Why Can Planes Still Land In High Wind?

fog plane

How windy does it have to be for a plane to be diverted?

Mystery Hour Question

How windy does it have to be for a plane to be diverted? Hussain, Slough

Answer

Name: Jez, Camberley

Qualification: Air traffic controller

Answer: It’s not to do with the ultimate wind speed, it’s to do with cross-wind component. We’ve been 737 landing in 46 to 48 knot gusts even though the 737 rating is 38 knots. Because the wind is about 250 degrees, with our runway at about 220 degrees, the cross-wind component on a 40 knot gust is about 12 knots. The operators will have their own standard operating guidelines so while the 737 can take a 38 knot crosswind, Ryanair for example, want their customers to be more comfortable, so have an operating procedure of 33 knots.

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