Cessna 206 Cross-wind and Turbulence Notes Nick Reinhardt 2003

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Cessna 206 Cross-wind and Turbulence Notes

Nick Reinhardt


The 206 is very well behaved in turbulence and X-wind. Like the other single-engine Cessnas, you can get it on or off the ground down quite nicely in even a big wind. There are some things to be aware of, though, if you encounter gusts or wind-shear. It's mighty heavy, and you will need to keep the airplane flying, avoid stall/spin, etc. Always be prepared to add power, get the nose down, and if necessary go around, or go to a different airport with a runway more into the wind! Proper use of the rudder is essential at all times, especially when landing and when taking off or going around.

One thing stands out: if the 206 is held in a slip for any length of time, it will develop a very healthy sink rate, and it will do this rather faster than you might be used to! To compensate for side drift in a big x-wind, you really have to crank in aileron and stand on the rudder, and then, unless you take steps to counter the resulting rapid sink rate, this heavy machine will come down like a rock! Use a little power to keep the thing straightened out and coming down nicely, and especially, at the very end of the approach, be prepared to use power to cushion the landing and help keep the nose straight.
Completely power-off landing is not a good idea in this machine, anyway, but it's especially not a good idea in a big cross-wind! I don't think prolonged slips are a good idea either, but individual tastes may vary. What works best for me is to come in crabbing in, maintaining a balanced flight regime and a normal descent rate right down to tree-top height. I remove the crab and transition to a drift-correcting slip only at the very end, standing on the rudder if necessary and putting a wing down to get it lined up, while adding some power to keep a comfortable rate of descent and margin for a slight flare. The object is to get a good solid landing -- on the mains first!
With the 206 (or the 182) in a cross-wind, do not use full flaps, or maybe use only 10 – 20 degrees of flap. Given the comparatively low airspeeds vs. x-wind velocities possible with full flaps, you can develop some truly horrendous crab angles. That's not so bad in itself, but if there's any turbulence, you will get blown around like a leaf! On old 182's, there used to be a warning to avoid slips with flaps extended. I really don't think things have changed that much: you can still get blanking of the elevator surfaces in a slip, especially in turbulence, and then things can get wild. In a big wind, you don't need flaps anyway. In turbulent cross-wind conditions, full-stall, hold-it-off-to-the-very end, minimum air-speed, squeak-it-on landings are both unnecessary and dangerous. Cross-wind landings don't have to bee all that elegant: all you really have to do is accurately plant a main wheel and roll it on straight: if you can do that without dropping the airplane on its nose or letting it hit while drifting sideways, or letting the wind get under the upwind wing, the rest of the landing will work out OK!
In summary, in a cross-wind with either the 206 or the 182, approach the runway under control, using power. Run the engine up a bit toward the very last to counter excessive sink rate or potential inability to flare. Get the nose up to a proper (but not extreme) landing attitude, and let it land first on the upwind wheel. Then, as it touches, if the ailerons aren't already maxed out, crank in and hold full wing-down aileron. Also continue to hold enough back pressure to keep the weight off the nose-wheel. Once down, never try to brake unless the weight is securely on the mains! In both the 182 and 206: keep some back pressure on the yoke to hold the load off the nosewheel!
In other words, in a crosswind, don't relax and let all three wheels flop down level on the runway right after it first touches down, like some people do! Without back pressure, braking, if needed, will be poor. (Also, you may get a lot of shimmy if the nosewheel touches at too high a speed.) Use rudder to steer, be ready with the engine if it needs a shot of power, keep the weight off the nosewheel until you have slowed clear down, after which you can use both elevator and ailerons to keep the wind from getting under the upwind surfaces. In short, keep "flying the airplane" all through the rollout (and all through the taxi afterward!).
Runway widths and individual tastes may vary, but under heavy wind conditions, I also prefer to land diagonally across the runway, into the wind. You can certainly minimize the amount of drift correction as well as drastically cut down on the ground roll by landing diagonally. A diagonal path can help on takeoff too. (Note, however, that if you do decide to steer more in line with the runway, you must make any direction changes with the rudder (and power); never try to do it with the ailerons!).
In a big cross-wind, takeoff might have to take place one wheel at a time (from a curved takeoff path, perhaps), but once safely in the air, you need to take out all the drift corrections: in balanced flight (and with no particular accelerations or decelerations) the airplane doesn't care where the wind is coming from, and you certainly don't want to be trying to climbing out while holding it some kind of a slip! Immediatly set up balanced flight and crab your way out of there along the runway centerline or other ground reference path you might have been given.

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