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Checking the windsock on short final

The tailwind thread here reminded me of this. Any significant tailwind, or a tailwind component, drastically lengthens the landing distance.

I wonder how many people check the windsock at the last moment?

I never used to but following two recent "experiences" of sudden wind reversals, which I got away with because the runway was long enough, I think I am going to start doing so.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I wonder how many people check the windsock at the last moment?

I couldn't tell you where to look for the windsock, even at airfields that I visit frequently, including those where I go training with students... I rely on the wind information from the tower and on what I see (or feel when there are gusts) during the approach.

EDDS - Stuttgart

I don't, but to be honest never thought to. Just went off tower information, but I do know where to look at my home base.

Aren't they supposed to be marked on plates so that you know where to look, might add wind to my short final RGB check.

I do since I made a very stupid mistake at a deserted airfield in the US. I somehow got the wind wrong and approached with a strong tailwind. I did notice that the airplane wouldn't slow down and was able to go around but that was just in time to prevent disaster...

In Germany every airfield is manned with AFIS on the radio so we get told which runway to use and an exact wind vector when on final. That makes for lazy pilots that don't think for themselves, hence my near accident in the US.

I do, at my home airfield we are only air/ground so I try and check out the windsock when crosswind or when turning onto final (so I know whether to extend or shorten the base leg part before turning onto final). What I also do is dial up the ATIS frequency for Luton sometime before landing at base, and get the wind from them so I have some idea where it is coming from, and what the strength is. The latter check is something that was instilled in me during IMCr training, which is more important when in IMC and you need to know the cloud base when doing a DIY let down.

If no windsock or no information, monitor GPS ground speed against airspeed late on the approach which in any significant wind will give a good indication head/tail wind.

In Germany every airfield is manned with AFIS on the radio so we get told which runway to use and an exact wind vector when on final. That makes for lazy pilots that don't think for themselves...

The real lazy pilots are the ones who ''listen but don't hear" i.e. get told the latest wind by tower but don't waste a single thought on it... When I train with students I sometimes ask them after landing: "What was the wind we had during approach?". 90 percent of the replies are "sorry, no idea"

EDDS - Stuttgart

In Germany every airfield is manned with AFIS on the radio

@Achima is that completly true? Do they have to be FISO qualified, I was under the impression that although Germany loves INFO in the callsign the only requirement is that the person on the ground can operate fire equpiment in the event of a crash. (Also they need to posess an R/T licence). I only ask because i was asked this weekend the difference between RADIO and INFORMATION in England.

Plus on that note in Germany what is the difference between INFO and INFORMATION?

Sorry, thread creep, but i think interesting questions... to me anyway.

I was under the impression that although Germany loves INFO in the callsign the only requirement is that the person on the ground can operate fire equpiment in the event of a crash. (Also they need to posess an R/T licence).

This is correct. All they need is a radio license. (Until a few years ago they needed to hold at least a valid PPL, but that is not longer necessary). Even the qualification for operating the fire equipment is not mandatory if there is someone else available who can drive the fire truck.

Plus on that note in Germany what is the difference between INFO and INFORMATION?

Information is enroute traffic information (and aispace information and everything else like filing flight plans while airborne) from FIS. Never never never make the mistake of calling them INFO, some of them take that as a personal offense ;-) After all, they are trained air traffic controllers and not flying club members on radio duty...

EDDS - Stuttgart

Never never never make the mistake of calling them INFO

A good thing to know, it could easily have happened to me. Thanks!

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium
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