# How much wind is too much?

15 degrees = 0.25
30 degrees = 0.5
45 degrees = 0.7
60 degrees = 0.9
90 degrees = 1.0

Similar, but I don't break it down as far.

30 deg = half
45 deg = 75%
Anything more = all

It's not as mathematically accurate, but it works, and to me is close enough.

There is the occasional accident when a pilot taxis downwind when the wind is stronger, especially if backtracking on the runway, and turns around when still going too fast. The centrifugal force of that turn, combined with the wind on the side of the airplane, can lift the wing and drag the other wing, and the airplane can go right over onto its back as the wind gets under the tail and lifts it. The "footprint" of a trike, especially, is small between those three wheels, and it will not handle like your car, because it is not a car. Like a duck, it is clumsy on the ground and agile in the air. Driving it like a car results in grief sooner or later.
That's especially important in a floatplane, where the wind AND THE WAVES are coming from the inside of the turn, and the typical pathway is direct downwind then turning firectly into the wind.

Not only should you train in windy, gusty conditions, but with flaps down landings (in a 172). This is what my instructor encouraged me to do, and it gave me lot of confidence, and discovery of the purpose of rudder pedals, even if the first many landings are rough or go arounds. How much wind is too much?...if gusts exceed the plane's maximum demonstrated cross wind component, then it's too much.

And to be clear, it's the relative wind, not the "windsock" wind. So while you may dive away from the wind behind you when you start, as you taxi the relative wind can become zero and actually then become a relative headwind.
This is important, and I have observed CFIs who do not think about this. Our trainers have pieces of yarn attached to the wingtips to help visualize what the wind is doing while taxiing.

How much wind is too much?...if gusts exceed the plane's maximum demonstrated cross wind component, then it's too much.
It depends. For a student or relatively low time pilot, this is good advice. An experienced pilot can often handle a crosswind that is much higher than the manufacturer's demonstrated crosswind component.

If the chain tie downs are broken and the plane is wadded up into a ball and against the far fence, it may be too windy to fly..
Too soon!

The reason I ask is that my instructor is pushing me to make the call on weather-related flights. I’m not sure that I have enough experience yet to know. Yesterday we went up with 10-15 knot gusting winds, and it was pretty bumpy - not a good use of the time.
10-15 knot winds aren't alway bumpy. And, even when they are, they aren't always bumpy at all altitudes. This weather is good learning weather. Maybe it wasn't a good use of your time for maintaining altitude within 50ft of your target. Or for staying within 5 degrees of your desired course. Or not tasting your lunch a second time. But I bet it could be a good use of your time for learning how to make adjustments on the fly and learning the variables involved with working with wind...

too soon!
But look at the bright side.... you finally got the floorboards clean.!!

Before I started flying I knew I'd over think everything. Just my nature, and that of a lot of technical people probably. That's why I wanted to start with tailwheel, to make sure I learned the basics more by feel than numbers. I *still* tried to over analyze things, but I think it helped immensely.

One thing about crosswinds, now that I think of it, I think it's important to learn how to do slips to the point that they become a lot of fun, to get experience in swinging the plane around to point forward just before landing. Being able to do that without thinking about it makes coming out of a crosswind correct ("crab") second nature.

I disagree that 'max demonstrated crosswind' is a limitation or that exceeding it is necessarily unwise. It's only 20mph in a PA-28. It can be a guide that 'no degree of exceptional skill or alertness is required' for that crosswind, which could roughly be translated to 'any pilot can do this', but that's pretty subjective no matter how it's sliced.

That's what sticks in my head. So if I want to land on runway 12 and the wind 180 at 20 knots, I find the difference between the wind and the runway, in this case it's 60 degrees, then I multiply the wind times the 60 degree multiplier above, 20 * 0.9 = 18 knots.

Certainly a close enough approximation. Probably closer than it needs to be, because it raises the question, "Okay, now that you have a number, what will you do with it?" It's not like you say, well for 18 knots crosswind I'll bank 9 degrees and use 15% rudder.

I only do even a rough calculation if the wind speed is above the demonstrated xwind capability, just to see that the actual xwind is not significantly greater than the demonstrated value. Otherwise, I just fly the plane - aileron as needed to stay centered, rudder as needed to stay aligned. If I run out of control authority, I go around.

If my control inputs are "as needed" anyway, I don't really need a number other than to ensure the wind is within the capabilities of me and the plane.

And the gusts matter more than the steady-state wind anyway. I'd much rather have a 20 knot steady wind than 5 knots gusting to 15.

An experienced pilot can often handle a crosswind that is much higher than the manufacturer's demonstrated crosswind component.

Maybe. Maybe not.

AFAIK, there's no technical specification for the max demonstrated xwind. If it was the best a skilled test pilot could achieve with controls at maximum deflection, I doubt anyone will be able to handle a xwind "much higher" than that demonstrated.

Your statement may be true for some planes, but I wouldn't bank on it being always true.

I disagree that 'max demonstrated crosswind' is a limitation or that exceeding it is necessarily unwise. It's only 20mph in a PA-28. It can be a guide that 'no degree of exceptional skill or alertness is required' for that crosswind, which could roughly be translated to 'any pilot can do this', but that's pretty subjective no matter how it's sliced.

Depends on the plane. For the LSAs I trained in, max demonstrated was a pretty good limit, and when I landed in xwinds close to it I had the rudder pedal on the floor. Those planes simply weren't going to do much better than that.

I use that to this very day!
I used it this evening and got kudos from my CFI on the taxi to the runway. Thanks!

Flight today was windy, but went a LOT better. Started right under clouds ~2,500, did a slip down to 1,000 - very cool. Ground ref manuevers in the wind, no big deal.

Landing is still tough, but getting better. Need a few calm days to sort out my flare timing.....

Certainly a close enough approximation. Probably closer than it needs to be, because it raises the question, "Okay, now that you have a number, what will you do with it?" It's not like you say, well for 18 knots crosswind I'll bank 9 degrees and use 15% rudder... I just fly the plane - aileron as needed to stay centered, rudder as needed to stay aligned.
You move the controls as necessary to keep the plane on track.

For me, almost every landing approach is slipping to a greater or lesser degree, both for glide path control (no flaps) and to see over the nose (rear seat on a biplane). I generally come out of the slip just as I flare in one [hopefully] smooth motion My crosswind limitation (haven't reached it yet) is how low the upwind wing can go before it touches the ground.

Rule of thumb for crosswind component:
30 degrees crosswind - crosswind component is 50% of the wind speed
45 degrees - 75%
60 degrees - 100%

It’s good to know the crosswind component to decide which runway to use, or if it’s ridiculous, decide to divert, but in the end you fly the centerline and do what you need to do with the controls to hold a straight line.

But look at the bright side.... you finally got the floorboards clean.!!
Yeah, but the headliner!!!!

My first three flying lessons had nil wind, two flights in a 170 and one in a 172....hey landings didn't seem tough and thought I'd be greasing them in no time. Most lessons afterward (all in the 172) have been 15kt buffeting, crab-happy, sweaty handfuls during landing not to mention the ATC juggling. Then I got a nice 6kt "windy" day it felt like a flight sim on easy mode in comparison...although I still have not truly greased a landing. I thank my old CFI for the "let's go" on those windy days to build my acclimation and confidence.