I know the crew usually decides ahead of time which pilot is to be PF for each phase of the flight. If, when they arrive at their destination they discover a considerable crosswind component, does that ever change that decision? It seems that the upwind seat would have a considerable visual advantage. (or maybe that isn't true?) Also, do airlines have guidelines on things of that sort requiring that the PIC fly the landing?

  • $\begingroup$ The pilot with more experience would usually land in a heavy crosswind situation. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 2:27

2 Answers 2


Never ask a question with "ever" in it - because the answer will very rarely be no!

For example - if one pilot is training, then while they may have planned to do the landing reality might dictate that they have to hand over the controls to the instructor. I'm sure the same will apply to type ratings or differences training - nobody is going to let you have a crack at a severe crosswind landing during your first front-seat flight in an A380.

Additionally, flying schools will often have strict crosswind limits and some may not grant you full "As Pilot Operating Handbook" privileges until you have [x] number of hours AFTER your test.

In other words - you may have two qualified pilots, but only one of which is allowed to land the plane!

But I'm being deliberately pedantic - I suspect you're focussing more on commercial, multi-crew operations rather than two pilots who happen to be in one aircraft and I'm not qualified to answer that bit!

I'm not aware of any requirement to take seat position into account, however.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, i know the pirfalls of absolutes, especially in aviation. Sometimes hard to avoid words like "ever, "never, " and "always." But that said, you gave a valid answer. In the cases you mention are certainly factors that would affect the decision. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 21:25

There is almost always some crosswind component on every landing if there is any wind at all. Therefore the pilot who is making the landing, either left or right applies the necessary corrections to make a successful landing. Crosswind landings is taught to the beginning pilot early in his initial training to cope with the problem. Each class of aircraft has different approach and touchdown methods to cope with the cross wind problem.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hello there! This does not seem to answer the question: Would the crew ever change their decision on who's landing based on a stronger crosswind component? Is the sight of one of the pilots significantly limited due to crosswind? $\endgroup$
    – yo'
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ There is one Pilot in Command, it he who decides who is controlling the airplane, therefore the decision as to who is best qualified to make the landing for all existing conditions is up to him. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Please, have you even read the question and my first comment? $\endgroup$
    – yo'
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ A crosswind landing appears the same from either seat. The pilot has to control the airplane to make land in the direction of the runway regardless of the wind or he will go off the runway in to ??? A pilot does not look only down the runway, $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 21:05
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    $\begingroup$ I wasn't sure if there was a significant difference in visibility. Just seemed like if you were crabbed the one on the upwind side would have a better view. But I've never experienced a significant crosswind landing from the cockpit. [If i did i probably would've wet myself! To an untrained eye they look a lot hairier than they apparently are.) I'm sure there are crosswind limits for aircraft and i would suppose airlines probably impose their own limits. Although both pilots are fully qualified and capable, I wonder if there are circumstances where airlines mandate that the captain be PF $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 1:06

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