How much is too much wind?

Ryan, a private pilot who apparently flies a Piper Archer III, has recently posted the following question on the Ask a Flight Instructor website:

What are your wind limits in a typical small Ga airplane? what numbers make you think twice? Lets assume the wind is right down the runway you are taking off of and landing on.

For a small airplane (Piper Archer III). It seems wind limits are relative. 14G26 (as an example) to some is madness, but to others it’s nothing to worry about.

Jason Schappert responded by pointing out that it all comes down to the crosswind component – and whether or not he has any VIPs or family on board! On the other hand, Brian responded by saying that where he flies (New Jersey), the winds are often in the teens with gusts in the 20s and hence, he believes it largely depends on what a pilot is used to flying in along with his level of experience. Finally, Kent Shook commented that he has landed in a direct crosswind gusting at over 30 knots and he still had control over the aircraft but with wind right down the runway, what changes is a pilot’s ground speed. However, he also added that:

Murphy was a pilot – and the winds are NEVER straight down the runway.

In reality, this is a question you need to answer yourself, based on your current skills and comfort level. As you alluded to in the question, each pilot has a different skill level for wind, so each pilot will be different.

Hence, we want to ask you our readers: What are your limits when it comes to wind? Moreover, what kind of aircraft do you fly and what type of winds or wind speeds do you typically experience in the locations you fly to and from? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with wind.

One Response to How much is too much wind?

  1. Frank Van Haste November 10, 2010 at 16:34 #

    I fly a C-182Q. The maximum demonstrated x-wind component in the POH is 15 knots; I've gone to 17 (on a long, 150 ft wide runway) and been OK, but it DID use all the rudder.

    If winds are strong, my first desire is to climb out of the surface effect layer as quickly as possible. Most of the time, 3,000 feet or above, things will settle down fairly well even on a windy day.

    I actually am more concerned about ground handling in high-wind conditions. Almost lost it landing at KGRI (Grand Island, NE) a few years ago in about 23G33 at 30 deg off the runway. I was so da#^3d pleased with my nice x-wind landing that I forgot to keep flying it until it's shut down and tied down – a gust on the taxiway caught me with the ailerons mis-positioned.

    Also, I will land in winds at KBDR (Rwy 4,600 x 150) that I sure won't try at KVKX (Rwy 2,200 x 40). For one thing, the long rwy lets you land with less than full flaps.



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