AOPA Pilot Magazine - July 2013 - 86
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The most common crosswind errors I
see among tailwheel pilots are:
• Pilots attempting wheel landings
wrongly (and usually unconsciously) relax
back pressure a moment before touchdown. Their rate of descent increases,
the main wheels touch too firmly, the tail
drops, angle of attack increases, and they
are airborne again. (The stick should be
moving aft at the moment the main wheels
• Pilots overestimate crosswinds, touch
down with too much correction, and tend
to depart on the downwind side of the
runway. (Anticipate that crosswinds may
diminish close to the surface.)
• Pilots carry excessive speed and fly
shallow, powered approaches in a mistaken belief that they must touch down in
a level attitude for successful wheel landings. (What they actually need is a rate of
descent near zero at the moment of touchdown, and a tail-low attitude is optimal.)
• Pilots intentionally touch down on the
downwind side of the runway knowing
that a loss of directional control could
cause them to weathervane into the wind,
and more distance from the upwind edge
of the runway gives them a wider margin
for error. (Straddle the centerline, correct
deviations immediately, and never surrender directional control.)
The final piece of the puzzle is recognizing that, even with perfect technique,
crosswinds may exceed aircraft limitations.
If full aileron can’t keep the upwind wing
down, or full rudder deflection can’t keep
the nose tracking the centerline, solve the
problem with your throttle hand. Your supple wrist should be spring-loaded to go to
full power at the first sign of trouble, even if
the trouble begins on rollout when all three
wheels are on the runway.
Power up and go around. Fly to another
airport that has a runway better aligned
with the wind.
And when you get there, keep flying all
the way to the chocks.
JAY SCENARIO Download this
scenario to your AOPA Jay
from Redbird (www.my-jay.com).
86 | AOPA PILOT July 2013