What's YOUR Best Headwind Story ...

Brad W

Pattern Altitude
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building on the tailwind thread....
Mainly because I can't remember a good tailwind story. I can't say that it has ever happened to me.​

The best headwind story I can recall, I've told before here on the forum.... it was landing into the wind at KFFA, runway 21, Cessna 152...stopped before the jug handle. Measuring on google maps it looks to be about 200 to 250 ft....about the distance of their longest flight that day.
Weather underground history that day shows the winds roughly 20mph gusting around 30mph
 
building on the tailwind thread....
Mainly because I can't remember a good tailwind story. I can't say that it has ever happened to me.​

The best headwind story I can recall, I've told before here on the forum.... it was landing into the wind at KFFA, runway 21, Cessna 152...stopped before the jug handle. Measuring on google maps it looks to be about 200 to 250 ft....about the distance of their longest flight that day.
Weather underground history that day shows the winds roughly 20mph gusting around 30mph
I have flown backwards over the ground two times. Once in a T-37 over Arizona at about 20,000 feet, and again over Topeka in a C-130 at a relatively low altitude at night. It was really weird to see the lights of the city moving away from us out in front of the airplane.
 
now that's cool to do in those aircraft!!
I tried to fly backward a time or two in an Aeronca champ. That wouldn't be nearly the same achievement as a jet or a c-130! The best I remember getting in the Champ was approx a dead stop...never did get backward as I recall.
 
I was flying a friend to Grand Island, NE years ago in a 172. When we left Iowa we had 100 kt GS. When we crossed the river we were down to 80 kts. The closer we got to our destination the slower our groundspeed went, down all the way to 50 kts. I was beginning to wonder if we would have to divert for fuel if we went any slower.

On the flip side on the way home we were doing 170 kts! We got home so fast that I didn't start my descent early enough and had to circle town to lose altitude.
 
One winter I wanted to fly a 172RG from Seattle to Portland VFR over the top in order to avoid the possibility of ice, so I climbed up to 11,500. Then I saw that the DME showed me doing only five knots ground speed, so I went down to about half that altitude and requested an IFR clearance. I didn't get any ice.
 
Kotzebue, AK.

Wind was 60 knots sustained right down the runway. Landing rollout in a 207 was measured in inches.

For take off I would hold the brakes, set power 25/25 and be in the air in less than the plane is long.

Taxying was an adventure on packed snow and ice, I tell ya whut...
 
Ferrying a Warrior from MD to ND in the winter. The tractor trailer rigs on the interstate were passing me.
 
Two months ( and three solo flights comprising five hours ) after I passed my private check ride, I got checked out at a flight school to fly a 172S at KMKC (Metro Kansas City). I decided the next day to fly to KBUM (Butler KC Memorial ), 50 miles south, to do some touch and goes and then return to KMKC.

I don't think I got as far as 20 miles south of KMKC when I realized that I wasn't making any headway. I don't know how long I sat there practically hovering in air, or how long before I realized it, or how long it took me to decide I wasn't making it to KBUM that night. But I eventually figured it out.

So I turned around and returned to KMKC. 40 miles round trip, .9 hours on the hobbs.
 
I've taken off, climbed into a headwind that had me going backwards at 200', then descended and landed at my takeoff point, without ever turning. Yes, that was an ultralight. I've also flown my T-Craft backwards at altitude, and landed it with less than a plane length of roll.
 
I remember flying in Oklahoma and the winds were steady 20 knots down the runway. I aimed for the touchdown marker and stopped a bit afterwards. I guessed it was 200 feet in a 172.
 
Taxying was an adventure on packed snow and ice, I tell ya whut...
I am trying to imagine this and I’m thinking: can you side slip(literally) into the headwind on the ice/snow taxiways to the runway to line up for takeoff? Otherwise sliding off any perpendicular taxiway would, in my mind, be the likely outcome if your nose is pointed anywhere other than close to in-line the headwind.
 
Friend was ferrying a Fiesler down to Harlingen for storage. Fort Worth to Harlingen took him 14 hours and 4 fuel stops.
 
I can’t decide between going backwards in a C152 and the it-took-forever landing a 182 in Cody Wyoming.
 
I only have bad headwind stories.

This one was recent, and memorable:

IMG_20240108_144247678_HDR.jpg
 
I am trying to imagine this and I’m thinking: can you side slip(literally) into the headwind on the ice/snow taxiways to the runway to line up for takeoff? Otherwise sliding off any perpendicular taxiway would, in my mind, be the likely outcome if your nose is pointed anywhere other than close to in-line the headwind.
Pretty much on the packed snow and ice the nose was pointed into the wind no matter which way I was going. However taxying with a tail wind was pretty much an exercise in futility. About the time I thought I had it figured out the wind would come up with something different. Otherwise in any other direction, control was done with rudder and throttle. And a lot of mental calculations during the slide to plan the turns.

I have landed on ice covered runways with a severe crosswind. The 207 would immediately weather vane into the wind and slide. It took throttle and rudder to stay on the landing surface. The Navajo could stay straight using differential power between the engines and rudder.

At the time it felt perfectly normal to slide around. I probably would not do that now.

And for those of you that think I was nuts...... you're probably right.!!
 
Flying from Rapid City to Omaha in a Cherokee. Somewhere over the middle of nowhere between the two points, cruising at 5,500 ft. my ground speed started decaying to a point where I wouldn't be able to reach the destination without an extra fuel stop. Climbed to 7,500 ft. and it was slightly better. Climbed to 9,500 and it was much better, arriving just fine without a fuel stop and plenty of reserve. I don't think the wind was any weaker up high, I think it just shifted direction enough for it not to be a direct headwind.
 
I have a few.

1) I was insturction my FIL (former B-24 and B-29 pilot). Not towards a rating, but just for fun. Due to work he only had Sundays. So this one Sunday it blowing HARD, but right down the runway. He asked why no one was flying and why couldn't we fly. So we did. Just some pattern work. We could land and stop a C-150 before the VAPI panels (before PAPI). Which were maybe 200 feet from the end of the runway.

1707237300062.png

2) My Dad was a Navy pilot. On trip he was shooting a 4-course radio range approach in an SNB (Beech 18). For these approaches, you fly over the station into the cone of silence, null zone, then when you get the signal again, you drop gear and flaps. He did so, then got the null zone. Cleaned up the plane, got the signal, dropped gear and flaps, and again the null. He figured out, that the wind was blowing enough that when he dropped the gear and flaps, he went backwards, until he cleaned up the airplane and got some forward motion. So he flew a "fast" approach.

3) A friend of my Dad's was flying an L-19 Birddog back to LA basin. He had to go through Banning Pass. Flew there, and got to low fuel before he cleared the pass, so turned around and fueled at Banning airport. Tried again, and again, and again. He refueled 5 times trying to get through the pass. Why? He had a hot date that evening in LA. :D
 
I posted a video of vehicles on the Mass Pike roaring past me while flying the Cub.
I've landed the Cub and been blown backwards on the runway. A non-destructive ground loop rolling backwards. Exciting.
Last August I took off from POU to make a 97 sm trip to NY0. 1.2 hours. At 1.2 hrs I was still 52+ miles from my destination.
I turned around and flew back showing 128 mph ground speed at 85 mph airspeed. Wheeee!
 
I've hovered a 172 a couple of times. I've also had a GS of less than 40 knots on a local flight (and said thank goodness I wasn't headed out somewhere at that speed)
 
Flying back from BHB to Central NY in September, I was getting beat up pretty bad by orographic turbulence at 6500, so I reluctantly climbed to 10,500 to get a smoother ride. The headwinds there were fierce. Flying over the Mass Pike and NY State Thruway I was being handily passed by tractor trailers despite making 120 kt TAS. At one point I thought I was going to have to make an intermediate fuel stop in Albany, but I turned out to have just enough fuel plus reserves to make the very long and very boring flight home nonstop. Boring and slow high trumps faster and beat-up-silly low every time.
 
The first time I gave my wife a ride in a Cub there was a 40 knot wind at 1000 AGL. It freaked her out a bit when I flew several miles back to the airport in reverse.
 
1992ish, Durant, OK - in a school 152, we managed -4 knots of ground speed. I held the Slow Cup for a year until someone hit -8 the year later.
 
I waited out some weather at Fort Dodge, IA when I was ferrying the Champ home for my dad. When the storm finally passed, I got in the plane and took off. I climbed to my cruising altitude and then checked the GPS ETE to my next fuel stop, the sunset time there, and so on. I decided that I wasn’t going to make it there by sunset and I wasn’t comfortable making my second-ever landing in the new plane at night, so I turned back to Fort Dodge to land for the night.

When I turned back, I hadn’t yet crossed the airport fence.
 
At that altitude, I doubt it was orographic turbulence.
Lots of mountains in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Northeastern New York causing burbles with strong west or northwest winds in spring and fall.
 
I have flown backwards over the ground two times. Once in a T-37 over Arizona at about 20,000 feet, and again over Topeka in a C-130 at a relatively low altitude at night. It was really weird to see the lights of the city moving away from us out in front of the airplane.
My first instructor showed me that she could fly the plane backwards into a stiff headwind.
I have done it a couple times since including one time over a football stadium while the game was playing. I didn't have to circle to watch the game. My flying buddy was down there watching me.

That same buddy had a pa28-140 and he was trying to fly to Kansas city one day into a stiff headwind with a 70 knot GS. He said the traffic on the ground was faster than he was. A week or 2 later he sold it and bought a pa28r-200 from one of his co workers at the airline job he has. The dickwad was flying it home from Duluth Mn after a 2 month wait because of the winters they have up there. I was watching him on flight aware and he was showing a 200 mph GS! I was so jealous as my 160 hp 172 was a couple kts faster than his cheerokee 140 with the 160hp STC.
Ever since he has been trying to get me into a 182 so we could go places together in both our planes again. So far I have resisted because I don't travel far in mine and like the low operating cost. Time will tell.
When I fly for fun going no where I try to fly into the wind first and have a tail wind coming home. Then it feels like I am flying a 182!! LOL
 
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