February 2015 Issue

Working With Wind

How much wind you can handle depends on the airplane and the runway.

The episode sticks in my brain to this day. A nascent pilot, I sat right-seat in a Cessna 210 on a planned stop, drop and hop flight to the Orlando (Fla.) International Airport (KMCO). The commercial and instrument-rated pilot in the left seat had her hands full on approach, with ATC and the tower threading her between jet arrivals. I was learning a lot just sitting there watching. When the wind almost flipped us over onto the taxiway, I learned even more. It had been fairly smooth at altitude. But the weather was post-frontal, and the ATIS described an easterly surface wind huffing and puffing at between 15 and 25 knots. The good news was there were plenty of runways at KMCO. The bad news? They all were oriented north/south. Landing at the nearest airport with runways oriented into the wind would mean Id miss my airline connection.

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