Crosswind Landing and Pilot Skills at Birmingham Airport


An ideal landing condition is one in which the runway is constructed in alignment with the general direction in which the wind blows. In most cases, however, the wind may not be in perfect alignment with the runway, but instead blows in a direction perpendicular to the runway. Landing in such a condition is best known as crosswind landing.

The challenge becomes even more pronounced when the pilot has to land an aircraft against strong crosswinds in an airport. Such cases are frequently witnessed at Birmingham Airport.Landing an aircraft when faced with strong crosswinds requires a pilot to have good skills of flying. At Birmingham Airport, pilots often battle strong crosswinds as they attempt to land. Pilots are often seen to abort landing just before touch-down. Some planes touch down on the tarmac and abruptly get back into the air.

Some aircraft appear to be leaning on one side as they land. Some skilled pilots however, sway violently, moving side by side, battling strong crosswinds until they finally land safely. The following are some of the skills a pilot uses during landing against strong crosswinds at Birmingham Airport.


Side slip

The side slip technique involves the pilot banking into the wind, then applying the rudder to make the plane fly sideways in the wind, while at the same time trying to align it to the center of the runway. Banking into the wind results into a stabilized motion of the aircraft. The technique requires a pilot to have excellent flying skills and is, therefore, suitable during light crosswinds in an airport.


Partial banking and partial crab

Crab occurs when there is a small angle of inclination. During crab landing, the entire weight of the crosswinds is absorbed by the aircraft’s landing gears. The combination of partial banking and partial crab in landing is easier to perform in both light and strong crosswinds while landing at an airport.


Kicking out

The kicking out technique performed by a pilot involves maintaining the wings at a reasonable level then aligning the body of the aircraft to the center line of the runway shortly before touching down. The method reduces the effect of the side loading forces on the landing gear, although it leads to less stability. The method highly depends on the position of the aircraft and the flying skills of a pilot.

Birmingham Airport has been prone to crosswinds of late. This poses a great challenge to pilots when landing in the dark in thick fog as well. Aviation experts recommended that if the personal limits and the aircraft’s limits are stretched by strong crosswinds, diverting to another airport would be safer.


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