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Question on Crosswinds - how much is too much?

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Hi folks.Situation: You're in a light single GA craft like the Dreemfleet Piper Archer II (which was the plane I was in). You're up high... around 10,000' in the mountains and ... well, it's dinner time so you decide to set down.The airport you choose has one runway. 18/36Wind is coming from 270 at 20 to 25 kts.I did all this and was crabbing like I've never done before. I (barely) got the plane on the ground, and had it been real life, it probably would have been thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of damage (though no damage was indicated in-sim).Basically, how much wind (esp. at a 90 degree angle to the runway) is too much? In real life, would my only REAL option have been to go to an alternate airport?Just curious.--Tony

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The short answer to your question is approximately 15 knots crosswind component (crosswind component refers to the amount of relative wind coming 90deg from the aircraft. For example, wind is 045 at 20 - runway heading is 360. Crosswind component is 10. Headwind component is 10.)The long answer :) :Each FAA certified aircraft has a 'maximum demonstrated crosswind component'. This is the most crosswind that the airplane was able to demonstrate safe crosswind control during landings. For light singles this is generally around 15 knots.However, as pilots (in command) we must make a sound, safe judgement as to "how much is too much". Factors will include recency of experience, familiarity with the aircraft, familiarity with the airport, etc. We don't want to exceed the max demonstrated crosswind component, but furthermore we do not want to exceed our personal limitations.With that said, this is how I do it in real life: On final, I will side slip into the wind (bank into the wind, keep runway heading with opposite rudder). This is a standard crosswind technique sometimes called "the wing low method". I will maintain (or attempt to maintain) runway alignment using rudder to keep the nose straight and aileron to combat the wind. If at any time I am unable to keep alignment even with full rudder, I will abort the landing attempt. The wind has demonstrated it's ability to keep my aircraft from tracking a straight course on a straight heading (required when the wheels touch on the runway to prevent gear damage) even with full control inputs. Why even try it?It is true that as you descend into ground effect, crosswind will be less than at higher altitudes. So you technically might be able to maintain that straight path during flare and touchdown even if you couldn't when on final. But if you are already beyond the limits during final, you leave yourself little room for error. Not a smart thing to do as PIC. What if a gust of wind picks up or you have to go around at last minute while you are already 'out of right rudder'??? Not a good place to be!Hope that helps a bit!

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That helped a WHOLE lot. I've gotten pretty good at crosswind landings when I managed the weather myself (set small amounts (approx 10 kts) and avoided 90-degree crosswinds. I experienced the "extreme" case I posted about today using real weather (via FSMeteo), and as I came down, I was thinking "this can't be right!!" I see I was correct.Now I know what to do next time -- save my position in the air, go eat dinner, then come back and land somewhere safer. :)Thanks again for the excellent info.--Tony

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