Glossary

Gulfstream 650 Private Jet

Crosswind

A crosswind is a wind that blows perpendicular to the centerline of runway, or an aircraft’s flight path. If a crosswind is significant enough, it can substantially affect the ability of a chartered flight to land safely on a runway.

Before granting certification, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests every aircraft in a variety of real-world situations, including its ability to land in a crosswind. These performance thresholds are available in the pilot’s operating handbook. They help the pilot determine whether they can safely land in certain conditions.

Each aircraft has its own specific crosswind component diagram. Upon learning the speed and direction of wind at an airport, the pilot can use the diagram to if landing is possible.

Correcting a Charter Flight for a Crosswind Landing

There are ways for a pilot to counteract the effects of a crosswind when landing. These involve a series of maneuvers shortly before a chartered flight touches down on the runway. They are known as:

  • De-crab
  • Crab
  • Side-slip

For example, in a de-crab, as a chartered flight approaches the runway, the pilot will steer the aircraft so that the nose slightly points into the tailwind. Just as the aircraft is about to touch down, the pilot will correct the aircraft’s heading so that it lands aligned with the runway.