Personal x-wind minimums, & how often do you divert?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by justin jiron, Mar 21, 2022.

  1. justin jiron

    justin jiron Filing Flight Plan

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    So, I'm sitting about 120 hours right now (in 172's only), just waiting for my Instrument checkride.. But I dont feel that my personal x-wind minimums are high enough? Anything around 8-10 kts x-wind, makes me extremely nervous, so my personal mins are 8 kts max x-wind..

    Even if the wind is almost directly down the runway, I wont fly if its 15 kts, because even a 20 degree change in wind direction during my flight puts me out of my comfort zone..

    And even when I do get a landing in close to my max minimums, its only 1 or 2, so I dont feel the skills/comfort progressing much.. Needless to say, this impacts the number of days I get to fly, especially in spring.. Am I just being a wuss?

    Also, how often have you had to divert (in a light ASEL) because of winds?
     
  2. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I think that if you aren’t comfortable flying an airplane at least to it’s demonstrated crosswind component you should get a CFI and go fly around until you are.
     
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  3. dmspilot

    dmspilot Final Approach

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    Did your CFI not take you up in strong winds when you were a student?
     
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  4. idahoflier

    idahoflier Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you can, pick a windy day when the wind is blowing down the runway at your home base and fly to another airport where you can land with a x-wind. Don't hesitate to go around if you're uncomfortable! Or fly with a CFI. Experience is the only way to solve this.

    I have never had to divert to another airport, but I have had to go around when I ran out of rudder for the x-wind. No big deal...
     
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  5. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    I've diverted once in 30 years of flying. And not because I'm a good pilot.

    I live in northern California and winds are an infrequent problem in the areas I fly.

    This time last year I made a trip to the east coast and back. That's when I learned that 30 years of flying in California did not prepare me for flying with real wind in the rest of the country.
     
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  6. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    I don't have a minimum crosswind speed, but a maximum might be a good idea...

    It's not just about the wind speed but the gust factor.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I found my limits by trying it. I figured I can always go around, so try it and if I can’t do it, then I’ll divert. Honestly, since I started doing that, I’ve found I don’t need to divert. But every landing is an aborted go around. I’ll divert in an instant if I feel the need, and I’ll go around any time it doesn’t feel good.

    As long as there is enough rudder, the plane can do it, it’s only a matter of pushing harder on the pedal. If you aren’t to the stops yet, the limit is only in your head.

    I’ve had to go around due to excessive crosswinds a couple times in the last 800 hours, but was always able to land the next try without diverting. It was usually a gust or shear that made me abort the attempt and next time went fine.

    That said, most of my training seemed to be a 15 knot crosswind. My first solo was 10 knots 90 degrees off. My instructor really didn’t want to sign me off, but after I landed on the center line 5 times in a row without him helping he gave in and sent me off on my own.
     
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  8. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Line Up and Wait

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    My x-wind solo limitation was 7kts when I first started soloing. After my first solo x-country, I was very mentally tired by the time I got back, and accidentally landed with a 9G15 x-wind instead of landing on the grass runway into the wind. Didn't even notice the extra x-wind that much, but I flew with CFI when crosswinds were up to 15-20kts in the mid-late part of training. I would highly recommend picking a windy day and finding a CFI to get you comfortable with the airplane in higher winds.
     
  9. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The ability may be there, but the confidence takes a while.

    Sometimes you are going somewhere and conditions don't cooperate. You have limited choices, so you have to expand your limits. I don't have a crosswind limit per se, I get low over the runway and determine if I have enough rudder to keep it straight. If not, I look outside the box, like landing on a nearby road, or taxiway, or maybe even the ramp (non-towered field obviously). If I can keep it straight, then I know there is enough rudder to make it happen.
    I was going to a wedding last August, in Wyoming, I left pretty early in the morning to hopefully avoid the winds. My plan did not work, when I got to KSAA the winds were 13 to 27 straight across the runway, certainly higher crosswind than I had ever done, especially in a tailwheel. I lined up on the runway to go diagonal across it to decrease some of the crosswind component. I stated out loud that I would give it one shot and if I didn't think it would work I would go land on a dirt road, with a wind directly out of the south a dirt road would be straight into the wind. I got down close to the runway, at minimum speed, stall horn going off, ground speed was so slow as I set it down. Do I want to go out and to that again, no. But, its experiences like that where you really learn.
     
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  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maximum crosswind for me depends on the runway/landing strip surface. Packed snow and ice makes it easier to land in strong cross winds.

    Lots and lots and lots of landing experience.

    At your experience level it is good to set a personal maximum wind and a maximum cross wind. Go up with an instructor, preferably one with lots of experience and not a newbie CFI, in light winds and work on that confidence level.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
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  11. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Line Up and Wait

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    After being forced to make an emergency landing in a crosswind that was blowing so hard the runway kept disappearing in blowing dust, I don't worry much about crosswinds anymore. Builds a lot of confidence!

    So, all you gotta do is go out and have yourself a little emergency, and... problem solved!
     
  12. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    When I was a student in C152s, I set my minimum for xwind in such a way as I would search for them.

    I love 1-wheel touch and goes!

    Now as far as maximums go. It depends on your comfort level, proficiency and aircraft.
     
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  13. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Going back to answering your original question, it seems that you’ve had deficient instruction, not sure what else to say on that. You’re also not pushing yourself to improve, so I think we have a predicted performance result being achieved
     
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  14. Dana

    Dana En-Route

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    When I had my T-Craft 35 years ago I would fly in some pretty stiff crosswinds, wheel landing on the upwind wheel. I'm still inching the limits up on my Hatz, but with the low lower wing of a biplane it limits how far I can be banked at touchdown.
     
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  15. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Don’t feel bad. Between your PPL & IR, sounds like you haven’t flown a lot just for transportation. It’ll get better with experience.

    I never diverted, I just didn’t go up when forecast looked possibly beyond my comfort or abilities.

    As others have suggested, on a windy day take a CFI and go practice. Do 3 flights with nothing but xwind. Even if your home drome is straight down the runway, go find a nearby with total xwind.

    To make you feel better, I just went up and did my instrument currency and after being under hood, I landed and forgot my crosswind correction until last minute (I was brain mush). You’ll abuse the tires and landing gear, but not ball it up (tricycle gear?)...usually. You can always go around. But grab a CFI and go play. Nothing but xwind work.
     
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  16. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    My personal crosswind limits change substantially based on my currency. If I've flown 3 hours in the last month, I might be comfortable with 8-10 knots direct. If I've flown 12 hours in the last week, 15 knots is comfortable.
     
  17. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    In Western Alaska when the crosswind exceeded the stall speed of our C-185s, we just landed on the width of the runway, or sometimes a diagonal.
     
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  18. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    Go practice on a nasty X-wind day with a quality instructor. You’ll be an ace in no time.
     
  19. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Pattern Altitude

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    My 2 cents... concentrate on finishing up your instrument rating first. Because learning 2 things at the same time isn't as productive. Then work on the crosswind.

    Just me, if you're not comfortable at all with crosswind, then find an instructor that loves them, and go up on some windy days and improve your skills. Trying new things down low by yourself that you're not comfortable with doesn't sound like a good plan to me. I'm not a cfi, but there are skills to learn for both take off and landing to deal with crosswind, particularly with gusts, that you should learn.

    I actually like a little bit of wind, and land better with a bit of wind. Not exactly sure why, but maybe because I learned when it was mostly windy. If it's calm I over think things. Windy, I just fly the f*&n plane. Anyway, as the folks above say, it's just experience. After a while, a little bit of crosswind and gust is fun.
     
  20. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Gotta up those numbers. You can get a CTI to go work with. But in reality if you have a good CFII he is gonna have you doing approaches with a good x- wind. So you will get the experience, but you should want to up your limits. Otherwise you will be diverting a lot and being stranded at other airports.
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I landed on the road to the landing strip at a number of villages, or just slid a little sideways on the gravel.
     
  22. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Keep flying, you are fine. When stuff like this comes up I find an instructor, and tell him I want to push my limits. Most instructors love doing that stuff. That's what I would do. You'll surprise yourself. Don't forget to keep the aileron in on rollout and take off.
     
  23. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I was a new pilot, I feared crosswinds...I became a pilot in my cocky early 20s, and I did NOT like admitting something scared me, so I looked for crosswinds all the time, flying them often (although at first afraid), until I wasn't afraid. BTW, flying them first on grass strips made them easier (no center line, and if you flubbed the landing, it wasn't as noticeable). Now, I'm very confident with crosswinds, and I have been for years...friends have actually commented, "You hit the centerline every time!"
     
  24. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Your checkride day is here and it’s windy but otherwise perfect. What do you tell the DPE?

    That answer should tell you whether you’re ready for the checkride or not. No harm/foul taking time to focus on landings because you probably haven’t done many lately.
     
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  25. Chrisgoesflying

    Chrisgoesflying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nearly 260 hours into my flying journey, I have yet to divert or go around due to x-wind. Diverted and did go-arounds plenty of times for other reasons, but not for x-wind yet. My max crosswind component is 15kts. Having said that, when I was flying in a Cessna (both 172 and 150), my limit was MUCH lower. Hell, I had the jitters every time the wind wasn't straight down the runway. I now own a Cherokee and it's much more stable in x-wind compared to the Cessnas I've flown in the past.

    By the way, easiest plane I've ever landed in x-wind was my old Ercoupe. You can land those in a crab and it'll straighten itself out after touchdown lol. You just lose a lot of flying skills if you fly them for too long.
     
  26. chemgeek

    chemgeek En-Route

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    I'm based at burbly crosswind central. If I didn't fly when the wind was more than 15 kt or when the crosswind component was more then 10 kt, then I'd hardly ever fly. My primary instructor did crosswind practice with me on every crappy windy day until it became a non-event. I haven't diverted due to winds in 37 years of flying, but there have been a couple of challenging and bumpy approaches. I suppose I would divert if the approach felt uncomfortable or unsafe, but I haven't encountered that yet in otherwise flyable weather. Orographic turbulence is far more challenging than the crosswind itself. Practice with a good instructor to build skill and confidence.
     
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  27. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Straight crosswind I don't mind. Gusty crosswinds not a fan. At my home airport 28/10 when the wind is from the South and it often is you get a lot of rotor from the trees that is far more unnerving than the crosswind itself.
     
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  28. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Some parts of this country don’t see strong winds very often.
     
  29. Hector Parra

    Hector Parra Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I live in Montréal, and it can get really windy sometimes. That was a great concern to me, so I wanted to test it before starting my PPL. The day of my discovery flight, wind was around 10-12knots with gusts of 18-20. Not really high, but enough to make that C152 shake. The guy handled me the controls and I was able to keep it leveled even when the gusts and the constant up/down and side movements. So, as others have mentioned, get some time with a CFI and work it out. That guy took of and landed as if it was not a big deal. So I guess confidence builds with time and experience. X winds limits are one of those few limits that you can change with time.
     
  30. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    I think it's fine for a 120-hour pilot to avoid flying on days with much crosswind.

    Everybody needs to choose their own personal minimums, and if yours is an 8-knot crosswind component, that's just fine.
     
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  31. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Line Up and Wait

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    Most windy days (here, anyway) get windier in the afternoon and then calm down. In the crosswinds-are-a-handful Skywagon, I sometimes go out with full fuel just as the winds are starting to pick up. Say it’s 40-50 degrees off at 8-12, predicted to go up to 15-20. That’s a common forecast here. I go out when it’s 8-12 and do takeoffs and landings, ignoring AWOS until it seems to get difficult. Then I listen to the weather and learn what winds I’ve landed in, what the windsock looks like in that wind, and how the airplane feels.

    I’ve learned that taxiing is sometimes the most difficult part. In that 172, don’t forget yoke position while taxiing (ailerons AND elevators),and don’t ride those brakes!
     
  32. Pi1otguy

    Pi1otguy Pattern Altitude

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    Your personal minimums are just that, personal.

    Over time they will increase whether that's by training or experience. 8 knot cross winds yields a lot of flyable days around these parts.
     
  33. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just another Friday during spring in the high desert... easier though since the runway is 6-24.


    METAR text:
    KGUP 222138Z AUTO 24039G53KT 2SM HZ FEW018 SCT080 17/M04 A2976 RMK AO2 PK WND 24058/2104 T01671039
    Conditions at:
    KGUP (GALLUP , NM, US) observed 2138 UTC 22 April 2022
    Temperature: 16.7°C (62°F)
    Dewpoint: -3.9°C (25°F) [RH = 24%]
    Pressure (altimeter): 29.76 inches Hg (1007.9 mb)
    Winds: from the WSW (240 degrees) at 45 MPH (39 knots; 20.1 m/s)
    gusting to 61 MPH (53 knots; 27.3 m/s)
    Visibility: 2.00 miles (3.22 km)
    Ceiling: at least 12,000 feet AGL
    Clouds: few clouds at 1800 feet AGL
    scattered clouds at 8000 feet AGL
    Weather: HZ (haze)

    And yes, I would fly in this wind.
     
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  34. Nick Pilotte

    Nick Pilotte Pre-Flight

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    I was struggling with crosswinds until my CFI agreed to go out with me on a day where they were right at the aircraft limits. We went out and it was terrifying to me. I did 6 landings and that was enough. But I got comfortable and my minimums increased as a result. I’m comfortable now right up to the max demonstrated in the plane but I always have an out (a diversion airport) that I can use if I needed to. My typical trip has two airports equidistant (15 miles) from my destination and one will always work. In fact, one of my jet friends diverted to my home airport a couple weeks ago because their crosswind runway was right close to the minimum published length for the increased speeds he needed for gust factor and after two attempts he came to my field and landed on a runway that had a 5 degree crosswind and an extra 2k’ of runway that he could use with the gust factor.
     
  35. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I would for work. Not for fun.
     
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  36. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I’ve diverted before due to strong crosswind and gusts. Forecasts change and sometimes winds and especially gusts get stronger Thankfully those occasions I was solo and the change in airport only impacted me.
     
  37. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    I can only think of two diversions right now. One was for the runway being closed due to a plane having the nose gear collapse on landing. The other was for strong thunderstorms across Florida from the Gulf to the Atlantic. Several business jets were there at JAX with me, doing the same, waiting for it to clear. My daughter and I grabbed a hotel and continued on in great weather the next morning.



    Wayne
     
  38. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    I recall landing in San Felipe, Mexico, where the runway is famous for being built just about 90-on-the-dot to prevailing winds.

    32kt 90-deg x-wind in a rented PA-32.

    Really nowhere to divert to if I wanted. I am glad I paid attention to my x-wind skills early in life. @justin jiron you need to build yours. And this only comes by doing. Time to get experience to raise your personal maximums.
     
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  39. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    No blowing dust in my story, but I have only diverted once because of wind. Sudden and insane headwinds forced me to make a fuel stop in crosswinds of about 20G30, in the Champ. I had to stay in the plane, on the controls, while parked at the fuel pump for a while to wait for the winds to go down enough to safely get out of the plane.

    The advice above about going flying with a CFI to seek out and conquer crosswinds is good. Having good crosswind technique will come in handy, even when you're just taxiing out to the runway. And with airplanes being such a great way to travel, you aren't going to want to limit yourself to traveling between places that have no wind.
     
  40. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    On my trip to the Phoenix area in a 172 last month, the wind at Glendale AZ (GEU) was forecast to be strong, gusting to well over max-demonstrated, and about 90 degrees from runway heading. I told my relatives to wait until I called before leaving for the airport, in case I had to divert to Deer Valley (DVT), which was aligned with the wind. Turned out to only be gusting to 16 knots by the time I got there, however, and I was able to hold the center line.