG with the winds about 45 degrees off the nose still gusting to 30. Fun stuff.


Well-Known Member
Coming back from San Diego, landing at WHP (Just north of BUR) winds had changed to 180* at something like 20G30. I had about 45 hours at this point, and wasn't really comfortable with X-wind landings. I decided to give the approach a few shots though, and divert to BUR if I had to.

First approach, I was way too close to the field, and turning right to base, I was pushed past the runway and didnt feel I could safely make it back over. Go-Around.

Now in the normal left pattern, I crab on downwind to keep myself near the airport, and turning base I start struggling to get the runway far enough behind me that the winds will push me onto a perfect final...... but no dice. I turn too early and im pushed past the runway again.

At this point, my CFI is on the ground with a handheld, and just tells me to relax, account for the wind, and not to be afraid to go around.

I try one last time, and account just perfectly for the wind. crabbing + wind pushing puts me right over the numbers and Im slow enough to feel comfortable finishing the landing.

That was an intense workout.


Frank N. Beans
Inverted back course loc rwy 79 (minus 50 rule) winds 2030g60 I put my Cessna 125 (a 152 without overhead structure) down with ease but I later found poop in my pants.


Well-Known Member
I was aircraft-commander (think Captain in the civilian world) on a C-9B, with the VR wing-commander as my co-pilot (he wasn't fully C-9B checked out yet) carrying every Reserve Admiral in the Navy to NAS Norfolk for some conference.

One 8000' runway and the winds were 90 off at 30kts and it was raining. 30kts is the crosswind limitation for the C-9B. Touched down in the landing zone in heavy rain and as soon as I went into reverse the aircraft weather-vaned into the wind. I knew this could be coming so I immediately came out of reverse and just used brakes to stop...

Whew! Glad that's over!

The other that comes to mind is landing the B-767 in Amsterdam with 45 knot winds and low ceilings. The winds were right down the one runway which didn't have an instrument approach. We shot an ILS to the runway 45 degrees off which had its approach end right next to the landing runway, broke out and then did a "visual" line-up and landed.

By far the worst weather I ever encountered in Europe was in AMS during the winter with the wind coming in off of the North Sea...



New Member
doing an insurance checkout for a pilot who hadn't flown in about 5 years in a C172SP. We were trying to squeeze in most of the first flight before a summer thunderstorm came in (it was about 1 1/2 hours away according to the radar). After about an hour, i noticed the storm had moved in quicker than expected. Headed back to the home airport, weather was calling winds @ 130 variable to 170 @ 17 gusting to 42. Landing runway 23. At this time the guy looked at me and said i could take the landing (i wasn't planning on letting him land it anyways haha). Fast forward to the round out and touchdown (no flap landing and a groundspeed of about 20kts on final). Level'd off in ground effect, had a perfect crosswind technique in. touched down no problem, then the wind gust came. airplane balloon'd off the runway, started drifting away from the centerline, took full left aileron and all of right rudder to get rid of the drift and keep the fuselage Centerline parallel to the runway centerline (thank goodness for 150' wide runways). Gust dropped, airplane landed (again), i then proceeded to stop as quickly as possible and taxi back VEEEERRRYYYY slowly to the ramp.

Where i believe the guy proceeded to clean out his pants. 6 months later he came back to finish his insurance checkout.

lessons learned that day: Dont try and "squeeze" in one more flight before a big thunderstorm in the summer. :)


This job would be easier without all the airplanes
Back shortly after I got my CPL, I was cocky and in hindsight this wasn't very bright....

Was flying from CYYG-CYSU which to you American folks is only about a 25 minute hop in a little Cessna 150 I had at the time.

Anyway I was going to visit some friends who were doing some gliding operations (Auto Tow), anyway, as I called the field they were very rushed, gave me the wind direction (uncontrolled airport) but no velocity as they were too busy aparently, and that they were moving a glider off the runway and it would be clear.

Anyway, CYSU is an old bomber base of sorts, and the runway is 250' wide and "Useable" 8000' at the time, but the old runway is still there well suited to a C150 giving almost 10,000'.

Anyway I fought the plane to the ground very very gusty winds, but got it on centreline a little shakey on touchdown but nothing out of the ordinary.

Turns out after they watched me land, they checked the winds using their wind gauge, they estimated it was 80 degrees to the runway at 21G26 knots.

Did I fail to mention that the reason the glider was being pushed off the runway was that instead of pushing the glider back to the hanger in the high winds, an experienced pilot attempted to fly it back to the Hanger apron (Used to fit Argus' and Orions) anyway they had just crashed the glider on take-off heavily damaging the airplane and one pilots ego... then in I come two minutes later in a similar light aircraft... not the brightest day for Canadian aviation to say the least.

I learned that day two valuable lessons:

1.) Get proper available information if possible before comitting to a landing.

2.)The manufacturers crosswind limitations are nowhere near the airplanes actual!

On those notes, I never have yet nor never will intentionally go over the manufacturers limitations in any category.


Well-Known Member
The worst thus far for me was a couple of years ago. It was summertime and I was doing a short hop from John Wayne to French Vally--basically right over the mountains with a straight shot. When I departed it was the usual, severe clear and calm. Even at cruise it was very smooth and non eventful. Anywho, I pick up the automated weather and it says that it's blowing double digits 75 degrees off the runway. I thought that's strange, but okay, there is a storm down in Mexico I guess. When I turned downwind that's when I noticed it--basically the airplane weather-vained pretty good. The landing was great, as I got it in the first time. And when I finally shut it down and got out I couldn't believe how strong and steady it was blowing. Then I meet up with my ride and he says "HEEEY, NIIIIICE LAANDINNNNNG!!! HUH??? YEEEAH I CANNN'T BEEELIEVE HOW WINDYYY IT IS!!!"

Fortunatley it died down in the afteroon before I took off. Great experience though.


I'm coming into Akhiok, and the wind was a direct cross as I could see on the water, the ASOS was inop so I'm not entirely sure how much wind there was, but I was sitting at about a 45-50 degree angle to the runway in the 207. Finally, when I got down towards the ground I had to kick out of the crab, however, I didn't have enough rudder to keep me lined with the center line, so I punched it and went around. On the second approach I had to time it, it felt like the whole damn island was coming down on my head with all the turbulence on the way down, and the wx was coming down quick (it was already 600OVC) otherwise I would have just gone home, finally got it down, flew the crab all the way to the gravel and pulled off happy to still be intact. When I asked my pax about it, they were like "ehhh, about 4 years ago I flew in and it was WAAAAY worse."

Ray Finkle

New Member
Back in when I was a student pilot in Iowa. Came off 3 months of crap weather, back out trying to get sharp for the checkride. Crosswind around 15 kts or so. R14 starts with a line of trees for the first 1/3 or so, then opens up wide so the wind gets blocked then you run into at about rotation. Well I hadn't flown in a while and forgot about the crosswind correction. As soon as i rotated the plane cleared the treeline and I got smacked from the side and as I hovered in ground effect, the plane drifted off the side and towards a lot of mud and water. All I thought was fly the plane, fly the plane, fly the plane! Get her into the wind, and get the speed up. Sure enough, off I went, spent about 10 minutes trying to calm down! LOL! All was well, came back landed and never, EVER forgot about crosswind correction again.


Well-Known Member
Couple weeks ago when Ike came through the Ohio area. Landing at CMH winds were 190 18 G 36. Runway was 28R. It was actually a very smooth landing by sheer luck.

Wasn't the flying pilot but going into State College PA back in Feb or March the winds were 80 degrees off the nose at like 10 G 22. Not a big deal but the runway was 85% covered in snow and it was night time in mountainous terrain without a control tower with 45 people in the back. That got the heart going a bit. :yar:


Well-Known Member
Also CMH, early this year. Just started IOE and the airport had just opened up (well, one runway had opened up) due to a snowstorm going through Columbus. We were landing 10L and winds were 190 20G30 and it was my leg. Broke out of snow storm at 400 ' and couldn't see runway because visibility was still terrible and nose wasn't pointing anywhere near the runway. CA "spotted" it and "assisted" me in landing the plane. Welcome to IOE. Airport was shut back down after we landed.