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Old 05-13-2023, 07:23 AM
RayJr RayJr is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 48
Default RV3 Gusty Crosswinds

A few months ago I posted asking about transition training into an RV3. Im happy to report Im now about 6 hours into RV3 flying. You guys were so helpful with tips on getting started(thanks again) I thought Id see what you thought about my new question.

Last night I was landing with a 15kG22 wind about 50 degrees off the runway. The crosswind wasnt an issue but I found the gusts to be a handful. The plane always feels light and nimble but felt especially light in these conditions. It was bouncing around more than I enjoyed trying to get it on the ground.

I have been flying over the fence at about 70mph with full flaps and landing on three point so far. Almost always in a side slip of some degree. I assume more speed was justifiable in this situation. I didnt feel the need to go back and immediately trying again after getting on the ground.

Im wondering what your SOPs for gusty crosswind days might be. And what you consider too windy for RV3 operations. Just a reminder Im new to TW and new to Vans. I did TW training but saw little crosswind and no gusts during that training.

Thanks again for all the wisdom

Ray C
Ottawa, Ont
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Old 05-13-2023, 07:39 AM
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grubbat grubbat is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: 1GA2 Flyin N
Posts: 741
Default Modified 3 point

I never land any RV in 3 point. I use modified 3 point for lack of better terminology. Especially in gust conditions. Also, when windy, I use max aileron defection as my flap setting. The modified 3 point landing technique is basically landing nose up, and when the mains touch, immediate forward stick to keep mains planted while dumping flaps. Having the flaps set at max aileron provides some lift and perfect setting if you need to do go around. The -3 is a little more squirrelly than the other Tailwheel rv but not unmanageable.

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Old 05-13-2023, 07:40 AM
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DanH DanH is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: 08A
Posts: 11,509

Sounds like you're doing just fine!

I do not posses the magic golden arm, so I try to think about things. Opinion, but generally I decline to add approach speed because it is gusting.

On one hand, a sudden reduction of wind speed might result in a sudden sink rate. On the other hand, our airplanes respond quickly to additional throttle and/or pitch.

A higher approach speed can offset the chance of sudden sink, and may feel more positive. However, you gotta get rid of that velocity eventually, either floating along just above the runway, or rolling after touchdown. I don't think either is pleasant with a gusting crosswind. I prefer to get it down without a lot of float, and done, i.e. as close to stall as possible so it doesn't try to fly again with the next gust. As for ground roll, well, slower is just better.
Dan Horton
Barrett IO-390
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Old 05-13-2023, 07:53 AM
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ShannonEvans ShannonEvans is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Montezuma, KS
Posts: 58
Red face

Although I sold my RV3 in 2019, I have had to deal with some stout cross wind on landing. This is part of the deal in South West Kansas. I always used alot of aleron into the wind along with rudder to slip on touchdown. Also, I always three point landed in these conditions to get the tail stuck soon as possible. Your speeds seem about right. I have landed in 30 plus knot direct cross winds (But I DIDN'T enjoy it). Good transition training really helps.
Shannon Evans
Beechcraft Musketeer Super III
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Old 05-13-2023, 07:55 AM
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Roadjunkie1 Roadjunkie1 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Erie, Colorado
Posts: 605
Default Crosswind landings.......

Originally Posted by RayJr View Post
Last night I was landing with a 15kG22 wind about 50 degrees off the runway. The crosswind wasn’t an issue but I found the gusts to be a handful. The plane always feels light and nimble but felt especially light in these conditions. It was bouncing around more than I enjoyed trying to get it on the ground.

I have been flying over the fence at about 70mph with full flaps and landing on three point so far. Almost always in a side slip of some degree. I assume more speed was justifiable in this situation. I didn’t feel the need to go back and immediately trying again after getting on the ground.
Yeah: that was a sign that it was time to put the airplane in the hangar....

I was told sometime ago that, in some tail wheel instruction, wheel landings aren't being taught! Huh. Mistake. This is likely to get a number of different responses as to what works best but here is my take:

I probably have 100 hours in nose gear aircraft; the remainder of my hours since 1972 have been in tail wheel aircraft, including SuzieQ, my RV-4. By discussion heard here, a direct crosswind component of 15 kts is about maximum. I know I have landed in stronger (frequent flights to Texas at one point in my life and one memorable landing in Missouri) and things can get sporty. I will do a low approach over said runway. If I run out of rudder to stay straight on my overflight, I will not have enough rudder to make a good landing.

SuzieQ does not like to do three point landings. I can drag the tail wheel, then the wings quit and the (short type) main gear slams down on the runway. Most all my tail wheel landings are wheel landings, especially in the larger aircraft (C-180/185). The Cub likes them as well. All except with gusty winds, are tail pretty low; so near-three point. The debate is with what technique will you have more control once you quit flying. Gusting crosswind, I will land with one notch of flaps (20*) and a higher approach speed so I can "fly" her onto the runway, dumping the flaps as soon as I have all three on the runway. With speed, the tail will have more authority. "The tail has to quit flying sometime". Yeah, but I would like to have the authority until it does. My normal landing is full (40*) flaps on final, 65-70 over the fence, holding off until she settles down on the runway. Ground effect is a wonderful long as you don't land fast. Then you get to see what the other end of the runway looks like.

What will work is what you find works for you. You will get various opinions about what works best; you need to figure out what works for you and YOUR airplane.

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Last edited by Roadjunkie1 : 05-13-2023 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 05-13-2023, 09:11 AM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
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Yes, the RV-3 is light, and as importantly, the wing is closer to the ground than other models, so you get a little more ground effect float - just when you really want to touch down. This is one reason they can be a bit more difficult to three-point in a cross-wind…you’re getting slow, have poorer control because of that, and the cushion of air is keeping you from touching down. That all leads to a less comfortable place to be. Flaps also lower the stall speed, and you’re depending on hitting stall speed to stop flying wen you are three-pointing.

All that leads to the answer of why wheel landings have been the go-to technique in crosswinds for taildraggers for a hundred years. Honestly, I rarely three point the RV’s becasue tail-low wheel landings are so reliable and predictable. If I need to land really short, then sure - three point is the way to go, and I keep myself proficient on all possible ways to land.

For the RV-3, if the cross-winds are stiff, I leave the flaps up and use the controls I ned to wheel land it and not drift sideways at touchdown, then carefully pull of power to bring the tail down and plant it. Yup - it’s a transition point that lasts a couple of seconds - having a little more speed helps the control at that time, but if you have too much, you lift back off and float. If at any time you can’t make the airplane go where you want it to go, add power, lift off, and come back for another try.

It CAN be a bit uncomfortable early in your taildragger career, but practice makes you better - just ease in to it, and don’t bite off more crosswind than you can chew until you acquire the feel for it.
Paul F. Dye
Editor at Large - KITPLANES Magazine
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Old 05-14-2023, 04:28 AM
rv8or rv8or is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Norwich England
Posts: 242
Default Way I land my RV3

Various ideas and opinions, but most important with what ever method you find you are comfortable with practice and go slowly to gain the experience.

This is mine
Nearly all of my flying is off short grass strips so this is my 2p worth.
Like Shannon I have always used a three pointer and as soon as I touch I dump the flaps to keep me planted.
Speed control is very important using this method.
I don't leave my flaps up, although more comfortable on the approach I found I had no lift to dump after touchdown added to the higher touchdown speed it felt more squirrely on the ground and reduced the effect of the brakes.

Good luck and enjoy
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Old 05-14-2023, 05:34 AM
sailvi767 sailvi767 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 1,571

I would probably for the next 10 hours or so use a bit more conservative crosswind numbers. I stayed below 10 knots including gusts for the first 20 hours
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Old 05-15-2023, 06:47 AM
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Pat Hatch Pat Hatch is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Vero Beach, FL
Posts: 935

Call this a glider pilot technique if you will, but sometimes it helps to line up into the wind as much as the runway width will allow. Judgement call. You may have heard of the glider pilot that landed across the runway in a 90 crosswind and stopped with plenty of room. I'm not advocating this technique for the faint of heart, but I find myself cheating a bit this way if the crosswind warrants it. Yes, and a wheel landing should be in your repetoire!
Pat Hatch
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Old 05-15-2023, 07:27 AM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Battleground
Posts: 4,495

Some great advice given. Wheel landings are not difficult to learn. Once you are comfortable with them, you can practice cross wind landing technique without any cross wind. Set up final wing low into your imaginary wind, cross control appropriately to keep the ship straight, and touch down on your windward wheel.
Practice both right and left wind so you dont get handed.
While this is not a substitute for actual cross wind experience, it can help gain confidence and feel.
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