I have 2500+ taildragger hours and in the RV8 feel very comfortable (watchfull but routine) with up to 15 direct crosswind. I will fly 15-20 gusting up to 25 routinely, but feel it should be handled with experience.
Learned to fly in a Cessna 140. My instructor, from Oklahoma, would train in high wind conditions and say "if you can't fly in this you can't fly in Oklahoma". So, crosswinds were a common training condition. Have landed with crosswinds in the 40's in the 8 and 180. Landing in these conditions can become necessary on long crosscountry trips, especially in the past (or New Mexico) with fewer in cockpit weather resources.
So, there are many tricks to crosswinds. Heavy winds requiring one to open the bag of tricks.
1. Forget the centerline. Everytime I here someone mention maintaining centerline during heavy crosswinds I know they have no real heavy crosswind experience. You cut the crosswind component by landing at an angle to the centerline. The heavier the wind the more angle can be cut. Touchdown at the corner of the runway and watchout for lights and signs. In any small GA plane there will be suprisingly little rollout. Do not add any airspeed on final, only add 1/2 the gust factor.
2. I prefer to crab into the roundout and dip the wing. Momentum will keep you tracking staight, but things must be timed to limit the time just above the runway to 1 or 2 seconds. Any longer will make it tougher to keep a drift from developing.
3. When learning to fly in crosswinds a forward slip all the way down final is a good way to judge rudder authority (or lack of), but as one gets more experienced the crab angle will do the same thing. With experience the angle will give a good indication of what is happpening. Usually it gets better the lower you get. You can kick into a slip once in a while, from a crab, to help judge the rudder travel needed. If using a long forward slip always be conscious of the fuel tank selected, having it on the high wing.
4. In the air the crosswind will drift you downwind. On the ground the crosswind will weathervane you into the wind. Both must be considered.
5. When taking off in a crosswind, all things being equal, always take the right cross wind. The right crosswind will take less right rudder, you may not have enough with a heavy left cross. This is especially true in the large tailed RV's and the 180. Start the roll lined up between the downwind side of the runway and the centerline, pointed down the runway. This will give more room for any possible weathervaning.
6. Taxing in heavy winds can be a real challenge. I have had to do a 270 degree turn to get off the runway. Always use correct control positions. Set the DG to the wind direction and visualize where the controls should be, this includes the elevator. Sometimes the elevator should be neutralized or even stick forward with a heavy wind from the rear.
7. Land on the downwind side of the runway. After touchdown the wind can weathervane the plane into the wind and there will be more room to let it go some. After touchdown drift will not be the problem.
8. Instead of slip or crab one can fly final at an angle into the wind. Timed correctly you go from the angle, into the roundout, to no drift, then touchdown. Takes good timng. Learned that from a high time cropduster pilot. Fun, but not for most.
9. Land on a taxiway if you have to. I never have landed on one, but should have taken off on one once.
10.Sneak up on heavier winds and build ones experience. They are nothing to be scared of, but require respect and experience. Get an experienced insructor.
11. The outcome should never be in question.
Rv8, Cessna 180, PIper PA12, N35 Bonanza (all at the same time)
Last edited by 444TX : 03-21-2018 at 04:22 PM.