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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

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, October 4, 2011

A330 Landings... Safety first!

I'm in New York and getting ready to depart on another journey tonight ~ Athens.

Sunday night I took the red-eye to JFK, but not before TSA put another passport in my hat, with mine, and I picked everything up and stuffed in my pocket then rushed to the plane.

When I landed at JFK, I realized I had two passports. The gate agent was great... We searched the computer for every flight with our company that departed after 9 p.m., just to see if she was on any. No luck. No luck with TSA in NY, either, or with the passport office. I am still trying to get it back to her.


Since fall weather is blowing in...

Photo by Ginger Pixie

Back by popular demand...

I've had so many people ask me about landing the airbus with a crosswind, I thought this post should be revisited. Statistics speak volumes, as does the Airbus' recommended technique.


  • 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.

One thing you need to remember is when you take out the crab prior to touchdown, you do not want to hold the aileron into the wind as you would on a non-Airbus plane. If you need any aileron, just "tap" it in the direction needed and then return the sidestick to neutral. Use what you need, but don't hold it in or you'll get far more than necessary.

How do we flare the A330? We really don't. This Thursday ... more on landing. Any tips, we'd love to hear them.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. Oh, dear, that poor woman without her passport--she'll be contacting the airline as soon as she misses it, you can only hope.

    Crosswinds, yikes. I've been in a couple of scary landings involving those. Got bounced pretty hard one time, but we made it w/o any damage.

  2. excellent description, clear and accurate ..I can see before my eyes ...great..

  3. What an interesting system, very counter-intuitive, but I'm sure you get used to it quickly. Very interested to hear about flaring!

  4. Very interesting system! It seems counter-intuitive, but I'm sure you get used to it quickly. I'm really curious to hear about flaring!

  5. Totally out of my experience. As I recall the little high-wing Cessnas I used to fly, we had to hold ailerons into the wind all the way down the runway to avoid being tipped over if the wind was high enough - and in Oklahoma City, where I learned to fly, it could get plenty high.

  6. Wow, from NY to Athens, you are one busy lady! My internal clock would be so confused, I don't know how you do it! Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Even though I only understand half of your technical posts, I feel like a kid again just enjoying the photos. ;)

  7. Departed behind the roar of DAL238 headed to EHAM from KATL and had to wonder if you were by chance up front as we waited 3 minutes for our turn.

  8. Thanks for the comment Linda. I'm glad you survived that landing. I'm still hoping that she contacts me. Nothing yet.

  9. Thank you Fabian! I really appreciate the nice comment.

  10. Daniel, I've yet to meet anyone who is use to it yet. ;) But we can always have something to strive toward.

  11. David, I remember those high wing windy days. Those were the good old days. Some days I wondered how I'd ever get her down to the runway, the winds were so strong.

  12. I'm glad you like the pictures. They're my favorite too. Maybe I'll wander the city and get some tomorrow.

  13. David T., Nope... wasn't me. But I will be in Atlanta in on the 9th. Maybe I can hold you up for three minutes then. :) When will you be back?


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