3 Steps to Perfect Crosswind Landings

Anytime I fly with a student who is new to me, that may have some training or even have their license. The first thing I may ask is “what do you believe you need work on?” A very broad question to ask and I’ve received a slew of answers, but the most predominate response is always: Crosswind landings.

While nothing beats getting out there and doing it, there are 3 steps that you can think about long before your next crosswind encounter.

Know where the wind is

Kind of silly, but you wouldn’t believe how may students know they’re up for a crosswind landing but have no idea where the wind is coming from. Be able to visualize the wind direction using you heading indicator.


On final approach you should have a good feel as to where the wind is located and about how much of a crab angle you need to put in. Hold your crab until you’re about 50-100 feet above the ground. From there you can transition into your sideslip.

Rudder which way?

We know with a crosswind landing the objective to to touch the upwind wheel first. But how do we make that happen? The common misconception is that you land in a crab. This is not true. As stated above you need to transition into the sideslip phase of your landing. The is achieved by dipping (turning) your wing into the wind and using opposite rudder to help maintain centerline. Upon touchdown the main upwind wheel first the others will follow after a loss of airspeed. As airspeed decreases be sure to apply proper crosswind correction for taxiing.

But remember everyone is different, what tips might you have for perfect crosswind landings?

Ready to step up your flight maneuvers? Visit my other post on 5 Tips for Better Flight Maneuvers

  • paul m

    Here’s some tips:

    Left crosswinds are easier, start there. You’re probably already in a sideslip unless you know to counter nose-down P-factor with left rudder. Since most pilots don’t do that, they tend to have the left wing slightly down as they start the round out. Also, nearly every pilot yaws left in the flare (due to nose-up P-factor) so even if you can’t get the plane straight you’re probably nearer to the centerline.

    Embry Riddle has it right: their students fly all the way down final in a goofy sideslip. How else are you going to learn to control a plane in a sideslip? If I were a CFI, I’d have my students correcting their runway alignment with sideslips instead of coordinated turns. When they got good at it, then I’d let them try some crosswinds. When they got good at that, I’d finally show them crab-and-slip.

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