Crosswind Approach and Landing for Multiengine Aircraft

The multiengine airplane is often easier to land in a crosswind than a single-engine airplane due to its higher approach and landing speed. In any event, the principles are no different between singles and twins. Prior to touchdown, the longitudinal axis must be aligned with the runway centerline to avoid landing gear side loads.


The two primary methods, crab and wing-low, are typically used in conjunction with each other. As soon as the airplane rolls out onto final approach, the crab angle to track the extended runway centerline is established. This is coordinated flight with adjustments to heading to compensate for wind drift either left or right. Prior to touchdown, the transition to a side-slip is made with the upwind wing lowered and opposite rudder applied to prevent a turn. The airplane touches down on the landing gear of the upwind wing first, followed by that of the downwind wing, and then the nose gear. Follow-through with the flight controls involves an increasing application of aileron into the wind until full control deflection is reached.

The point at which the transition from the crab to the sideslip is made is dependent upon pilot familiarity with the airplane and experience. With high skill and experience levels, the transition can be made during the round out just before touchdown. With lesser skill and experience levels, the transition is made at increasing distances from the runway. Some multiengine airplanes (as some single-engine airplanes) have AFM/POH limitations against slips in excess of a certain time period; 30 seconds, for example. This is to prevent engine power loss from fuel starvation as the fuel in the tank of the lowered wing flows towards the wingtip, away from the fuel pickup point. This time limit must be observed if the wing-low method is utilized.

Some multiengine pilots prefer to use differential power to assist in crosswind landings. The asymmetrical thrust produces a yawing moment little different from that produced by the rudder. When the upwind wing is lowered, power on the upwind engine is increased to prevent the airplane from turning. This alternate technique is completely acceptable, but most pilots feel they can react to changing wind conditions quicker with rudder and aileron than throttle movement. This is especially true with turbocharged engines where the throttle response may lag momentarily. The differential power technique should be practiced with an instructor before being attempted alone.