Man, machine and nature: Aircrafts landing in crosswinds

Last month, an Airbus A380 aircraft completed crosswind performance trials at an airport in Ireland.

A crosswind condition occurs when a wind blows across the direction of travel. A crosswind-landing condition occurs when a large vector (component) of the prevailing wind is perpendicular to the runway centerline. By construction, the aircraft drifts into the wind direction. Under such situations, pilots are faced with the challenge of maneuvering the aircraft’s speed and direction to align with the runway upon touch down. See the Wikipedia article on crosswind landings for more details.

Aircraft manufacturers perform a series of crosswind performance trials to demonstrate the capabilities of their aircrafts and publish crosswind limits. Consider the following crosswind landing videos from YouTube.


Crosswind trials of the Airbus A380-800 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHrLB_mlir4]


Crosswind trials of the Boeing 777-200 and the Boeing 747-SP [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KewDaYDG1i0]


Crosswind landing attempt of an Airbus A321-200 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0HynFr4LrA]

Amazing. The videos illustrate just how challenging flying is: a combination of skill, calculation and practice. Makes mankind, particularly us, engineers, proud of our achievements.

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