- Apr 10, 2007
- Fresno, California
When I lived in Riverside, I used to love to go out when the Santa Ana Winds were blowing (you can look them up… lots of references in Wikipedia, meteorological citations and even popular literature) and practice my crosswind takeoffs and landings, usually in Cubs or Champs, and sometimes in Cessnas or Stearmans or even ulralights.what is the biggest cross wind you landed it?
When the winds blew, they were ALMOST a direct crosswind with just enough angle to change our preferred runway from 24 to 06. The crosswind component was often in the 30-50 mph range and gusting, but the air was crystal clear. You could see fleets of commercial tractor-trailer trucks laying on their side on the nearby freeway. The final 10-30 feet of your descent to landing was in the leeward side of the hangars, trees and terrain, so the wind got a little slower but more turbulent.
Depending on the strength, landings were done with an extreme crab down the runway but with a traverse from the downwind edge to the upwind edge (and even using some of the grass along the edges). The slower planes could even land directly across our narrow runway, but that took away the fun and challenge of landing crosswind. When they were strong, you could even hover a Cessna 150 and do a vertical powered descent to a no-roll touchdown. Actually, there was a bit of a landing roll because the last 20’ or so was in the tree and hangar slowed winds. The last hundred feet of descent also required an aggressive increasing of throttle and AOA because of the ground-induced wind gradient.
I did that often whenever those seasonal winds blew. It was a blast. The landings didn’t scare me, but ground taxiing back to the tie downs did. The ultralight required at least two people on each wing to walk you in.
the other thing that was fun to do in the Santa Ana’s was to take friends up to a safe altitude, usually in a Cessna 150 or 172, because they were faster than the Cubs and Champs, pull the plane up into a powered hover over a spot on the ground, then roll off into a 180° turn to a downwind direction. The sensation when (almost instantly) accelerating from zero ground speed to 150 mph ground speed was amazing.
VB can probably tell you some of his own Santa Ana wind stories.