[Video] F/A-18B Hornet jets take off in 30 – 40 knot crosswind

Two Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet jets take off in 30 – 40 knot crosswind from Illawarra Regional Airport in Australia

Filmed at Wing Over Illawarra airshow 2014, at Illawarra Regional Airport, in New South Wales, on May 4, the following footage shows two RAAF F/A-18B Hornets taking off in strong crosswinds from the airfield located about 50 kilometers to the southeast of Sydney, Australia.

Strong crosswinds prevented the majority of aerobatic displays at WOI airshow. Nevertheless, the two Hornets were able to launch, even if sensibly shaken by the 30 – 40 knot crosswind!

Note the skid marks (or tracks left in the dust) left on the runway by two Hornets!


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Sure the lateral component is less than 30kts…otherwise they’d be exceeding the max crosswind limit as stated in NATOPS FA-18ABCD manual

    • Right. And thanks to excessive thrust or in technical terms, thrust-to-weight ratio.

  2. First pilot left skid marks all the way down the runway, likely from being pushed sideways. Pilot #2 had the disadvantage of lining up on the downwind side of the runway and maintained a roughly straight takeoff roll (perhaps because he had no choice – no room left for error) and did not leave behind any rubber. Pilot #2 for the win.

  3. That was some of the poorest crosswind technique I’ve seen…the lead needs to get back to flight school! Unbelievable!

    • Without knowing what gusts he was experiencing at the time it’s impossible to comment on how good his technique was. Also interesting to see the second jet cough when ingesting exhaust from the first.

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