Cross wind landings and takeoff

somewheresunny Guest

Hello to all.

I was wanting to know about cross wind landings and takeoffs. I heard about 'crabbing' and side slipping. I believe crabbing is with the rudder into the wind, and side slipping is the wing into the wind. Is this correct? What do you use in flight sims and what do real pilots do??
many thanks

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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain
Pro Member Trainee
seadogs Trainee

Thats a good link.

If I could just add. I am a real world pilot, and during the take-off role, I turn the control column into the wind. Once out of ground effect (50ft above ground) I then use a crab technique, if the wind is strong enough.
For landing I use the side slip,(better view of runway and personal preference). I might be wrong but I think airliners use the crab method, for better passenger comfort.

Pro Member First Officer
Taylor (Flyboy92) First Officer

As a real pilot, I usually start off my approach using the crab method, once I'm on about a half mile final, I'll switch to the wing-low, or "slip" method. Where you use opposite rudder to bring the nose away from the wind, and then bank into it, this allows you to track the centerline head-on, instead of at an angle, and tends to make a landing easier, especially in a smaller aircraft.

seadogs would be correct in the fact that most airlines use the crab approach all the way to touchdown. It is easier on the passengers, as the slip method tends to feel rather funny, it is also just easier overall to crab than it is to effectively perform a wing low approach in such a large aircraft.


somewheresunny Guest

Thanks you all.


Crab in (I.e. Keep the wings level and the aircraft at an angle relative to the runway) until the flare, then gently squeeze the rudder to straighten up. If you start to move off of the centreline, lower the wing just enough to keep you on it, though it should usually be reactive. Normally you'll touch down straight and on the centreline.

Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Hello there!

You are on the right track with your understanding of crosswind landings and takeoffs, and I'm happy to help clarify these concepts.

In real-world aviation, as well as in flight simulators, there are indeed two main techniques for dealing with crosswind landings and takeoffs: crabbing and side slipping.

Crabbing (also known as the "crab angle") refers to the method of aligning the aircraft's longitudinal axis with the direction of the runway while allowing the aircraft to drift sideways due to the crosswind. This is achieved by applying rudder input into the wind. In this technique, the pilot adjusts the aircraft's heading so that it is pointed into the wind to counteract the drift caused by the crosswind. As the aircraft approaches the runway, the pilot will then "kick" the rudder to align the aircraft with the runway just before touchdown.

Side slipping, on the other hand, involves lowering the upwind wing (the wing facing the wind) while applying opposite rudder to maintain the aircraft's alignment with the runway centerline. This method results in a slightly banked approach with the aircraft's main landing gear touching down first on the upwind side, followed by the downwind side.

Both crabbing and side slipping are valid techniques, and the choice between them often depends on the pilot's preference, aircraft type, and the specific conditions encountered during a given approach or takeoff. In flight simulators, you can practice both techniques to gain a better understanding of how they work and which one you feel more comfortable with.

To answer your question about which method real pilots use, it's important to note that different pilots and aircraft types may have their preferences. In general, though, pilots tend to use the crabbing technique during approach and transition to a side slip just before touchdown to align the aircraft with the runway and avoid any side loads on the landing gear.

I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. Happy flying!

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