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93 votes

Why might an airliner fly a large U-turn before landing?

Airplanes prefer to land in a headwind. This reduces their groundspeed compared to landing with the same tailwind. Braking distance grows quadratically compared to groundspeed. So any significant ...
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86 votes

How safe is the Boeing 737-800 in high winds?

Extremely safe. Firstly, your pilots will have access to much more detailed and real-time weather information than you can get. They want to get home safely as much as you do, and will not fly if it ...
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75 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Yes, certainly! If your airspeed is lower than the speed of the headwind, the aircraft will fly backwards relative to the ground. Example videos: from ground (noisy, better turn down your volume) ...
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43 votes

Can airliners land with auto pilot in gusty wind conditions?

To the first part of your question, the airplane is not moving BECAUSE his yoke movements are "strong and fast". Experienced pilots can feel a gust and respond with a control input to ...
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  • 16.3k
39 votes

How safe is the Boeing 737-800 in high winds?

Short version: yes, the plane can take it The 737 — or any other plane — will not take off unless the wind is within safe limits for the aircraft type. Long version: your question almost answered ...
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  • 2,357
38 votes

How is wind measured at this small U.S. airport?

Ultrasonic anemometers are replacing the traditional cup anemometers in automated weather stations. The sensor measures the time it takes for an ultrasonic pulse to travel between the probes, which ...
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  • 69.7k
33 votes

Why might an airliner fly a large U-turn before landing?

As a Virtual Controller on vatsim.net at Toronto, I can tell you the following: Depends on runways, most of the time they operate runways 24R and 23, which lands planes facing south west. Runways are ...
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30 votes
Accepted

Does a sudden drop of the velocity of the headwind affect the airspeed by lowering it?

Your airspeed does not remain constant because of inertia: it takes more time for the airplane to adapt to the new relative wind, compared to the time it takes for the wind to change. Example One: ...
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  • 39.2k
30 votes

How does it feel like to be outside a flying airplane?

It won't be pleasant. The main result of being exposed outside at altitude, besides the obvious hypothermia, frostbite and hypoxia, will be bruising from the 280-ish knot slipstream (it's the ...
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  • 104k
29 votes
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How is wind direction reported (blowing from or blowing to)?

As far as METARs are considered, the wind direction gives the direction from which the wind is coming. From METAR definitions: Wind Direction. The direction, in tens of degrees, from which the wind ...
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  • 98.6k
26 votes
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How is wind measured at this small U.S. airport?

The device used to measure wind speed is called an anemometer. The one that spins with 3 spoon-like arms is just one type. There are some that have a propeller or fan that spins like a windmill. There ...
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  • 8,140
26 votes

Why is the flight duration of the same flight different in different months?

Jet stream is a stream of air flowing around the Earth from West to East at high altitude. With wind speed averaging more than 100+ km/h, it has a tremendous effect on a plane's ground speed. The ...
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  • 39.2k
25 votes

Why does the airplane not 'feel' the crosswind?

When dealing with crosswinds and drift, I find the easiest way to understand the concept is to imagine a fast flowing river of water. If you tried to swim straight across a fast river you will end up ...
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  • 32.1k
24 votes
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Is it sensible to harness wind energy on an airplane?

Normally not: Extracting energy from the airflow produces drag, which must be overcome by added thrust. Since every form of energy conversion produces losses, more thrust energy must be added than can ...
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23 votes

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Yes, I have done this many times in hang gliders, and at least once in a Cessna 152. In the latter case, the wind aloft was much stronger than at the ground-- it would be foolish to take off or even ...
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  • 17.1k
22 votes
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How can I know where wind is coming from by looking at water?

The easiest way to tell the direction of the wind when you're near the water is to look for something on the shore that indicated wind direction (beaches often have flags on them) Barring that there ...
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  • 67.2k
22 votes
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What happens if you take off with a direct tailwind?

Given how few bounding criteria you have in your question, the general result is For fixed wing aircraft: your ground speed will be significantly higher than if you'd taken off heading into the same ...
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21 votes
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Was this bumpy Boeing 777-300 landing caused by windshear?

Some comments state this was a wind-shear, is that correct? Looking at the windsock which appears in the right bottom corner at 0:12 and remains visible for about 4 seconds, you can tell there is ...
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  • 74.8k
21 votes
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Does the coriolis force have an effect on the direction in which an aircraft travels?

Yes, the effect is there, and (auto-) pilots have to compensate for it, but the direct impact of the Coriolis force is insignificant compared to the impact of any wind forces. This has been discussed ...
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  • 10.6k
21 votes

Can airliners land with auto pilot in gusty wind conditions?

Why pilot make so much input,I dont see that plane is moving even his yoke movements are huge and fast? The plane isn’t moving much because as soon as the pilot senses either wing lifting, he is ...
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  • 26k
21 votes

How does it feel like to be outside a flying airplane?

This is from Irish Luck - Surviving Partial Ejection from A-6 Aircraft. In this incident, the bombardier/navigator's ejection seat came part way out of an A-6, leaving the head and upper body exposed. ...
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  • 2,839
20 votes
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How does wind affect the airspeed that I should fly for maximum range in an airplane?

My answer was rather concise first, and I got the impression that I need to elaborate the question first. The question is about the best airspeed for maximum range. With wind. Best range means you ...
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19 votes

How does a large airport switch flow?

It's not too logistically complicated on its own. You just stop takeoffs, start taxiing the conga line of waiting airplanes to the new runway, let airplanes currently on final land, and start ...
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  • 34.8k
19 votes

How is wind direction reported (blowing from or blowing to)?

Wind numbers say where the wind is coming from. Wind 270 means that the wind is coming from the west, and blowing towards the east. If you point west (270), you will have the wind in your face as a ...
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  • 3,967
19 votes
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Is it an acceptable practice to take off in a microburst?

The airfield in the video is KAFF, the Air Force Academy air base. Everybody you see in the video are air force cadets or retired Air Force pilots (in the tows). There is a credible thread about this ...
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  • 35.1k
19 votes

How safe is the Boeing 737-800 in high winds?

As you can see on google maps Gatwick's runways are aligned (like many in the UK due to our prevailing winds) roughly east-west. In actual fact the runways are numbered 08 & 26 relating to 080 and ...
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  • 25.6k
19 votes

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Been there, done that. A poorly forecast cold front once had me flying backwards in a Cessna 172 over Altoona, IFR (instrument flight rules) at night. Center asked me several times to verify my ...
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  • 17.4k
18 votes

Can airliners land with auto pilot in gusty wind conditions?

As already said in the other answers, the "huge" inputs to the yoke are to keep the aircraft stable on the approach path. There is no "panic" involved, it is simply necessary due ...
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  • 44.9k
18 votes
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What does a pilot do when there is crosswind?

The pilot compensates, depending on the phase of flight the compensation will be different. On takeoff rudder and aileron corrections are used to keep the airframe in line with the runway as it ...
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  • 96k

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