A YouTube enthusiast recently recorded dramatic video that shows the moment a pilot lands an Emirates Airbus A380 — the world’s largest passenger plane — in heavy crosswind at the Dusseldorf International Airport in Germany.
Landing in high crosswind conditions is challenging. But it gets even more complicated when you are flying the A380, the world’s largest commercial plane. But the pilot in the video gives proof of his skills and training when he pulls off the landing with ease.
The airliner approaches the runway in a graceful, nearly slow-motion glide. The pilot struggles to steer the big bird buffeted in all directions, safely to landing.
The plane lands smoothly on its right hand-side wheels, albeit with a visible lurch, as the pilot fights to maintain control despite unfavorable crosswind landing conditions.
After the plane lands on its right wheels, the pilot straightens it in a jolting maneuver to the left.
The footage, uploaded to YouTube, on September 19, 2015 by YouTube user and airplane enthusiast Cargospotter, has gone viral online with more than 1.5 million views.
“I have filmed lots of crosswind landings within the past four years,” the YouTuber comments, “but this was the first time I was able to film an A380 crosswind Landing. All crosswind Landings are amazing but seeing an A380 fighting against the wind was something special. In addition to that the runway was very wet and the A380 touched down a little late.”
“All crosswind Landings are amazing but seeing an A380 fighting against the wind was something special.”
Despite the impression that crosswind landings are dangerous, experts say they are routine for trained pilots because there is usually a degree of crosswind at landing, the difference being only a matter of degrees.
Pilots go through hours of training to land in crosswind conditions using flight simulators, according to experts, and thus, they are familiar with the procedure.
Steven Draper, spokesperson for the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), told the Daily Mail that pilots undergo intensive training that helps them to master the skills of landing in light and heavy crosswinds.
Commenting on the footage, he said, “Landing in strong crosswinds or turbulence goes beyond the capabilities of the airplane’s automatic pilot. This is a good example of why a pilot should be alert and free from fatigue when landing, and be given the opportunity to develop excellent handling skills.”
“Pilots are highly trained and have to use their skills day-in-day-out, so this type of crosswind landing is nothing out of the ordinary.”
All aircraft have stated crosswind limits, thus pilots must ensure that crosswind conditions do not exceed the limit for their aircraft before landing. Where the aircraft’s limit is exceeded, the pilot aborts landing and may have to fly his plane to another airport where conditions are better.
The YouTube videos below show pilots landing under heavy crosswinds at the Madeira airport (Funchal Airport) in the island of Madeira, Santa Catarina, Portugal, earlier in the year.
The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial plane in operation with a length of 239ft (72.72m) and wing span of 262 ft (79.75m).
[Image: YouTube screengrab/Cargospotter]