by Jonathan M. Stern
Crosswind takeoffs and landings on Flight Simulator can be realistically performed only with add-on rudder pedals. Crosswind takeoffs and landings should not be made with auto-coordination selected. Although it is possible to manipulate the ailerons and rudder separately using the keyboard, it is extremely difficult to do so.
The difficulty of the crosswind takeoff and landing comes from the fact that the transition from taxiing to flying and from flying to taxiing is more complicated with a crosswind.
Consider the fact that an airplane flying in a coordinated manner over a runway in a crosswind has its wheels at an angle to the runway centerline. If the wheels touched down on the runway while not aligned with the runway centerline, control of the airplane could be lost. When an airplane is taking off in a crosswind, the wheels must be aligned with the runway centerline during the takeoff roll. As soon as the airplane breaks ground, however, the crosswind will try to turn the airplane into the wind (like a weather vane). It was the friction of the tires on the runway that resisted this weather vaning while the weight of the airplane was on its wheels.
Follow these steps for the crosswind takeoff:
- At the beginning of the crosswind takeoff roll, you must move the control yoke in the direction from which the wind is blowing. Otherwise, the crosswind will lift the upwind wing into the air, exposing more of its underside surface to the crosswind. For example, if the crosswind is blowing from the left, counter-clockwise movement of the control yoke is necessary (see Figure 3.4).
Figure 3.4. The crosswind takeoff technique is difficult enough with rudder pedals.
- As the roll begins, the right rudder is needed to keep the airplane aligned with the runway centerline. As the airplane accelerates, it will actually roll slightly to the left so that the downwind wing is raised in the air and the downwind main wheel is off the runway. Also, as the speed increases, the amount of aileron necessary to counteract the crosswind becomes less and less; the controls become more effective as speed increases.
- The airplane should be accelerated to a speed slightly higher than the normal rotation speed and rotated somewhat more abruptly than with a normal takeoff. This is done because the airplane will tend to turn into the wind right after liftoff, and one does not want the tires rubbing sideways across the runway surface.
- As the airplane lifts off the ground, maintain the upwind wing low attitude and opposite rudder to maintain directional control. When clear of obstacles, establish a wind correction angle—or crab angle—to keep the airplane flying along the extended runway centerline with the wings level (see Figure 3.5).
Figure 3.5. After clearing obstacles, a wind correction angle is established to maintain alignment with the departure runway.
If you have add-on rudder pedals, select "Lesson 9—Crosswind Takeoff" from the Options/Flight Instruction menu (Basic Category).