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Wind Shear Landing

Source: www.pilotworkshop.com/tips/wind_shear_landing.htm, Featuring Bob Martens

Subscriber Question:

"Flying into a grass field over trees I hit a drown draft and my Cessna 150 descended quickly to the ground. Fortunately my wings found ground effect and I landed ok. How can you tell if a downer is present and how should you handle it?" - Brian C.

Bob:

"Sounds like a scary landing! Wind shear has brought down everything from a Cessna 150 to a commercial jetliner. It's real and it's dangerous.

Windshear - a rapid change in wind direction or velocity.

The good news about wind shear is that we understand it much better today than we once did and we have greatly enhanced weather information. These are the two keys.

One, we need to understand wind shear and its effect on our aircraft. Two, we need to use all available information to AVOID wind shear. Yes, avoid wind shear.

That was the most important information I took from my wind shear training in the simulator. We did not train to fly through wind shear; we learned to recognize it and GO AROUND! Just think about how many of our bad landings might have been avoided had we done a judicious go around. I believe that the go around is the most underutilized maneuver in aviation.

Wind shear should not sneak up on us. The presence of strong gusty winds can alert us to its presence. If we did our planning correctly, we will be aware of these well ahead of time and plan accordingly. Use all sources, human and electronic to have the very best weather information possible. Not flying into an area that forecast wind shear conditions is always a viable option!

Most airplane manuals will recommend carrying additional airspeed in conditions that are conducive to wind shear. Consult the manual for flap settings and airspeed recommendations. Make sure you account for this extra speed in your performance planning.

All pilots should have a healthy respect for wind shear. It can bring down any airplane! Because of that we need to respect it and understand it."