Crosswind landingsBack to Forum
Anonymous25 Jan 2012
Is it right not to close an airport with such winds? Landings look quite hazardous. Or is it an optical effect?25 Jan 2012
Aircraft generally have either a maximum permitted cross wind landing component, (max cross wind permitted for type to land) or the maximum demonstrated cross wind landing component (max cross wind that the aircraft has been demonstrated to land in).
Operators can also limit the cross wind landing for type.
It looks worse on the ground than when its being flown. The bigger problem is possible wind sheer at low level level.25 Jan 2012
“The bigger problem is possible wind sheer at low level level.”
Agreed. So long as you have sufficient control authority, x-wind landings are not dangerous, just take some concentration.25 Jan 2012
Good video – though the main reaction is to admire the skill of the pilots, and the way most of them straighten up when on the point of landing.
For some truly awesome landing shots – including some real cross-wind buffetings – watch this video from the late and much lamented Hong Kong Kai Tak runway:
The opening shot is dramatic in the extreme, and the music is stunning music too.28 Jan 2012
Yes indeed, landings there were often interesting! But then, Kai Tak was simply unique. The pictures do not really do justice to the reality – there has never been a major airport approach like it. They always said you could watch the televisions in the flats as you came in: that may not have been literally true, but you could certainly see the television sets, and moreover see if they were on or not. The low approaches are not fakes – I lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s and took my children to watch the planes coming in from the top of the multi-story car-park at Kai Tak, and they were flying past no more that 150-200 metres from us and below us.
The “right hand down” turn as one came in over Lion Rock was without parallel in airport approaches anywhere and was, strictly speaking, beyond the operating safety limits of a number of aircraft. It was explained to me once by a Cathay Pacific pilot I was sitting next to: at landing, the plane has to be at stalling speed for it to stop before the end of the runway, and yet just before landing the plane has done a sharp right turn. How do planes turn right – they drop the right wing and fall sideways. And as they drop the wing and fall they speed up, because of gravity. So just before and going into the turn, the plane has to be travelling below stalling speed. The only way to do this is to juggle the throttle back and up, back and up, to stop the nose dropping. It is edge of seat time, every time.
And not all pilots managed it. While I was living in Hong Kong we saw three planes off the end of the runway into the sea. It really did happen.
Chek Lap Kok is a better airport (it has 4 times the capacity and is hugely safer, with much much better facilities for travellers); but Kai Tak was unique, and in a way I am sad that it no longer exists.28 Jan 2012
Here is a view from the cockpit – on approach to Heathrow. It all sounds very calm and controlled to me…2 Feb 2012
Incredible video. There are many like this on YouTube with great ones of Kai Tak, Funchal and others. What I have always wondered, not being a pilot, is what impact these type of landings have on the main gear struts. It looks ‘painful.’2 Feb 2012
I remember when Boeing was developing the landing gear for the 777 they analysed the video of the Korean 747 1 gear touchdown at Kai Tak to show just how strong the gear has to be to be safe.2 Feb 2012