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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:38 pm 
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Does anyone have documentation of the Crosswind Component or Limitations for the following Navy types?
F4U
F4F
F6F
F8F
SBD
SB2C
TBM
AD4
What would be a modern realistic Limitation if it was never published officially?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:29 pm 
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Here is my take. I have manuals of many of those aircraft as well as many other W.W.II aircraft. The common theme for all of them is that there are generally no published crosswind limitations - at least in the official Pilot Operating Handbooks. Now, granted, maybe there were published limits at the local level or the RAG's prior to employment to the operational units, I don't know.

From my many manuals that I have, I have come to the following conclusions:

1) In almost all U.S. W.W.II era flight manuals, there are no published limits. Remember, this was a different era back then. It was all about pumping out the most amount of aircraft and trained pilots to the fronts. Safety was not a primary consideration because both were considered "disposable" and easily replaceable.

2) Due to this mindset, I've never seen published crosswind limits in any of the POH's that I have for those aircraft and even Army Air Corps aircraft as well. Aviation safety, as we know it today, didn't really become a primary consideration until after the Korean War. In the manuals I have, there seems to be a marked difference from about 1954 and onwards. It was at this point, that safety, performance and operating limitations seemed to play a more prominent role in being published in many of these manuals. I'm guessing a lot of that has to do with the amount of time it took to actually flight test crosswind limitations at Pax River and/or Muroc back then. With the war effort in full swing, the thought of wasting valuable test and engineering time on something so seemingly insignificant to saving lives was probably considered trivial. Different era, different mindset type of thing.

3) I have many friends who fly many different warbirds. Anytime I ask them a question like "what is your crosswind limitation on this aircraft?", I usually get an answer like, "Well, I start feeling uncomfortable when the crosswind component starts approaching XX knots". The way they answer that indicates to me that it is an unknown, and completely dependent upon pilot experience and comfort level. This is in synch with #2 from above.

4) Some organizations do have published limits on those aircraft you mention. They are "in-house" numbers developed for the experience level of the pilots that fly their aircraft. As an example, the CAF, has definite limits. I know a pilot who used to fly their Wildcat. IIRC, he told me that their crosswind limits are really low for that aircraft - something like 4 knots crosswind component from the left and 7 or 8 from the right, or something similar. He told me that the aircraft is capable of more, but they just try to have conservative limits since sometimes they have relatively inexperienced Wildcat pilots flying the aircraft.

5) I don't think you will find any definite published limits in any of the POH's from those aircraft, unless they were published in relatively "modern" times, like post-Korean War era or later. I don't have an AD-4 POH, but I do have a '72 version for the A-1 E/G/H/J POH. In there it states that the maximum recommended limit is 20 knots of crosswind component for the Skyraider.

6) Because it appears that virtually none of these aircraft have been officially tested to their crosswind limitations during flight testing, it all boils down to the experience and comfort level of the pilot flying it. When I learned how to fly taildraggers many years ago, my instructor, a former W.W.II Pilot, told me the following when I asked him the crosswind limitation on the aircraft I was flying:

"Wheel land the aircraft and do whatever it takes utilizing opposite rudder and aileron into the wind to keep the aircraft tracking straight with no drift, no crab and no sideload. If you have not run out of either rudder or aileron authority, you can attempt the landing. If you are getting close to running out or have gusty winds, or it exceeds your comfort level, go-around and divert to somewhere else."

I've used that as my mantra for flying various taildraggers over the years and it appears to work. That might be the mindset one could use when flying some of these old aircraft. I would also go seek the pilots who have a lot of hours in these aircraft. Undoubtedly, they have experiences that can give you some sense of what maximum crosswind limitations to use.

7) Even if you have some definite limitation numbers, you can exceed them by using very advanced landing techniques. I learned to fly one of my taildraggers by employing an old Bushpilot trick of landing in a "curved approach" where you don't land in a straight line. You can either land diagonally across the runway, or land in a curved ground track starting on the downwind side of the runway and finishing on the upside side. Both of these techniques can decrease the effective crosswind component substantially and allow you to land with a crosswind out of limits. As both of these are very advanced techniques, they are not something to be used lightly. Even though I can employ them, I've never had to use them out of necessity and consider them "emergency use" maneuvers. I would only use these if I absolutely had to get the aircraft on the ground right away or didn't have enough gas to divert. Then, of course, for multi-engine aircraft, you can use asymmetrical power settings to negate crosswind effects. As you know, there are many, many tricks you can use to help you out to decrease the effective crosswind component, thus rendering crosswind limitations to guidance and not necessarily hard limits, never to be crossed.

8. As far as a "modern limitation", that is completely dependent upon a multitude of variables - too many to count. I would say, however, that every aircraft is probably different and should have different limits. In my opinion, I would be dead set against a "blanket limit" applicable to all aircraft. Every aircraft is unique and should have limitations reflecting that. If all aircraft were the same, the FAA would not require specific, individualized training for aircraft and things such as "type ratings", "EAA's", "tailwheel endorsements", "complex endorsements", etc., wouldn't exist.

Just my 2 cents, for whatever that's worth.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:18 pm 
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Allow an obvious observation...
Perhaps the Navy didn't really care...since the carrier could almost always be aligned with the wind.

Perhaps they also figured once you were qualified to fly a mighty warbird with their usual torque and power issues, you could handle a lousy crosswind. :)

What would be interesting is to see if there was a limitation for their (land based) SBJ, N3N, N3S trainers...which you would assume would take into account not only aircraft type but the experience level of the pilots.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:56 pm 
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The Navy had a lot of aircraft based on land, so it was still a big deal. I have some Navy N2S videos where they had the huge circular grass fields and there was no reason to land crosswind. Also, every WW II former Navy airfield I can think of has the triangular design with three runways. Maybe a pilot would have a maximum of a 45 degree crosswind.
No doubt they sometimes diverted to an Army Airfield went somewhere else to land and let the winds subside.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:54 pm 
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Most wartime AAF fields also had multiple runways.

My point was the Navy policy may have been ship based-centric...to coin a word.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:34 am 
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The Navy taildraggers I've flown has lockable tailwheels just like the AAF..


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:25 pm 
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OD/NG wrote:
8. As far as a "modern limitation", that is completely dependent upon a multitude of variables - too many to count. I would say, however, that every aircraft is probably different and should have different limits. In my opinion, I would be dead set against a "blanket limit" applicable to all aircraft. Every aircraft is unique and should have limitations reflecting that. If all aircraft were the same, the FAA would not require specific, individualized training for aircraft and things such as "type ratings", "EAA's", "tailwheel endorsements", "complex endorsements", etc., wouldn't exist.


Subtle nuance, but most modern Part 23 aircraft do not have a maximum crosswind limitation, rather the POH/AFM includes the maximum crosswind component "demonstrated to be safe for taxiing, takeoff, and landing" and cannot be less than 0.2 VS0. This requirement was (prior to 14 CFR 23 Amdt 64 rewrite [i.e. ASTM Standards]) defined in 23.233(a).

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFAR.nsf/0/4DE7128AC0AA833185256687006D0680?OpenDocument

This certification requirement merely states that an aircraft manufacturer is required to demonstrate the crosswind capability of the aircraft and establishes the minimum allowable crosswind component that the demonstration needs to be completed with. While the number published in the POH/AFM shows what has been demonstrated, it does not indicate that it is all the aircraft is capable of. Manufacturers may choose to expand the envelope and seek out stronger crosswinds to include a larger max demonstrated crosswind component number in the book (i.e. for marketing/competitive purposes). Since it is not a limitation, this information is not listed in Section 2 (Limitations) and typically contained elsewhere, such as Section 4 (Normal Procedures) for those POH/AFMs following GAMA publications guidance.

As OD/NG pointed out, every aircraft will have it's own "limit" as to how much crosswind it (not the pilot) can handle. One airplane might be rudder limited at it's max crosswind capability, while another may be aileron limited. A function of both lateral and directional control of each individual aircraft design.


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