June 2001 Issue

The Truth About Takeoffs

We clear up some misunderstandings about crosswinds and headwinds

The February article “Moment of Truth” on takeoff techniques brought a flood of mail. The comments generally pertained to two parts of the article: the dynamic effect of crosswinds and the effect of headwinds on takeoff runs.

Regarding the effect of crosswinds on controllability, the most common misperception is that the sole purpose of applying aileron control into the wind is to increase ground friction on the upwind wheel and stop the airplane from drifting downwind. It is true aileron into the crosswind does indeed increase friction on the upwind tire and aids in offsetting wind drift, but the primary purpose is to prevent the windward wing from rising.

The greater the surface area...

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