Crosswinds - What's your personal limit?

As we all know, “demonstrated crosswind” numbers are not limiting. I am wondering what the other pilots out there use for their personal crosswind limits. (I am mainly talking piston singles here).

I have heard some different schools of thought:

  1. Don’t be a “test pilot”. Don’t attempt to land in anything that exceeds the max demonstrated crosswind component.

  2. If you have enough rudder authority to align with the runway at flaring speed, go ahead and try it, but be very ready for a go-around should it become necessary.

  3. Come up with a number somewhere between the two.

Where does everyone stand on this issue.


Crosswind limitation? What’s that?

Rudder authority? That’s why God invented the crab.

Keep it on the runway? Always aim at the upwind edge of the runway and lots of differential breaking.

When the crosswind exceeds 40 kts, that when I start to perk up.

my thought on the matter is that the max demonstated is the number that during testing the test pilot had no more available rudder authority to align the aircraft with the center line.

two things come to mind, this was a brand new fresh off the lines aircraft and a “test” pilot with undoubtable more experience than me.

My personal feeling regarding “by the Book” numbers is +10% in my favor. If i am calculating T/O or landing distance i add at least 10% for error. because i might not have the perfect teqnique or taking into account the age of the aircraft i.e. brakes, engine weare etc.

I always leave a little cushion room just in case.

From practical experience, it seems like the factory was not even using the rudder when they came up with the “max demonstrated crosswind” number.

I know that a 182 has enough rudder to align with the runway at 30+ knots of crosswind.

Takeoff and landing distances - I agree with your point. ASF actually recommends adding 50%!

I’ve always understood that “demonstrated” was just that, it was the maximum crosswind they could find during that phase of certification, not when the test pilot ran out of controls.

Exactly, the maximum demonstrated crosswind is exactly that, not a limitation. It was whatever the crosswind component was the day the test pilot went flying. That being said, one should always fly within their own ability, just because the airplane can do it, doesn’t mean the pilot can.

If you have an incident on landing the insurance company will not pay a claim if you were exceeding demonstrated x-wind

That’s not always the case and would depend on specific language excepting such losses in the policy. The demonstrated crosswind numbers are not a “do not exceed” figure", they’re a suggestion.

Think of it as akin to those speed signs we see on highway turns giving suggested “safe” speed limits for the turn’s radius. They don’t require that speed, merely suggest it as the safest course of action.