From the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook here are the usual suspects for getting an audience with your insurance adjuster, if not an FAA inspector. And guess what? About two hundred of us a year discover that the winds can be cross indeed.
• Attempting to land in crosswinds that exceed the airplane’s maximum demonstrated crosswind component. — Is this limiting? Not unless it is in the limitation section of the POH. If it’s not a limitation it still might be challenging to explain why you thought you could do better than the factory test pilots.
• Inadequate compensation for wind drift on the turn from base leg to final approach, resulting in undershooting or overshooting. — This is what rectangular patterns are about and getting somewhat close to the runway centerline is more than a nice thing to do. If it starts getting messed up here things will get worse.
• Inadequate compensation for wind drift on final approach. — If crabbing or slipping won’t hold it, try to find another runway more aligned to the wind. Things will get worse.
• Unstable approach. — This is a foreign concept to many pilots and I won’t elaborate here other than to say that in a light aircraft if you haven’t got it in the groove at 500′ agl, things will get worse.
• Failure to compensate for increased drag during sideslip resulting in excessive sink rate and/or too low an airspeed. —- My bet is that this doesn’t happen too often. If it’s really windy we tend to be really fast. Things will get worse.
• Touchdown while drifting. — Leads to that jerking sensation.
• Excessive airspeed on touchdown. — Leads to that floating sensation.
• Failure to apply appropriate flight control inputs during rollout. — Leads to all kinds of unintentional excursions as the wind hammers the aircraft.
• Failure to maintain direction control on rollout. — Tiptoe through the runway lights with me.
• Excessive braking. — Flat spots are really good for tire sales but not so good for pilot cash flows.
Claude, who flies a Cheetah and read the article Math Myths in the January 2011 AOPA Pilot, had a nice rule of thumb about crosswinds: “The charts for crosswind components are somewhere in the kit bag but here’s a much easier way; All you have to remember are two numbers: 2 and .7.
“Wind at 30 degrees: Divide wind by 2.” So, if the total wind is 20 knots and it’s 30 degrees off the runway heading, the crosswind component is 10 knots.
“Wind at 45 degrees: Multiply wind by .7″. In this case, if the total wind is 20 knots the crosswind will be 14 knots. 30 knots equals 21 knots crosswind.
Obviously, at 90 degrees you get the full blast. This seems like a quick and fairly accurate way to assess how cross it will be. Take a tip from the pros who use the gust factor, not the steady state wind as the deciding factor.
One other brilliant bit of wisdom: If you practice on a day when the wind is significant enough to exercise those crosswind muscles and there is more than one runway – take the crosswind runway. Just mind the conflicting traffic.