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Tech

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crosswind landings
« on: February 22, 2011, 04:33:41 PM »
I fly a 172 while I am in flight training. I would like to here opinions and/or preferences from you more experienced pilots with regards to crosswind landings. Low wing/ side slip method, or the crab then kick out the crab method??????????  I have been training since August. I would love to hear from you experienced crosswind landing gurus on how you do it? For those that crab down to the runway, at what point would you kick out the crab, (before flare/during flare/ etc ), are there those that use a combination of the two, if so, please tell me how? I have a problem in getting the side slip method to be an easy transition into the flare and landing? Any suggestions or ideas as to which is the best way or method? AOPA's writer/pilot suggests the crab and kick out as the best/easiest/far better for any pax?? I would love to hear ideas and suggestions and preferences.
For those using the crab then kick it out method, are you then saying it is ok to allow a small drift off center line because of the kick out for that brief period, if so, I would assume that any drift would be less than a couple of feet? I forgot to ask those of you that fly the low wing planes (PIPER), etc, how hard is it for you to land via the low wing side slip method? Are you low wing pilots more inclined to land via crab and kick it out over low wing side slip?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 04:37:18 PM by Tech »

BruceAir

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 05:19:50 PM »
First, discuss this question with your instructor.

Most pilots end up using a combination of the crab and slip methods. As for when to transition from the crab to the slip (wing-low), that depends on many factors, including:

Ambient conditions
Type of airplane
Your experience and skill

Note that some airplanes have restrictions on how long you can slip because extended slips may uncover the fuel ports in wing tanks. Check your operating handbook for any limitations.

During your training you should get plenty of practice, and as you gain experience, skill and confidence.

Finally, you'll find lots of good information at the AOPA website (just search for "slips" and "landings." Here's an online seminar that might help you get into the discussion with your instructor.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 06:22:15 AM by BruceAir »
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Pegasus

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 08:52:43 PM »
Hi Tech –

I agree completely with Bruce’s suggestion, since it’s your instructor who will ultimately decide on how well you’re landing. However, that doesn’t do a thing about answering your questions! So here’s my take on it, having learned both methods in both high and low wing airplanes.

Quote
Low wing/ side slip method, or the crab then kick out the crab method?

I find the low wing/slip method both easier to teach and easier to do. The low wing/slip approach is usually stabilized during the last couple of hundred feet down final. You keep the plane straight with your feet, you stay on centerline with bank, and you do that all the way through flair. Actually, in a steady-state crosswind, you have to increase bank in the flair as the plane slows down. Ultimately, you touch down on the upwind wheel, then lower the others as the airplane slows. So one basic memory aid: keep the plane straight with your feet, bank to kill drift, all the way through the flair.

Crab and kick out method. This is a thing of beauty when done correctly, a horrible landing when misjudged. You crab into the wind, changing the crab angle to account for varying (or gusty) crosswinds. About the middle of the flair (not the start ‘cause you’re too high), just inches above the runway, you kick out the crab to align with the runway. As you kick out the crab, the upwind wing will tend to dip down due to inertia, lowering the upwind wheel, causing it to touch down since you’re already in the flair just above the runway. If you kick out too early, you start to drift, resulting in a poor landing. If you kick out too late, you land in a partial crab, also a poor landing.

Quote
For those that crab down to the runway, at what point would you kick out the crab, (before flare/during flare/ etc )

Well into the flair so that there is no drift when the upwind wheel touches down, just as the plane aligns with the runway.

Quote
I have a problem in getting the side slip method to be an easy transition into the flare and landing?

With the side slip method, simply hold the side slip through the flair and land on one wheel. Let me say that again: land on one wheel. Do NOT level the wings until the upwind wheel is on the ground. Unless the wind dies off suddenly that is! If anything, increase the bank while holding the nose up since the lift from the wing (which is countering the crosswind) decreases as the airspeed slows.

Quote
AOPA's writer/pilot suggests the crab and kick out as the best/easiest/far better for any pax??

The side slip method puts the ball out of center on short final. This means that the passengers are leaning against the side of the plane. I’ve NEVER had a passenger complain about being lined up on the centerline during landing, while I HAVE had them complain (in the crab kick method) about looking at the runway out the side window.

Quote
For those using the crab then kick it out method, are you then saying it is ok to allow a small drift off center line because of the kick out for that brief period, if so, I would assume that any drift would be less than a couple of feet?

No drift is acceptable unless (in certain airplanes, but not a Cessna 172) it is required for other reasons. For example, some planes have to be landed in a crab as the wing low method is forbidden in their POH’s.

Quote
I forgot to ask those of you that fly the low wing planes (PIPER), etc, how hard is it for you to land via the low wing side slip method? Are you low wing pilots more inclined to land via crab and kick it out over low wing side slip?

Both types of planes can be landed just fine using either method. When you get out of trainers and into more exotic or complicated airplanes, then read the POH for the manufacturer’s recommendation. If there is no recommendation, then either method is fine.

 - Ed
A good landing is one you can walk away from,
A great landing is where you can reuse the airplane!
Often seen making hard landings at BFI and S50

hotrod150

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 09:44:02 PM »
  That "kick out the crab at the last minute" method is a ground loop waiting to happen in a taildragger if your timing is off even a skosh. Seen it happen and it  tweren't pretty (or inexpensive).

dakotahawk

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 02:37:37 AM »
I learned the "kick out of a crab" method when I was taking my flight training in 152s and 172s.  I finished my flight training in a Warrior (low wing) and my instructor taught me the "low wing/slip".  I was adequate using both techniques, although I seemed to have better luck initially with the "crab" method.

When I started flying tailwheel aircraft, I only use the "low wing" method.  The "crab" is just inviting a ground loop in a tailwheel airplane unless it's executed perfectly.  On the other hand, the "low wing" method makes for very nice landings.  In fact, my crosswind landings are usually smoother than my calm wind/straight-down-the-runway landings using the "low wing" method.

In my opinion, the "low wing" is the more polished and professional way to land in a crosswind, but the "crab" is easier to learn (in a nose wheel airplane), so "crab" is what most instructors teach.  Remember, getting your license (or solo) is just a license to go out and learn even more!  Use some of those 20 hours of solo to work on both types of crosswind landings.  Or better yet, get your instructor to take you up in a Cub or a Champ (name your favorite TW airplane here) and get some TW crosswind landings.  You'll see what a difference there is!


Good Luck!
Scott Stewart
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zekeaero

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 06:39:27 AM »
Keep in mind that the slip method puts the plane in an uncoordinated attitude.  I'm not sure I'd consider this the more polished and professional way to land since it smashes the passengers up against the wall in a strong slip.  Certainly, no airline runs down final in a prolonged slip.

But the slip on final is a nice way to practice the rudder/aileron control since you have a lot of time and distance to watch the effects of control inputs.
Jake
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groupw

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 11:16:16 AM »
What I've found is that the wind is almost never steady, particularly close to the ground. So no matter what you do on the way down, you have to change it -- often radically -- shortly before you set down. Here's what I do. . .

I crab as necessary on final until I'm a little short of the threshold, then I begin a slip. What that really means is that I begin using the rudder and ailerons to align the plane's axis with the runway and the plane's path straight ahead respectively. Usually it takes a lot of readjustment as the wind changes. The distance from the threshold I make the change depends on how steady the wind is. If it's really steady (unusual), then I begin the slip at the last minute. If it's gusty and variable, I begin a bit sooner.

One of the things it took time to master was the ability to control the airplane yaw and direction at slow approach speeds. In all my training I was properly taught to limit the control inputs and not over control. But crosswind landing is a time when you really need to apply a lot of control input.

After I soloed I flew every chance I had when there was a wind blowing, and would find a local airport with a long, wide runway oriented across the wind. Then I practiced, practiced, practiced. (Your CFI will set direct and crosswind limits for you which you have to observe. But as you get better at it and can demonstrate your ability to him/her, those limits should be appropriately raised.) At first I began the slip just after turning final. This gave me practice controlling the plane's heading and direction of travel at approach speed which is essential to master. Then as I got better I began the slip later and later.

Now I'm very comfortable with crosswind landings, regardless of how gusty or variable the wind is. I even enjoy the challenge. The reason there's so much discussion about crosswind landing techniques is that different people find that different methods work best for them. Learn the basic crab and slip, then practice, practice, practice until you find and perfect whatever combination works best for you.

Roy

BruceAir

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 11:45:52 AM »
Here's another good video on this very topic from AOPA.
-Bruce
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Domenick

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 09:07:21 AM »
Crosswind landings seem intimidating at first, but they are actually quite fun.  Don't hesitate to go around and try again, and again.  Once at Wilson Creek I went around 5 or 6 times until I had the momentary conditions with which I was more or less comfortable. 

Learn both methods.  You'll use whatever feels best for the moment.   I tend to crab and kick for a light crosswind and slip for a stronger crosswind.  One thing the slip does for you is inform you if you are going to run out of rudder authority before you are committed.  Winds are rarely steady and vary with position and altitude.  Regardless of which method you use at any given landing you will be constantly adjusting on short final.
Domenick
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Ddayle

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 04:50:58 PM »
Crosswind taxiing in a stiff wind  bothers me more than the landing (or take off). :)  I don't  know for sure which combination of techniques i use to land in a crosswind, I just do it.  It happens automatically. 8)  But in taxi I have to think to anticipate the winds affects. The thinking part always gets me in trouble :P  Dave
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Rainier Flight Service

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 07:09:15 PM »
There is lots of good information here. The thing to remember is that it is all practice. The more you do something, the better you get at it. If there is anything at all in aviation that makes you nervous or question, your best course of action is to find a good instructor that you enjoy and practice.

The basic slip with one wing low is the first thing to master. The first few times you do this you will not know exactly how much rudder and bank to use. With practice you will be able to look at the angle between the nose and runway and know how much rudder and bank will be necessary to land. Once you have a grasp of this, you will be able to enter this slip closer and closer to the ground. Eventually you will enter the slip a few feet above the runway and adopt the  "kick it out" method.

Start with light crosswinds and high slips and improve to stronger winds and lower execution. Use the building block method to challenge yourself and have fun!

Brad
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hotrod150

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 09:49:33 PM »
  Keep in mind that the slip method puts the plane in an uncoordinated attitude.  I'm not sure I'd consider this the more polished and professional way to land since it smashes the passengers up against the wall in a strong slip.....

  It's even more unprofessional to have the tail overtake the nose after landing, and end up out in the weeds somewhere.. That tends to get the passengers worked up also.
  Crabbing is fine if you have self-correcting "landomatic" (tricyle) gear. But as was pointed out, it can be disasterous in a taildragger if your timing is off.

tonyrob

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 10:03:21 PM »
Of course, if you have an evil sense of humour, and a new flight instructor who is just a little bit too full of himself (some of mine were) then the absolute best thing that you can do is to screw it up completely, and when you are 10ft over the runway, totally sideways, smile and say, "you have control".  See? Even as a stiudent you really do "Have Control"!!! :)

Tony (Al made me do it)
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dakotahawk

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 10:58:42 PM »
when you are 10ft over the runway, totally sideways, smile and say, "you have control". 

One word --- EVIL 8)
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cficarlos

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Re: crosswind landings
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 10:13:19 AM »
"I crab as necessary on final until I'm a little short of the threshold, then I begin a slip."

That is pretty much what I've always done and what I teach. I haven't even heard of the "kick it out" method until this year, when I heard it on that bush pilot show on the discovery channel. It seems like a good way to put a good side load on your landing gear, which a 172 isn't designed for, but I guess it isn't.
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