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Author Topic: Maximum wind speed for takeoff/landing  (Read 48660 times)
Woody812
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« on: March 17, 2010, 09:54:05 PM »

I have an amateur's interest in aviation, but I am not a pilot.

Last Sunday I flew from Las Vegas to Boston on a JetBlue flight.  The pilot was very informative.  Before we took off he told us that winds were strong in Boston, but they were more or less in line with the northeast runways at Logan.  During our approach, I noted that we were flying in a southeast direction and ultimately landed on runway 15R.  The landing was very rough.  On the way off the plane, I asked the pilot why we landed on 15R and he said it was because the lighting equipment on 4R was damaged.

The question I have for a pilot/ATC out there is this: what is the maximum wind speeds that are safe for a taking off and landing in a plane like the A320 or a B757.  The reason why I ask is because a friend of mine was supposed to fly into JFK, but his flight was canceled due to the same storm.  I found it odd that in one instance it was safe to do a crosswind landing; but at JFK it wasn't safe to land (or take off) at all.  Granted the winds must have been faster at JFK, but I'm curious as to safe speeds nonetheless.  Thanks for your help.
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Pilot3033
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2010, 10:45:24 PM »

This past weekend, JFK experienced winds that were steady at 50+ knots and gusting up to 60+ (60-70mph, rough). The storm was so intense that it knocked over wind measuring equipment on the field. On top of that, there was serve turbulence and wind shear (+/-20kts up to +/-30kts below 500ft). Meanwhile, Boston was getting hit, but not nearly this hard, and in fact, Boston became a prime choice for aircraft who needed to divert. That's why the lighting was out on 4, a departing A380 hit a few of them.

As far as what maximum winds are: in the airline world, each aircraft is rated by it's manufacturer to have a "maximum cross-wind component," and that speed as well as the means to calculate it are included in the aircraft's documentation (and required knowledge to operate them). That speed is different for every type of aircraft, and can depend a lot of the aircraft form factor and weight. In addition, many airlines have company policies that prevent their aircraft from landing or departing in certain wind situations. Many of the aircraft on the ground at JFK were waiting for the winds to die down because their company policies would let them depart.

In a Cessna 172, the maximum cross-wind component is 15kts, in a 757 it is, I believe, 40kts. But like I said, there are many other factors to consider. You can play around with a x-wind calculator here: http://www.csgnetwork.com/avxwindfactor.html

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TC
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2010, 04:04:44 AM »

FYI:  the lighting issue on 4R was not caused by a plane taking off.  That rumor apparently got started by central flow.  The outage was water/weather related.
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captkel
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2010, 03:33:40 PM »

Quote: The storm was so intense that it knocked over wind measuring equipment on the field.

that should be the maximum.  lol cheesy
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imflight
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2010, 02:38:58 PM »

Quote: As far as what maximum winds are: in the airline world, each aircraft is rated by it's manufacturer to have a "maximum cross-wind component," and that speed as well as the means to calculate it are included in the aircraft's documentation (and required knowledge to operate them). That speed is different for every type of aircraft, and can depend a lot of the aircraft form factor and weight. In addition, many airlines have company policies that prevent their aircraft from landing or departing in certain wind situations. Many of the aircraft on the ground at JFK were waiting for the winds to die down because their company policies would let them depart.


The manufacturer comes up with Maximum Demonstrated cross-wind component.  It is not a limiting factor.  Airlines and 135 charter guys have limits usually based on a gust/windshear situation, not crosswind alone.  Tailwinds are a limiting factor, somewhere in the 10-15kt range is usually the greatest tailwind you can land with.  As previously mentioned at JFK with 50+kt winds and all that fun stuff, you would have to be nucking futs to try and play pilot in that.  If the wind equipment took to the air inadvertently, what would happen if you tried to take a 200+ ton piece of metal that is designed to take to the skies down a 125 foot wide piece of runway?  look at the video of that airbus in Germany a few years back as your answer...  Bent metal, soiled seat covers, and a LONG chat with the chief pilot and our fine friends at the FAA.  Give me a pilot lounge, a cup of coffee and a chat with the FAA about the NCAA tourney!
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klkm
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 03:53:03 PM »

My conversation with 2 pilots in the hold for JFK that evening went like this:

TAM pilot "what is the current wind at JFK"
Me:  "wind is 260@45 gusting 65"
TAM pilot "roger, we try to land"

So I send the TAM in,

JBU pilot "that guy is crazy, we are diverting to SYR"
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Cap747
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2010, 09:35:46 PM »

It sure was a "Sporty" night though   ....  .... .... ....
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 06:37:33 PM by Cap747 » Logged
Rezat
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 04:59:05 PM »

An similar story happened to me last night flying jetBlue on an A320 from Orlando to Buffalo NY (Jan 17, 2012- Fl 662 -6:26 pm). The pilot announced shortly after the flight that it was a bit turbulant so seat belts signs would stay on a bit longer. Again about half an hour or so before landing he announced that it was windy in Buffalo and that it would be a bumpy landing. However what we went through was closer to a roller coaster ride. Sitting behind the wings I saw them moving up and down and sake so abruplty and violently that being an engineer I thought to myself no human-made structure can sustain violent tension like this for long. This morning I looked up the local weather forecast of yesterday and found out that gusts of up to 50 miles where predicted: "BuffaloNews.com: Cold front brings gusts of more than 50 mph". Jan 17- 9:29 AM.

Now I don't know whether this is an extra risk taken by a particular airline or common across the industryand I'm by no means an avionic engineer but riding the roller coaster I did last night and seeing what I saw I'm telling you people it would be a matter of time before we lose an entire airplane to a natural turbulant landing accidents. Wasn't the purpose of all fancy weather satellites so we can avoid these situations?

Upon exiting the planes the pilots were standing by the door with a hero smile & look on their face. I thanked them for making such a hard landing knowing well we didn't have to go through this and someone played Russian roulette with me and my family's lives. This has to stop.

So I second your quesiton? What is the maximum SAFE wind speed for landing of a 150 people jetliner?
My second question? As citizens of a free country don't we have a right to know about such potentials just before the flight and making a decision whether we want to take the risk?
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sykocus
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 02:49:47 AM »

So I second your quesiton? What is the maximum SAFE wind speed for landing of a 150 people jetliner?
My second question? As citizens of a free country don't we have a right to know about such potentials just before the flight and making a decision whether we want to take the risk?

The short answer is there is none.  Winds aloft routinely exceede 100kts. Cross winds on final and turbulence are another issue.

To deal with your second question: Even if there was a maximum safe wind speed for an airliner, why should you be told? Should you be informed as to how much fuel is loaded onto the plane so you can determine if, in your opinion, there is enough to safely complete your flight? Should you be told how how many hours the pilots have been flying that type of plane to determine if it's up to your satisfactory level?

My point here is if you have a need to know one detail of the operation of your flight then you need to know ALL of the details and, that is too much for one person to know. That why there are many, many specialist in aviation. Mechanics don't fly the planes and the pilots don't fix them. The government has regulated everything from from the construction of the aircraft to the procedures of it's operation. You either trust that the system in place will keep you safe or you don't. Knowing just one or two of the details and ensuring they meet your specifications will not keep you safe.
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Yesterday I couldn't spell air traffic controller. Today I R one.
mhawke
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 08:51:54 AM »

However what we went through was closer to a roller coaster ride. Sitting behind the wings I saw them moving up and down and sake so abruplty and violently that being an engineer I thought to myself no human-made structure can sustain violent tension like this for long.

As citizens of a free country don't we have a right to know about such potentials just before the flight and making a decision whether we want to take the risk?

Being an engineer, you should understand that those movements of the wing are exactly what it is designed for and are needed.  They flex to relieve the stress, one reason why aluminum is used in the construction of planes (among others, including the ability to remain ductile at cold temperatures, and being lighter then steel for the same strength).

You have the right not to fly.  The government didn't make you buy a plane ticket, or get on the plane.  You made the choice to do that.  You can always choose not to get on the plane.  Whether to share the information with you or not is also the choice of the airline.  We don't need the government telling them what they have to say, you can always choose not to fly.


« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 08:53:37 AM by mhawke » Logged
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