Skip to main content
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 ...
ratchet freak's user avatar
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 ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 14.5k
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) ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
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 ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.9k
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 ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 2,377
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 ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
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 ...
Geocrafter's user avatar
  • 1,014
31 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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
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: ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k
30 votes

Which runway should I have used, and how can I properly choose it in later flights?

Crosswinds are part of flying, airfields have a limited number of runways but wind can come from any direction, it's rare that wind is straight down the runway. All airplanes have a demonstrated ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
27 votes

Are flights in fast jet streams more dangerous?

Horrible example of journalism aside, any risk would come from clear air turbulence at the edges of the jet stream and the slower moving air. In other words, it isn't the top speed of the air relative ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.9k
26 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Devil07's user avatar
  • 8,584
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 ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k
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 ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
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 ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.7k
22 votes
Accepted

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 ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

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 ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
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 ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 27.7k
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. ...
Eugene Styer's user avatar
  • 3,709
21 votes

Why does a sudden tailwind/headwind change IAS?

Why that happens is due to the aircraft's inertia. Consider a fairly simple case: an aircraft is flying due north, straight & level, with a constant 100 knots of indicated airspeed (KIAS) and a 10 ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
20 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
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 ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.7k
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 ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
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 ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56.5k
18 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
18 votes

Which runway should I have used, and how can I properly choose it in later flights?

Better a crosswind with a headwind component, than a crosswind with a tailwind component! Your only sensible option is runway 09 in the situation you have presented.
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.7k
18 votes

Are flights in fast jet streams more dangerous?

Yes there are hazards, and you do want a captain who understands them and takes precautions. However anybody with an Airline Transport Licence would be expected to know about them, and the airline ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
17 votes

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

To give you a perspective of how safe commercial flying is, take a look at these two pictures: Those are the B737-800 that are in flight at the moment of typing this (which is around midnight in UK, ...
Martin Argerami's user avatar
16 votes

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

I think the other answers have covered the "Why U-turn" part well, but to address the other part about why so far past I thought it might have been a need to adjust for the runway, but as I said, ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 6,213

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible