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Crosswind takeoffs


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Do you have a crosswind limit for take off? 
I can not figure out what I am doing wrong on takeoffs with lots of direct crosswind.  Both times recently were on a wide runway, and ultimately nothing happened, but had I been on a narrow runway, I’d have potentially had a problem.  Both times it feels like I was heading off the centerline towards the upwind side.  I feel like this is a hole in my primary training.  I have about 750 hours, but have never really focused on the strong crosswind takeoff that I can recall. Can you share some tips and techniques? I feel like for now, I need to drop my max crosswind component down and commit to some practice.  

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I'm not an instructor, so this is just my own experience/observations.

As for limits, I don't take off if I can't land back on the same runway, whether that's ceiling, visibility or crosswind, so I would say my crosswind takeoff limit is the same as my crosswind landing limit. 

I have found that on the takeoff roll, aileron input into the wind makes a big difference, if I don't use enough, I really notice the airplane skidding and weather cocking. If the crosswind is strong, I still have a fair bit of aileron into the wind up to rotation speed.

Steve

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Start with full aileron into the wind and then back off as needed. Track with rudder. Depending on wind direction the rudder feel can throw you. If it’s coming from the right it might feel like you are not applying enough rudder….at least what you muscle memory tells you. Landing is just the opposite, feed in aileron to full as you slow down. The Mooney is not very “tipsy”, so aileron won’t get a wing down until you are airborne..  at that point it feels more natural. 

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1 hour ago, ohdub said:

As for limits, I don't take off if I can't land back on the same runway, whether that's ceiling, visibility or crosswind, so I would say my crosswind takeoff limit is the same as my crosswind landing limit. 

Why does it have to be the same runway? I’ve had plenty of takeoffs where I’m going from a small uncontrolled field with a crosswind or below landing minimums but there is an airport really close with multiple runways and better landing minimums.

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If you’re moving to the upwind side, it’s weathervaning.  Usually that’s happening at lower speeds.  Definitely start with ailerons full into the wind and then slowly relax as you accelerate.  Rudder as required for centerline-which could be left rudder until liftoff, then coordinate for flight.  
Honestly I find xwind takeoff more difficult than landing to do elegantly.

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14 minutes ago, 201er said:

Why does it have to be the same runway? I’ve had plenty of takeoffs where I’m going from a small uncontrolled field with a crosswind or below landing minimums but there is an airport really close with multiple runways and better landing minimums.

I guess it doesn't in that case, but closest I've been to another, better equipped airport while departing is 16nm, which isn't much help if you have a serious issue on departure in a single engine aircraft.

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1 hour ago, ohdub said:

I guess it doesn't in that case, but closest I've been to another, better equipped airport while departing is 16nm, which isn't much help if you have a serious issue on departure in a single engine aircraft.

Here’s two that I’m familiar with that come to mind. I think they have a name for that? Alternate takeoff minimums is it?

562D06E6-8A1E-4411-98E8-D0FC5DFA84CF.thumb.jpeg.2f52b6ffe0cb0723de6e607eb20796dd.jpeg

F2927082-B565-4959-8C0F-2A6613548837.thumb.jpeg.3beccbcf7ce6905e1e545024a0225a79.jpeg

 

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3 hours ago, bmcconnaha said:

Do you have a crosswind limit for take off? 
I can not figure out what I am doing wrong on takeoffs with lots of direct crosswind.  Both times recently were on a wide runway, and ultimately nothing happened, but had I been on a narrow runway, I’d have potentially had a problem.  Both times it feels like I was heading off the centerline towards the upwind side.  I feel like this is a hole in my primary training.  I have about 750 hours, but have never really focused on the strong crosswind takeoff that I can recall. Can you share some tips and techniques? I feel like for now, I need to drop my max crosswind component down and commit to some practice.  

Not CFI :)

If you're not used to strong crosswinds, 3 things can happen:

  1. The plane yaws upwind - can suddenly increase when the nosewheel lifts
  2. The plane slides laterally downwind - can suddenly increase when the plane gets light
  3. The plane banks downwind - can happen with gusts

When all 3 happen it can be pretty confusing if you've not experienced it before.  I recall practicing crosswind takeoffs in training--as the plane got light, it started sliding downwind, and I mentally could not keep my foot on the downwind rudder.  At the same moment, the nosewheel comes off the ground, which accentuates the weathervaning, so the plane REALLY turned upwind.  It was like a mental block, once the plane started sliding downwind, I just could not stop myself from stepping on the upwind pedal, and it took some practice to train that out of me.

Keeping upwind aileron puts more weight and grip on the upwind tire, which decreases the amount of sliding, but it will always happen some either before or after lifting off.

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It’s the same as a landing except in reverse. Keep the nose pointed straight down the runway with the rudder. Start with full aileron into the wind and reduce as airspeed builds and ailerons become more effective. Ailerons control your lateral drift. The downwind main wheel should lift off first. Once airborne, level the wings and center the ball.

Skip

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@PT20J’s explanation is simple and dead on.  What is your xwind landing technique? I was taught to slip from about 1/4 mile final and fly each wheel onto the runway.  I find that “crab and kick” method is more comfortable for passengers but it does little to develop the pilot’s ability to manage roll and yaw independently to hold centerline…which is exactly what one must do on a xwind takeoff. The centerline is the ball until the plane airborne.  It can be counterintuitive as it is not typical in normal flight to increase right aileron while pulling the nose left with rudder but that can certainly be needed on a crosswind takeoff.

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Nothing I can add to good advice here except, don't be in a hurry to rotate. The nose wheel is your friend. It keeps you from weather cocking into the wind. Don't keep it on until the plane porpoises but keep it on until the airplane will definitely fly and fly definitively with back pressure on the stick. A quick liftoff also requires quick response on the ailerons since you had them over.  In the cockpit, it looks aggressive, but from the outside, it looks like you know what you are doing:)

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22 hours ago, bmcconnaha said:

Do you have a crosswind limit for take off? 
I can not figure out what I am doing wrong on takeoffs with lots of direct crosswind.  Both times recently were on a wide runway, and ultimately nothing happened, but had I been on a narrow runway, I’d have potentially had a problem.  Both times it feels like I was heading off the centerline towards the upwind side.  I feel like this is a hole in my primary training.  I have about 750 hours, but have never really focused on the strong crosswind takeoff that I can recall. Can you share some tips and techniques? I feel like for now, I need to drop my max crosswind component down and commit to some practice.  

I'm going to say something different than everybody else.  When I first started flying the Mooney, I had problems with crosswind takeoffs too.  I found them harder than crosswind landings.  I was using the same technique I was used to using in the heavy metal, that is, forward pressure on the yoke to keep weight on the nosewheel.  I found that to be a bad technique for the Mooney.  The reason was that our M20J sat with the wing at a pretty high angle of incidence while on the ground.  That results in the wing producing significant lift as I approached takeoff speed.  By pushing on the yoke, I actually made things worse because I was holding the nose down, I was producing lift on the tail, the mains would lift off before the nose, and I would find myself wheel-barreling down the runway with nothing to keep me from weather veining into the wind.  As a matter of fact, if you search the internet hard enough for belly mounted videos of Mooney takeoffs, you'll find some that show the mains getting airborne before the nose.

Instead, I switched to pulling back on the yoke.  That put down pressure on the tail and helped keep the mains on the runway.  By the time the nose got light, the rudder was effective for directional control, and shortly thereafter the plane was ready to fly.  And of course, the standard aileron into the wind too.

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I have noticed when the wind is blowing hard around here all the flight schools stop flying. I would think it is a rare opportunity to practice and instruct in cross wind techniques.

About a year ago I was checking out in a 310 at KAVQ with Rene. They have perpendicular runways. The wind was blowing at about 20 KTS. He made me take off and land single engine on all four. But he just likes to abuse me. Actually he let me use both engines for takeoff.

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1 hour ago, N201MKTurbo said:

I have noticed when the wind is blowing hard around here all the flight schools stop flying. I would think it is a rare opportunity to practice and instruct in cross wind techniques.

One of the gustiest days I've ever been at Deer Valley nobody was flying but one of Aeroguard's Seminoles was doing touch-and-goes with a gusty 90-degree crosswind.   Was kinda fun to watch.   They were fine, too.   I thought the same, that it was a good opportunity to try that kind of thing when you're trying to learn anyway.

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23 hours ago, Ragsf15e said:

If you’re moving to the upwind side, it’s weathervaning.  Usually that’s happening at lower speeds.  Definitely start with ailerons full into the wind and then slowly relax as you accelerate.  Rudder as required for centerline-which could be left rudder until liftoff, then coordinate for flight.  
Honestly I find xwind takeoff more difficult than landing to do elegantly.

I would also say no flaps with increased approach speed.  If you get a wind shift at a lower speed it could equal trouble.

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3 hours ago, N201MKTurbo said:

I have noticed when the wind is blowing hard around here all the flight schools stop flying. I would think it is a rare opportunity to practice and instruct in cross wind techniques.

About a year ago I was checking out in a 310 at KAVQ with Rene. They have perpendicular runways. The wind was blowing at about 20 KTS. He made me take off and land single engine on all four. But he just likes to abuse me. Actually he let me use both engines for takeoff.

Yeah, I fly out of an old WWII fighter base so it's one of the rare airports around here with a (very nice) crosswind runway.  Unfortunately, that means on days when the winds are out of the ordinary, all the flight schools switch to the crosswind runway, so it's actually quite difficult to practice crosswind circuits!

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Thank you all for the tips.  My local airport has a good crosswind runway, so I probably don't practice it as much as I should.  Next time there is some crosswinds, I'm going to put some of these teqniques into play and see if I can get some improvements.  

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12 hours ago, Bob - S50 said:

I'm going to say something different than everybody else.  When I first started flying the Mooney, I had problems with crosswind takeoffs too.  I found them harder than crosswind landings.  I was using the same technique I was used to using in the heavy metal, that is, forward pressure on the yoke to keep weight on the nosewheel.  I found that to be a bad technique for the Mooney.  The reason was that our M20J sat with the wing at a pretty high angle of incidence while on the ground.  That results in the wing producing significant lift as I approached takeoff speed.  By pushing on the yoke, I actually made things worse because I was holding the nose down, I was producing lift on the tail, the mains would lift off before the nose, and I would find myself wheel-barreling down the runway with nothing to keep me from weather veining into the wind.  As a matter of fact, if you search the internet hard enough for belly mounted videos of Mooney takeoffs, you'll find some that show the mains getting airborne before the nose.

Instead, I switched to pulling back on the yoke.  That put down pressure on the tail and helped keep the mains on the runway.  By the time the nose got light, the rudder was effective for directional control, and shortly thereafter the plane was ready to fly.  And of course, the standard aileron into the wind too.

Good lesson there. Definitely don’t want to push forward to keep the nose down as you said.  I’m typically pulling back say 5lbs pressure on a normal takeoff.  On xwind takeoff maybe a tiny bit less or neutral, but definitely not pushing.  Seems easy to get too much weight on the nose or even lift the mains first as you said.

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