Crosswind landings

Manchester Airport

In what was an extremely windy day at Manchester Airport, some private jet aircraft crews were forced to abandon their attempts and instead perform a go-around, which is the standard landing procedure to take the aircraft around for another attempt at approaching the runway.

An extremely windy day for much of the UK, with winds exceeding 60 mph in some places, Manchester was subject to wind from the North West reaching peak gusts of 38 knots. “The direction meant that aircraft landing on 23R were faced with a 90 crosswind and sometimes a tailwind.

When, for any reason, it is judged that an approach cannot be continued to a successful landing, a missed approach or go-around is flown.

Reasons for discontinuing an approach include the following:

  • The required visual references have not been established by the Decision Altitude/Height
  • The approach is, or has become unstabilised;
  • The aircraft is not positioned so as to allow a controlled touch down within the designated runway touchdown zone with a consequent risk of aircraft damage with or without a Runway Excursion if the attempt is continued;
  • The runway is obstructed;
  • Landing clearance has not been received or is issued and later cancelled;
  • A go-around is being flown for training purposes with ATC approval.

Landing can be more of a challenge and a perfect landing in windy conditions is a very satisfying achievement for any pilot. Again, before starting the approach to land the wind strength and direction will be checked by the pilots to make sure it is within both their and the aircraft limits.

Autopilots often can’t cope with strong crosswinds so manual landings in strong winds are the norm. If it is outside limits then the pilots will need to select another airport where they are able to land but this is obviously not ideal as it incurs delays for the passengers, but safety is always the top consideration so if it has to be done, it has to be done.

In gusty conditions the airspeed tends to move around a lot so quite often the pilots will fly slightly faster in order to ensure that a safe flying speed is maintained throughout the approach and landing.

Steve Landells has been a pilot for over 27 years, including 17 for commercial airlines including British Airways. He now works as a Flight Safety Specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association.

Private Jet Flights;

There were two private aircraft due in when the wind was at its worst and both aircraft struggled to land. The Embraer Legacy 500, which is a super mid-size aircraft that seats up to nine people, attempted to land however due to the strong winds had to perform a go around.

Embraer Legacy 500 landing at Manchester Airport

{Embraer Legacy 500 landing at Manchester Airport}

It’s second attempt to land was much better however it looked like the wing was close to touching the ground!

Embraer Leagcy 500 at manchester airport

The smaller five seat Cessna Citation M2, carrying two passengers arriving from Switzerland had a successful first attempt, however it was an extremely bumpy approach and landing.

Cessna Citation M2 landing at Manchester Airport

{Cessna Citation M2 landing at Manchester Airport}Both sets of pilots performed their landing with skill and precision. Their training is essential for these types of landing.

Cessna Citation M2 at manchester airport