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Video: Crosswind landings – where airline pilots earn their salary

As part of every aircraft certification testing, it has to undergo crosswind testing. Two preferred locations, known for their extreme crosswinds which occur with amazing regularity are both air force bases; Keflavik in Iceland and a remote base in Brazil.

Boeing recently conducted crosswind testing on the newest variant of the Dreamliner, the 787-9, which should be delivered this summer to launch customer Air New Zealand. The video below highlights how the team prepares for, and conducts the testing.

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Crosswind operations which are fairly regular in the commercial pilot’s life are where they earn their salaries. Turning the aircraft in the direction of the wind, the plane “crabs” at an angle (like a crab walks sidwards) as it descends to the runway, and at the very last the pilot straightens the plane to follow the runway direction. The first Dreamliners also underwent testing at Keflavik.

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This video shows the crosswind difficulties faced by all pilots at Germany’s Düsseldorf airport coupled with icy conditions on the runway.

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And this past winter, pilots operating at England’s Birmingham airport made smooth work of the extreme crosswind and turbulence. Would you like to be a passenger on one of these planes, filmed?

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So give a pat on the back to all those pilots who make our flight look smooth even in the roughest of conditions. Share your thoughts via a comment.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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