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Why do schools teach into-wind engine checks regardless of wind speed?

The other day:

Departing aircraft near the windsock, so you can see the runway start and the wind direction.

The Cessna is #1 at the holding point and sensibly did its checks without doing the “360 degree holding point aerobatics”.

The low wing plane at #2 is pointing into the wind but now has to do a turn-around, for which there won’t be enough space if #3 arrives and doesn’t leave enough room…

Wind was 9kt.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Why do schools teach into-wind engine checks regardless of wind speed?

From what wind speed would it matter in your opinion, Peter?

I personally try to do it in the general direction of the wind (within 90 deg), in a place where I do not blow or block anyone. This is what I was taught at my school. But most pilots at my home field try to match the windsock direction very closely, even if it means an awkward piruette.

Hajdúszoboszló LHHO

Why do schools teach into-wind engine checks regardless of wind speed?

Honestly, this is the first time ever in 29 years of powered flying (including 24 years instructing) that I hear about this… Good to be reminded that one can learn new things even past the age of 50
Some instructors around here (including me – but only at untowered fields) teach their students to turn the aircraft a little bit into the approach direction (i.e. away from the wind!) so that one can see the approaching traffic and pick the right moment to enter the runway. But engine checks into wind? WTF?

Last Edited by what_next at 23 Apr 20:34
EDDS - Stuttgart

It’s actually in the POH of some types that I have flown, including the C172 and other common primary trainers.

Hajdúszoboszló LHHO

From what wind speed would it matter in your opinion, Peter?

My objective was to seek opinions and start a discussion

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I can imagine that positioning yourself with a tailwind may to some degree prevents cooling of the engine, or at least not help. But I do not think it matters much as far as cooling is concerned at those low power settings we are talking about. I at least have never experienced any issues with engine cooling on the ground.

It will however make some difference to the aircraft positioned behind you at run-up that you turn at angle to the taxiway, preferably into the wind (so normally NOT facing the approach end), in order not to send you prop-blast his way.

In a high-wing, after run-up, I would normally position myself so I can see the approach sector before entering the runway.

Last Edited by Aviathor at 23 Apr 20:59

It’s in my POH. I do turn into the wind, + or – 90 degrees, but don’t make a fetish of it. Usually there’s room in run up areas.

Tököl LHTL

When I first started flying in Germany, I was taught indeed to point the nose in the general direction of the wind if practicable. We would then point into the approach after the run-up to check for traffic, essentially zickzacking from left to right or vice versa at the holding point.

what_next wrote:

But engine checks into wind? WTF?

Isn’t the reasoning here the same as when you park the aircraft or taxi to the fuel pump? I find it’s generally considered good practice to come to a halt into wind. When you are taxiing, you can use the flight controls to reduce the effect of a crosswind on the aircraft. When parking, you cannot. Of course, when doing the run-up you could still use the flight controls but it seems like a good idea to me to do this into wind if it is practicable at all.

Obviously, the relevance of this is rather academic at low wind speeds so I find Peter’s question appropriate: At what wind speed would you consider it?

Essen-Mülheim (EDLE), Düsseldorf (EDDL), Paderborn (EDLP), Mönchengladbach (EDLN), Germany

Well, usually I am more concerned about the traffic in the pattern, so I turn the aircraft away from the wind at the holdig point during run up. However, when it was very hot I’ve had problems with the constant speed governor becoming too hot, so it became basically a very flat fixed pitch prop after takeoff. But I only have this problem on the hottest days and if there is long taxi etc.

I generally support turning into wind if it is convenient, e.g. run up on the apron somewhere, or if the wind speed is high, because otherwise the ailerons/elevator get slammed around a lot in the turbulent air (caused by propwash vs. wind).

Last Edited by ArcticChiller at 23 Apr 21:07

JnsV wrote:

… including the C172 and other common primary trainers.

“My” flying school does (unfortunately) not operate a C172 any more (only 1C52 and Pa28 and Pa44) but the first C172 POH that google found for me ( ) does not say that the engine run up must be made facing into wind (page 30). The only thing that might be interpreted in that way is this bit under “Warm up”: Since the engine is closely cowled for efficient in-flight engine cooling, precautions should be taken to avoid overheating during prolonged engine operation on the ground.

EDDS - Stuttgart
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