I recently explained how approaches to RWY 13 in Hong Kong Kai Tak airport could be spectacular, thrilling and somehow dangerous, especially with crosswinds.
I’ve often discussed crosswind (xwind) approaches (type “crab” in the search box to find the related posts) and explained that a common procedure used with xwind components, the aircraft is “crabbed” (meaning that a WCA, Wind Correction Angle, is applied by aligning nose and tail with the wind direction while the aircraft is following a different course).
Just before touchdown, the pilot usually reduces the WCA angle in order to prevent landing gear damages; however the “decrab” is extremely important on dry runways, because of the side load that could stress the gear on the gear, while it is not that important on wet runways.
Decrab is the phase of the landing with xwind in which the airplane is vulnerable to the gustings and for this reason, all aircraft have to apply cross-controls: left rudder, right aileron (if wind is coming from starboard) meaning rudder and aileron in opposite directions.
This doesn’t mean that the aircraft has always to lower the wing on the upwind side, but this may be required to keep the aircraft on the runway even though many experienced pilots landing on dry runway are able to land with levelled wings.
Crab and decrab must be applied by all kind of aircraft. People often thinks that only civilian wide bodies have to apply a WCA but also small fighter plane have to aling the nose with the wind direction as the following images, taken by Giuseppe Ferraro, show.
Giuseppe visited Trapani in July 2009 and took some interesting photographs of the local based F-16s landing with crosswinds.
The following pictures are not crosswinds-related but show the 37° Stormo operations in a normal day of activity at Trapani – Birgi airbase.
On Jun. 26 and 27, Matteo Marianeschi attended the Zeltweg Air Power 2009, in Styria, Austria. Here’s a selection of pictures he took at the airshow (that saw the first official appearance of the Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon) and at the local aviation museum.
On Aug. 3, 2009, a General Atomics Predator A Unmanned Air Vehicle, belonging to the 28° Gruppo of the 32° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF), was satellite-guided from its homebase in Amendola to Decimomannu, where it landed after 8 flight hours (actually there were two aircraft flying: IP05 and IP06). Operation “Shardan 2009″ (lasting until Aug. 7) was aimed to test for the first time the possibility to remotely control the unmanned aircraft. So far both in Italy (where the aircraft was used for monitoring purposes during the recent G8 at L’Aquila) and in Afghanistan the Predator the aircraft has operated from the same base, taking off and landing from either Amendola or Herat (home of the ISAF Joint Air Task Force). With mission “Strega 01″, flown on Aug. 3, from Amendola to Decimomannu, Italy became the only European nation to have the capability to operate “remotely” UAVs like the Predator. This capability will be soon exploited to control the aircraft flying over Afghanistan directly from Italy.
A series of corridors have been drawn to interconnect Amendola with both Decimomannu, Sigonella and Trapani without interfering with the other traffic. However, in the near future, Italy expects also to freely fly new Predator B, that should be taken on charge by the end of this year, over the Mediterranean Sea, within the Italian airspace. The B version is capable of flying at FL500 above the other traffic, meaning that, at that altitude, it can cross the airspace between the Transit Corridors. The aircraft will be also used for for border and immigration control, anti-terrorism, event surveillance, etc.
Ugo Crisponi was in Decimomannu on Aug. 3 to observe the arrival of the Predator and took the following pictures of the event.
Below, the profile by Ugo Crisponi of AVIATIONGRAPHIC.COM, showing the Predator of the Italian Air Force.
As explained in a previous post, Dutch military helicopters have been deploying to Frosinone, Italy, homebase of the 72° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) to conduct training activities in the mountainous areas located around the Italian airport. Tactical low level flights are needed to keep the currencies required to be employed in Afghanistan. Following the AH-64D Apache that visited Frosinone at the beginning of April, 3 CH-47 Chinook of 298 Sqn and 3 AS535U2 Cougar of the 300 Sqn of the KLu (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, the Royal Netherlands Air Force) deployed to the Italian airbase during the first two weeks of June during the operation named “High Blaze” that involved 90 military. The CH-47 performed, on average, 2 daily missions lasting around 3.5 FH (Fligh Hours) while the AS535U2 performed 3 daily 2 FH missions. As usual, when deployed to Frosinone, the Dutch detachment is autonomous; the 72° Stormo provides only the logistic support (food, fire-fighting, ATC services, and Force Protection).
On Jun. 11, Giovanni Maduli was given the possibility to visit the Dutch detachment and take the following pictures.