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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A330 and Crosswind Landings

  • Adverse wind conditions (Strong crosswinds, tail winds and wind shear) are involved in 33% of approach and landing accidents.
  • Crosswind in association with runway condition is a circumstantial factor in nearly 70% of runway excursion events. 
  • 85% of crosswind incidents and accidents occur at landing.  (Flight Safety Foundation, Flight safety digest Volume 17 & 18, November 1998/ February 1999.)

Airbus Recommended Technique: 
Crabbed approach--- Wings level, applying drift correction to track the runway centerline.

Flare Technique---  Apply rudder as required to align the aircraft with the runway heading. Tendency to roll should be counteracted by sidestick input.

In the event of strong crosswinds--- 15 kt to 20 kt crosswind component--- be sure to fly a crabbed approach, then a partial decrab prior to touchdown by using a combination of bank and crab angle while applying cross controls.

This means--- in very strong crosswinds you'll be touching down with a residual drift/crab angle.  Maximum of 5 degrees of crab angle and a Maximum of 5 degrees of bank angle. 

In high crosswinds, cross-controls may have to be maintained after touchdown to prevent the into-wind wing from lifting, and to counteract a weathercock effect. Remember to continue to fly the aircraft during the landing roll.

How do we flare the A330? We don't. Tomorrow... more on landing.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. I learned to fly in the summer and didn't get many crosswind landing. I didn't really master them until about 30 hours after I got my license! I had to scare myself a few times.
    I enjoy a good crosswind landing now, good fun.

    Flying with people I do notice there are a lot that don't have a very good crosswind landing technique and end up landing in a crab...and putting flat spots on our expensive tires. :-)


  2. Hey Tom, you mastered them... that's what counts! The airbus is really a challenge to land... I'll explain why tomorrow. In the bus... you might have to land in a bit of a crab. But that max is 5 degrees. Too much puts too high of a load on the gear itself.
    I'm looking forward to flying a Cessna again.

  3. "How do we flare the A330? We don't."

    I have been a passenger on some landings like that - on MD80's. I have always wondered if that mean the pilot is ex-Navy (carrier landings lack a flare). Perhaps it really means he is ex-airbus.

  4. Once again, nice one Karlene! Loving all these articles about the airbus, makes me daydream about one day flying them!

    I had one question for you.. When you land the bus crosswind, do you aim to have your cockpit over the centerline or the mains??

    I guess that if you still keep the regular method of bank+rudder then it doesn't matter, but when you accept a 5 degrees crab, how do you aim?

    I remember LOVING crosswind landings in the chieftain, as it could take a crap ton as long as the runway would allow it (ice, etc). The PC12 is a beautiful machine but the rudder is so big compared to the rest of the controls that you gotta be careful when you straighten it up in the flare, otherwise you end up overcorrecting pretty fast.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, can't wait to read more!

  5. D.B. That's really funny! I suspect the first...but now you have two options. The thing is, the nose has a down pitch attitude sitting on the ground. So, if you just level her... that's all she needs. Thanks for the comment. And the smile!
    PS... I flew with a training captain on the 727 at Evergreen who said that Boeings were meant to be put down at the end of the runway firmly. Now we have three options, a student of that guy, Navy, or ex-airbus. :)

  6. I personally think that Airbus recommends the "kick it out" method because it's supposed to be easier to learn. I have a lot of success myself, however, with the good ole' one-wing-low method.
    Just remember it takes more rudder and less bank than you would think.
    For, me there's nothing like a wet runway and a crosswind to be able to grease it on.

  7. Thanks for the input flybywire! So, when you slip her in... how is the transition to the ground getting the correct amount of aileron back in? But then, if it doesn't take that much bank, then maybe it's not a big deal adding what is needed. Okay...we need to go fly! Pick up a Seattle trip on a green slip. :)

  8. Karlene, you are looking forward to fly Cessna again? Ever tried to fly a Diamond Aircraft DA40?
    Try that one ... :-)

  9. I have never tried a Diamond...but she sounds nice. The next challenge. :) Thanks!

  10. do you prefer the crab method more or the wing low-method?how would you handle a crosswind that is coming from the left and your left engine has failed?

  11. I definitely prefer to crab. Wind from the left and a left engine failure doesn't matter, just do what it takes and all works out.

  12. if you had that type of failure and that type of crosswind, would you use the crab or wing-low method?

  13. Jet Airliner...Always crab. It's the best way in my opinion and recommended by Airbus.


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!