Crosswind landing no-flap taildragger

Ed Haywood

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Big Ed
When landing in a strong crosswind, I crab into the wind on approach. Once I have the runway made, I forward slip to bleed airspeed if necessary. Since I am already yawed into the wind, I roll away from the wind. Once I round out into ground effect, I release the front slip, align with the runway, and side slip into the crosswind.

This works fine, but seems a bit busy to reverse the slip in ground effect. For those of you with no-flap aircraft, how many of you front slip in the same direction that you side slip?
 
I'm probably the least experienced pilot on here, but I learned to fly in a no flap taildragger. Cub, specifically. I never thought to slip with the nose facing downwind. Maybe just me.

I love love love slipping, but I don't do it do lose airspeed. I do it because I'm usually too high. To me, it's a "steepness increaser". Being too fast close to the ground, especially tailwheel and in gusty winds, isn't something I like to do. It means more time, more distance, at a really low altitude.

Maybe the other reason that I don't slip much crosswind is that for me there's normally a headwind associated with the crosswind, and that also works to keep my angle steeper.

This is all in the context of an aircraft with roughly a 37mph stall speed.
 
The forward vs side slip talk makes me go cross eyed, but I always did a power off left slipping base to final turn with right rudder in the blind bipe regardless of wind direction. Yeah with a right x-wind that means reversing the slip direction during the roundout. No more difficult than a left x-wind IMO.
 
A slip is a slip. You're sitting on the center line, so just slip in the same direction you would to correct for the wind. There's no advantage to "forward slip" in one direction vs the other.
Ailerons to track the runway center line, enough rudder to point the nose down the runway.
 
The forward vs side slip talk makes me go cross eyed, but I always did a power off left slipping base to final turn with right rudder in the blind bipe regardless of wind direction. Yeah with a right x-wind that means reversing the slip direction during the roundout. No more difficult than a left x-wind IMO.
:yeahthat:

Since I'm slipping to a greater or lesser degree all the way down final, I can adjust my glide slope up or down without moving the throttle from idle. I also angle my final about 10° (turning base to final a bit early) for better visibility of the runway even if I have to take most or all of the slip out.
 
... I always did a power off left slipping base to final turn with right rudder in the blind bipe regardless of wind direction. Yeah with a right x-wind that means reversing the slip direction during the roundout. No more difficult than a left x-wind IMO.
I do that when I practice no flap landings, basically a slipped power off 180. Mine don't look as cool as @whifferdill's, though...

 
Since I have tandem seating, I am equally happy slipping to either direction. I usually forward slip away from the crosswind on final. My nose is already pointed that way, so it just feels natural. I'll start playing with slipping into the wind on final and see if I like that better.
 
Since I have tandem seating, I am equally happy slipping to either direction. I usually forward slip away from the crosswind on final. My nose is already pointed that way, so it just feels natural. I'll start playing with slipping into the wind on final and see if I like that better.
Can you clarify your definition of what makes a forward slip “away” or “into” a crosswind?
 
Can you clarify your definition of what makes a forward slip “away” or “into” a crosswind?
Direction of roll and lift vector.

If I have a crosswind from the right, I crab right on final. When I have the threshold made, I forward slip by rolling left, adding more right rudder, and pushing the stick forward. When I round out, I yaw left to align the aircraft with the runway, and roll right as necessary to maintain centerline. So my issue is transitioning from left roll on approach to right roll in ground effect.

Works well enough, but I wonder if rolling right throughout the approach and round out would be smoother. I'll play with that.
 
The way I was taught in a crosswind was to slip away from the wind so you were not having to cross up or transition slip directions.
 
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At the moment of touchdown, unless you're from the "crab and kick" school, you're slipping, the upwind wing is down, the nose is aligned with the centerline, and you touch down on the upwind wheel first. But farther out on final, you could be slipping in either direction. If you're slipping with the downwind wing down, you have to reverse the slip to upwind down in order to touch down straight.

My home field is left traffic with a N/S runway (35/17 actually), but the prevailing wind is from the SW. I usually slip with the left wing down as it's already down as I turn base, so I have roll right before touchdown. At that transition point, I'm briefly not slipping so there's a tendency to balloon.
 
If I have a crosswind from the right, I crab right on final. When I have the threshold made, I forward slip by rolling left, adding more right rudder, and pushing the stick forward. When I round out, I yaw left to align the aircraft with the runway, and roll right as necessary to maintain centerline. So my issue is transitioning from left roll on approach to right roll in ground effect.

Works well enough, but I wonder if rolling right throughout the approach and round out would be smoother. I'll play with that.
Yes that's what I do and I think it will be smoother.

Landing in a xwind is always a slip before the wheels touch down: aileron to bank into the wind with enough opposite rudder to point straight ahead. You can transition from crab to slip anytime you want: early on final, wait until the flare, or at any point in between. But whenever you do that, slip in the same direction you were already crabbing. This keeps you banking into the xwind at all times, and it is a simpler smoother transition.

Suppose a xwind from the right like you suggest. You're on final already crabbed into it. Now simply apply opposite (L) rudder to align the nose with the runway, as you use opposite (R) aileron to bank into the xwind. Smooth and simple.
 
I'll add that the only time I can think of during landing where one might shift a slip from one side to another would be if doing a power off 180 short approach to a xwind landing. If it is a L pattern and there is a L xwind on final, you would maintain the same slip direction all the way through the turn, to final and landing. But if it's a L pattern to a R xwind on final, you'd reverse your slip after completing the 180 and establishing final.

Put differently: you can slip all the way through the turn but you should never skid through the turn. In the turn you have no choice but to always use opposite/outside/high rudder. But as you complete the 180 turn and align on final, you need to slip against the xwind, so the direction of xwind determines whether you maintain the same slip or reverse it.
 
I don't understand. You're a tailwheel pilot. Crab and kick is for nosewheel drivers. Slip down final, ailerons into the wind enough to maintain centerline, and rudder to point the nose. If that's not getting you down fast enough, or you want to slow down, increase the slip or add flaps. You're making things much more difficult than they need to be.
 
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When landing in a strong crosswind, I crab into the wind on approach. Once I have the runway made, I forward slip to bleed airspeed if necessary. Since I am already yawed into the wind, I roll away from the wind. Once I round out into ground effect, I release the front slip, align with the runway, and side slip into the crosswind.

This works fine, but seems a bit busy to reverse the slip in ground effect. For those of you with no-flap aircraft, how many of you front slip in the same direction that you side slip?
Forward slip more to the left; side slip as needed for the crosswind. And every landing in a tailwheel aircraft is a crosswind landing - the upwind wheel goes down first. Also tend to slip on most approaches since prefer to stay a tad high and adjust with the slip. Can be done very subtly or with vigor as conditions require.
 
I don't understand. You're a tailwheel pilot. Crab and kick is for nosewheel drivers. Slip down final, ailerons into the wind enough to maintain centerline, and rudder to point the nose.
At the risk of commenting on something that's already been commented on a hundred thousand times, there is absolutely no reason to slip down final in a x-wind unless you're a student pilot who needs the extended practice using the controls properly to maintain drift and alignment. For the rest, you can do better...as in crab down final and then transition to a slip during the roundout. That is what "crab and kick" actually means - crab and slip.
 
At the risk of commenting on something that's already been commented on a hundred thousand times, there is absolutely no reason to slip down final in a x-wind unless you're a student pilot who needs the extended practice using the controls properly to maintain drift and alignment. For the rest, you can do better...as in crab down final and then transition to a slip during the roundout. That is what "crab and kick" actually means - crab and slip.
Yeah, why would an experienced pilot want to "use the controls properly to maintain drift and alignment," that's just student stuff. :confused2::crazy:
 
For the rest, you can do better...as in crab down final and then transition to a slip during the roundout. That is what "crab and kick" actually means - crab and slip.
That's been my technique thus far. I tried the other way yesterday and it works ok, but I think I get a more aggressive and controlled forward slip to dump altitude with crab and slip. I'll continue to play with both methods to refine my stick and rudder skills. Can't have too much of that.
 
Yeah, why would an experienced pilot want to "use the controls properly to maintain drift and alignment," that's just student stuff. :confused2::crazy:
Nice try. We all have it set by the time the wheels touch down. Slipping all the way down final in a x-wind is kinda silly, and is just a way to give student pilots the practice and to avoid overwhelming them with the workload of waiting to manage this down at the runway level. Lots of pilots keep up the student pilot method simply because they "were taught" that way and never break out of it.
 
The forward vs side slip talk makes me go cross eyed, but I always did a power off left slipping base to final turn with right rudder in the blind bipe regardless of wind direction. Yeah with a right x-wind that means reversing the slip direction during the roundout. No more difficult than a left x-wind IMO.
The Pitts guy on our airfield slipped all the way from high key to the threshold. I gather that is a biplane thing for visibility. I think he also liked it because he was a retired Navy pilot. That would require a reversal in round out for a right crosswind.
 
Slipping all the way down final in a x-wind is kinda silly, and is just a way to give student pilots the practice and to avoid overwhelming them with the workload of waiting to manage this down at the runway level.
I would think it is also the preferred technique for big, heavy, fast aircraft like airliners. But they have flaps, and they line up on straight final miles out.
Perhaps those of us with no flaps at small airfields naturally develop a different approach? I personally fly every approach as a short field power off landing, traffic permitting. With no flaps that means aggressive slipping at some point, regardless of wind.
 
The Pitts guy on our airfield slipped all the way from high key to the threshold. I gather that is a biplane thing for visibility. I think he also liked it because he was a retired Navy pilot. That would require a reversal in round out for a right crosswind.
Yeah, it's mainly for visibility. You almost never see a Pitts fly a straight in approach without turning and/or slipping. Straight in, you can't see the runway at all until it flashes up into your peripheral vision during the roundout. Pitts' are also the best slipping machines ever built, so it's also fun.
 
With no flaps that means aggressive slipping at some point, regardless of wind.
For sure, every landing for me too, for visibility and to put the airplane down where I want power off. Wind or no wind, I'm always straightening out the slip during roundout a few inches from the runway. X-wind doesn't change that.
 
Not if you're landing straight into the wind.
That’s the point - even then there’s often a bias to one side of the other and one should treat it still as a crosswind landing. Especially on pavement.

I.e. philosophically there’s no straight into the wind in a taildragger landing since they got rid of the big circle airfields in the late 30s.
 
When landing in a strong crosswind, I crab into the wind on approach. Once I have the runway made, I forward slip to bleed airspeed if necessary. Since I am already yawed into the wind, I roll away from the wind. Once I round out into ground effect, I release the front slip, align with the runway, and side slip into the crosswind.

This works fine, but seems a bit busy to reverse the slip in ground effect. For those of you with no-flap aircraft, how many of you front slip in the same direction that you side slip?
Sounds like an unstable approach.. I would use a forward slip on base to get closer to the desired altitude and airspeed before turning base and side slip the final.
 
Yeah, it's mainly for visibility. You almost never see a Pitts fly a straight in approach without turning and/or slipping. Straight in, you can't see the runway at all until it flashes up into your peripheral vision during the roundout. Pitts' are also the best slipping machines ever built, so it's also fun.
I greatly regret not being able to buy his S2E when he abruptly sold it due to health reasons. I had just pulled the engine off my Super D and dropped it off at an engine shop and ripped the cover off, so I was committed. When circumstances permit, I WILL buy a 1S or 1C. Definitely on my bucket list.

In the meantime, I'll have to content myself with beating Extras in Sportsman. Everything finally lined up for me, and I have a busy contest schedule lined up this spring: one a month from April thru June, and hopefully nationals in the fall.
 
Both methods, slip all the way down final or crab on final then slip just before landing, are acceptable and safe when done properly.
If the situation allows either method and passenger comfort is a concern, crab then slip is usually better.
 
Sounds like an unstable approach..
Can you provide an official definition of stable approach criteria? (Not saying you’re wrong, but “stable approach” often means very different things to different people.)
 
Not sure stabilized approach concept means much when landing a taildragger in a 10-15 gusty crosswind. Do what you need to make it work - crab, slip, airspeed/throttle as needed.

In a bigger heavier plane coming down an ILS, yes there a good definitions of stabilized. Most tailwheel aircraft we fly are light, nimble and much more affected by wind. Of course in a twin tailwheel you can use differential power to help with the crosswind.

Once commented about a landing in a Stearman with a 20k+ hour (all tailwheel) pilot. His response “I don’t care about all that theory - just keep it straight!”
 
Slipping all the way down final in a x-wind is kinda silly
As a way to compensate for a crosswind, yes, but for glide angle adjustment it makes sense. A moderate slip means you can increase or decrease it to steepen or flatten the glide as required without touching the throttle.
Please tell us more fables about this magical dreamland. Do they have tailwinds en route, as well? :D
Well, I experienced it once... I think.
Not sure stabilized approach concept means much when landing a taildragger in a 10-15 gusty crosswind. Do what you need to make it work - crab, slip, airspeed/throttle as needed.
:yeahthat:
 
As a way to compensate for a crosswind, yes, but for glide angle adjustment it makes sense. A moderate slip means you can increase or decrease it to steepen or flatten the glide as required without touching the throttle.
Sure, like I said I do that wind or no wind, but it's for visibility and touchdown spot control, not x-wind correction. I haven't motored down a straight in final holding a slip the whole way just for the purposes of lining up early for a x-wind since I was a student pilot.
 
I was getting checked out in my first tail dragger, oh so many moons ago, the instructor commented, "If you can't hold runway alignment out here against the crosswind, wing low, how do you know you'll have enough rudder to hold against the crosswind on landing." Wing low and properly aligned, all the way down.
 
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I was getting checked out in my first tail dragger, oh so many moons ago, the instructor commented, "If you can hold runway alignment out here against the crosswind, wing low, how do you know you'll have enough rudder to hold against the crosswind on landing." Wing low and properly aligned, all the way down.
Not a proponent of that canard. Crab and then slip. Often winds at the surface are lighter anyhow so the test is mediocre at best.

Plus throttle and brake come into play on the ground, as well as the ability to use more extreme control positioning as one slows.
 
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