In Pilots We Trust: Video Demonstrates Boeing 787 Crosswind Landing Tests

Travel News — By Candice Walsh on September 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm

If you’re among the number of people terrified to soar among the clouds, the following video may help ease your mind.

What does a test pilot do? They fly new and modified planes to determine whether or not they’re safe to put into the air. Essentially, every time a test pilot steps into a plane to be tested, the outcome is never certain. How’s that for a dream job? Test pilots have been flying the new Boeing 787 for 1,800 hours so far. The ultimate challenge, however, is figuring out how the plane behaves in crosswinds, among the most treacherous of winds in aviation.

Keflavik Airport in Iceland has lately become the hot spot for crosswind testing, and recently, the 787 Dreamliner test flight team went looking for winds that would shift the flight of their craft at a perpendicular angle. Most airlines wouldn’t even consider landing in such conditions. Fortunately, most pilots are ballsy enough to give it a whirl – it’s a matter of pride, after all.


This test is vital because pilots need to know how strong a crosswind can blow while still managing a safe landing. This is usually determined by how much the control surfaces (like the ailerons, rudder and elevator) help keep the airplane flying straight along the runway without crabbing or slipping in the wind.

And if you’re wondering just how important negotiating a crosswind in a real-life situation, just check out this crazy video from an attempted landing in Hamburg.


So really, is there any reason to doubt the capability of your pilot?

[Photo: Rennett Stowe]

Tags: airplanes, Boeing 787, Dreamliner, fear of flying, test pilots

    1 Comment

  • brian at newak airport says:

    This my second read in this site the previous one is on the “security breach at newark airport ” that was also very interesting as I have also visited that airport so was great to read about it .
    I think this kind of testing makes really good pilots though it is a bit nervous for new pilots but this is what makes them the best in the worlds.:)


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