Ever wonder if you have the necessary “exceptional skill and alertness” required to land in crosswinds greater than the maximum demonstrated value published in your Cirrus POH.

An NTSB accident report found the PIC of an SR22 at fault for running off the side of a runway while landing in stiff crosswinds. The probable cause was “the pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing in a gusting crosswind”. The report goes on to state the winds at the time were reported as 26020G28 resulting in a gusting crosswind component of 26kts—exceeding the Cirrus’ maximum demonstrated value of 21kts. The FAA certifies each Cirrus model using a factory test pilot who then demonstrates the maximum crosswind a pilot “with no exceptional skill or alertness” can safely handle in that particular Cirrus model (in this case 21kts).

Takeaway: A Part 91 PIC (General Aviation) could exceed the max demonstrated crosswind component but doing so puts one on the slippery slope to 91.13 (careless and reckless operation of an aircraft) after an accident as the vast majority of GA pilots lack the necessary “exceptional skill and alertness” to do so. Additionally, a flight instructor who intentionally seeks out crosswinds exceeding the Cirrus’ max demonstrated value while providing instruction instills Macho behavior in that student, one of the five hazardous attitudes (remember Primacy?) and possible FAA certificate action in the event of an accident (remember 91.13?).

Fortunately there were no injuries to the occupants.

Remember the pilot’s credo: When in doubt you can always go-around to seek fairer winds.


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