April 2019

Strong wind is even safer for planes

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Strong winds are predicted and you want to get on a plane. Is that really a good idea? I tell you now why strong, steady wind is even better for take-off and landing planes.

Typically, planes always take off and land against the wind. There are only few exceptions to start with tailwind. With just a little tailwind, the direction of the runway is already reversed. As a result, all planes take off and land against the wind. And there is the following reason.

An aircraft needs a certain speed to take off. Since an aircraft needs to be accelerated, a very long runway would be necessary and speed would be very high during taking off. The flaps at the back of the wing help to generate the necessary lift. This also reduces the speed for take off. In addition, the distance for acceleration will also be shortened.

But now there is the factor wind. The necessary speed for take off is not the speed the plane has on the runway on the ground. Because speed is important for taking off and flying compared to the velocity of the air. And this air flow above the wing is affected by the wind.

In an aircraft with tailwind, the air flows together with the aircraft, thereby reducing the speed of the aircraft against the air. Therefore, an aircraft must reach higher speed on the ground in the event of tailwind.

It is the other way around, when there are headwinds. The aircraft needs to be accelerated to a lower speed compared to the ground. The advantage is that an aircraft also has to be slowed down less strongly in the event of an aborted take-off. This reduces the braking distance.

The stronger the headwind, the lower the speed of an aircraft on the ground and the more remaining runway is left.

By the way, the same applies to landing. Also in this case, the tailwind extends the braking distance and the headwind shortens it.

Therefore, strong headwinds are very good for take off and landing.


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