Crosswind Taxi

Taxiing with wind

When taxiing in the wind you need to pay special attention to the direction of the wind in relation to your plane.
There are two basic rules to remember.
1. If the wind is coming from in front of you turn towards it.
2. If the wind is coming from behind, dive away.

Let’s dig into what this means.

RULE 1
If the wind is in front of you, turn towards it.

If the wind is coming from anywhere in front of your plane, from the left wingtip around to the right, even if it is really straight on to the wing, then follow this rule.
Turn the yoke towards the wind. If the wind is coming from the left, turn the yoke all the way to the left. Conversely, if it is coming from the right, turn it all the way to the right.
If the wind is coming from straight in front of you then keep the ailerons neutral.

By turning the ailerons into the wind you are helping to keep the airplane level against the force of the wind. In extreme cases the wind could gust enough to tip the plane over.

The elevator controls should be kept neutral when the wind is from the front.

RULE 2
If the wind is coming from behind, dive away.

If the wind is coming from anywhere behind your wing then this rule applies.
First of all, dive. This means that you should push the yoke all the way forward. This will lower the elevator and force the tail down as wind pushes it from behind. This is to keep the wind from picking up the tail, which can cause the propeller to strike the ground.

Next, turn the ailerons away from the wind. By turning away you will lower the aileron on the side that the wind is coming from. The wind will push down on the lowered aileron and keep the plane level.

What will happen if you don’t do this?

Many pilots just ignore simple crosswind taxi techniques. Most of the time nothing bad will happen. However, an attitude of professionalism demands that you follow the recommended procedures.

When a gusty day comes and the conditions are just right these procedures will save you from tipping forward (and to one side) onto the prop. Airplanes are designed to fly so these techniques are designed to keep them squarely on the ground until you are ready to take off.

This crosswind technique generally applies to most light aircraft. As always, the correct way to do this can be found in your Pilot’s Operating¬†Handbook.