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Crosswind Technique


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So I've been flightsimming for a while, and am a pilot in training. I have the thrustmaster rudder pedals, and saitek yoke and throttle quadrant. I'm having a great deal of difficulty with crosswind landings. I don't know what exactly I'm doing wrong. I feel that it may also be a sensitivity issue, but I dont know where the settings should be for my specific yoke where it will have a realistic response (it seems very choppy and delayed). And when I try to crab, I feel like I am crabbed way too much into the wind and then when I try to line up right before touchdown, I feel like I veer dramatically to the right (assuming the crosswind is coming from the left), so I try to fix it by using ailerons to turn left but it just leads to me not being lined up to the runway, so use right rudder to even it out and I drift more right... you get the point. It's a cycle. And like I said before. The movements seem delayed and choppy, and I have no idea why. I'm also using the A2A C172. Please help, thanks.
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There is a section about crosswind landings in the Real Aviation Tutorials & FAQs section of the forum, below. But your description seems to say that you are trying to get too much correction in all at once, instead of easing in to it to feel how much is needed.


When crabbing you have to look a bit to the side and judge whether your ground track is straight with the runway, not the nose straight with the runway. If you are crabbed too much into the wind, then your ground track will be taking you towards the wind a bit. If you're not crabbed enough, then your ground track will be drifting WITH the wind. Remember, the slower your airspeed, the greater the crab angle, all else being equal.


And, at least at first, don't crab all the way to the flare, but perhaps start shifting into a slip 200, 300 or more feet above the runway elevation, giving you time to ease into the slip. The technique for the slip you need is really just add a little aileron to dip the wing into the wind, gently, and at roughly the same time add just a little opposite rudder. The lowering of the wing should be just enough to stop your aircraft from drifting sideways and the amount of rudder added should be just enough to keep the centerline of the aircraft aligned with (the nose pointed straight down) the runway. If you start to drift a little, then correct your bank angle to compensate, and if your heading moves off of runway heading then correct slightly with rudder.


Notice I'm saying "gently," "a little," "slightly." Being in too big a hurry means you're overcorrecting and getting behind the airplane such that you'll (as my first instructor once said) be "30 minutes late for the crash."


Because of the above, and the fact that it takes time and practice, especially with no CFI there to give you real time help, I suggest you get on runway heading about 200-300 feet above the runway and, maintaining altitude, practice the above slip techniques, easing into and out of the slip repeatedly to develop a feel for what it takes. Forget, for the moment, trying to get on the runway, just fly down the runway several times easing in and out of the slip.


I'd do the same to practice your crab, easing into and out of and back into the crab, making very small, gentle corrections all the time to try to make your ground track go straight down the runway. Once you have gotten comfortable with both slips and crabs in that fashion, THEN fly the same 200-300 feet above the runway crabbing, then changing from crab to slip and back, until you are comfortable with the changes.


The above is part of the reason why real world training concentrates on airwork before any serious work is done on takeoffs and landings, usually just one of each per flight. The airwork in the practice area is of several types, including the basic four maneuvers of climb, descend, turns (both ways) and straight and level (yes, that too is a maneuver), then doing the same at various different airspeeds, changing airspeeds while doing the above maneuvers going from slow to minimum speed to fast to slow again, remembering that as your airspeed changes you need to change power settings to maintain your altitude (or your rate of climb or descent). It's even good to find out what power setting lets you maintain a given airspeed at a constant altitude, for example what is the setting to hold 60 knots, 80 knots, 100 knots, some key speeds in between? What power setting does it take to climb 500 feet per minute (fpm) at, say 65 knots? (Hint: it'll change with density altitude)


Then come s-turns across a road, turns about a point, and other ground reference maneuvers. These prepare the student for dealing with changing wind directions and speeds while flying with visual reference to the ground, which can be quite confusing until you're used to it.


One more thing: Do all this without looking at the gauges more than a quick glance once in a while, using the sound of the aircraft/engine and the pitch and bank attitudes (determined while looking out the window, not at the panel).


Obviously, being a sim, you can do as much or as little of this as you like, but the above is the key to doing it really well.


Hope this helps.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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Hi Farhan.

The only advice that actually counts, is your Instructor's. What we tell you here is only to help you understand what some of us are doing, in Real life and Sims.

Crabbing is a difficult procedure and it takes some time to master, if you are too early you will likely overdue it, if too late you put a lot of stress on the gear and maybe worse.

There are situations where you have to use both Slip and Crab but I prefer Slip. This maneuver / procedure will give you the opportunity to line up early and judge the strength and direction of the wind.

Start out early around 200-300Ft. AGL and line up with the center line, lower the upwind wing into the wind and apply opposite rudder to maintain the center line with the nose straight down the runway / longitudinal axis parallel to the center line, or ideally right above center line.

The problem most beginners / low time / out of practice pilots have is controlling the path / drift to be right over the center line with the low wing into wind. Use ailerons to accomplish that, you may have to slightly adjust the rudder slightly to give you that position, but the Rudder is the controlling factor as you get slower and closer to ground, keep the nose pointing straight don the runway. This is very difficult to do in the sim and translate it to Real World, much easier in RW

You may run out of aileron control in a real stiff wind but the rudder will will be effective, in a 172 until you get around 20KTS, or less, even after touch down.

As you touch down, main wheels first and upwind wing into the wind, / lower, you should have sufficient control to slowly release straighten the nose wheel slowly from the cross control, no hurry in the 172 because the nose wheel will be straight as it touches down must have weight on it / release the back pressure, but others you will have to more diligent about it. As you slow down turn your control / more and more into the wind until you are full into it as you turn off to exit. As you get into Ground effect you will feel the need for some changes but most of the time they are minor, and most new pilots will never be that in tune to feel them.

When you take off you release the pressure from the wind side as you increase your speed.

A lot of words but the things to remember is, control your drift from center line with ailerons and the nose direction with the rudder. The best way to practice that technique is at some altitude off airport with a ground reference that has the same heading as your runway.

In the sim not many acft that I know of will perform properly, none of the sims, but there was / is some mod to the MS C172 / Rel Air? that does a better job to be able to practice with.

Stick with it, you will get it, then forget it, then get it again... depending on how often and how much you fly.

I've flown with pilots with many thousands of hours and they could not do an Xwind landing until they practiced that maneuver, Xwind landings, specifically again and again.

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This is very difficult to do in the sim and translate it to Real World, much easier in RW

That's true for a number of reasons , including the poor "behavior*" of most sim aircraft, but the sim itself is to blame for some things, such as the aircraft on the ground mostly acting as if they are on ice, once you get above a few knots, and the very excessive aircraft response to very light winds on the ground -- even a 5 knot crosswind when taxiing gets quite a lot of sideways (turning) force, well beyond what it does in the real world. Even before touchdown, in many sim aircraft, the aileron and rudder (and sometimes elevator) don't react the same as the real thing, with some responses that real physics wouldn't allow*.


* With no wind set (just to make it more obvious) try a moderate turn in the aircraft at fairly slow speed (still enough above the stall to do the turn), then stop the turn, leveling the wings. Many sim aircraft in that case will slide sideways for a little while, rather than track straight through the air. Sometimes you need to be in spot view to recognize this behavior.


Or try a steep turn (45º or more), continue the turn for two complete circles, if you can. Many sim aircraft will descend a lot during this, with your back pressure to try to hold altitude not doing much but raising the nose, almost like doing it with rudder (but rudder won't successfully fight this), but more strangely.


These behaviors are there all the time in such aircraft, but the above scenarios make it much easier to see it. There are other problems, too, but the above are a fair part of the crosswind problem in the sim. I know this isn't inherent to the sim itself (though default aircraft tend to be that way), since a friend has modified some of these to eliminate the problem, and they do much better in crosswinds, even do proper slips and spins, though not quite perfect.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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when I try to line up right before touchdown, I feel like I veer dramatically to the right (assuming the crosswind is coming from the left), so I try to fix it by using ailerons to turn left but it just leads to me not being lined up to the runway, so use right rudder to even it out and I drift more right.


Well first off, your yoke may actually be lagging unless you set the "sensitivity" to max. (I am using quotes because this doesn't change sensitivity at all, it adds a delay.) That said, it sounds like this is more about technique.


The problem is, you will never be able to fly straight down the runway without being blown to the right unless you are also side-slipping to the left. Even with a crab technique you can't just straighten up with the rudder and expect the aircraft to go where you point it.


Best advice I can give is to practise not crabbing, from quite far out. Start off in the crab, then start to swing it straight with the rudder while at the same time dropping the opposite wing. Think of the rudder as the thing that keeps you straight, while dripping or raising the wing is your 'drift brake'. You can get quite precise and fine control like this and still be able to operate the elevators. Once you get good at this you can do it all at the last minute, which means you're crabbing most of the way, or you can fly it all the way in with one wing down and opposite rudder. Either way, if you're not landing on one wheel you're going to be going sideways.


This all depends on the aircraft flight model working properly. For example, the RealAir Scout does this manouevre beautifully, while the Aerosoft Twin Otter can barely do it at all. I would guess the A2A C172 will work fine.


You can see a demonstration in

(start at 18:01) and two clearer demonstrations with visibility of hands and feet on the controls in
(at 5:55 and then 12:50).




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If it was me I would just land on the runway heading into the wind. HA! And no one mentioned or asked HOW MUCH WIND. 45 kts? 25 knots? 15 knots? Gusts? Wind shear? Or what angle (45 degrees? 90 degrees?). All of these parameters make a huge difference you know. And a Cessna in 45 kt winds, with gusts to 60 knots, should not be in the air - it should be in the hangar - or tied down (hehe). There are 'limitations' you know. A 747 would be 'ok' in a 30 knot crosswind, but not a Cessna.

Chuck B


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