Pilot's tip of the week

Landing at Unfamiliar Airfields


Subscriber question:

"How should we approach landings at a strange field with no wind socks if we suspect a crosswind might exist?" - Anon.


“I hate to be overly simplistic, but we can really treat this landing just as we do all our landings if we’re properly prepared.

First of all, have we done our planning? If we did we should certainly have a general idea of what winds to expect at our landing site. Validate this information with whatever resources are available to you on ATIS/AWOS, etc.

What was the wind doing to you as you approached the field? What is it doing to the trees, smoke, etc.?

Why not plan on doing a low approach to the field to familiarize yourself with conditions if you are at all unsure?

Most of all fly the airplane. If you fly a precise pattern, you will know how the wind is impacting you and respond accordingly. If at any time you are uncomfortable with conditions, go around.”

Have you done a low approach (aka low pass) to check the runway or landing conditions at an unfamiliar airport?

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