what about the "wind gust increase" setting? What's the maximum setting we should strive to handle? Also see the new question at the end of this post.
I'm kind of surprised that there isn't more discussion about landing in unpredictable, gusty wind conditions. I'm not a real pilot, just a relatively new sim flyer. Maybe in the real world, you just avoid these conditions. But you feel like the more you are able to handle bad conditions, the better you will be in easier conditions. Anway, here's what I'm finding:
Seems like much of what you learn for normal landings just doesn't apply anymore. For one thing, there is so much pitching, bucking, pitching and yawing that flying some pretty, precise approach is out of the question. If you do math, it's kind of like trying to filter out statistical noise from the main trend. Sometimes you can't even see the runway, so when it comes into view, you just want to keep it generally in the correct area, which depends on the cross wind. But you are not going to be able to accurately counter every unpredictable gust of wind.
In normal approaches, if you push the stick forward to keep on glide path, you back off the throttle to maintain correct speed. If you pull back on the stick, you need to increase throttle to maintain correct speed. The problem with high winds is that throttle is what keeps you from getting blown off course sideways, and 50-60 knots of wind running over the wings is a lot of lift.
So if you need to increase throttle to get back on course, adding that to 50-60 knots of wind starts seriously increasing your lift and wrecking your glide path descent. So whereas in normal conditions stick forward = reduce throttle and stick back = increase throttle, in these conditions it's almost the complete opposite. Increase throttle = stick forward and decrease throttle = stick backwards.
Another difference is that there is no more flare. You can no longer ease up on the throttle as you approach touchdown because that is what keeps you from being blown off the runway. Furthermore, with 50-60 knots of wind running over the wings, that plus keeping the throttle up to stay over the runway means the plane doesn't really drop very much. You have to push the stick forward to get it to drop at all rather than pull up slightly to flare. Pull back at all and you'll rise like a balloon so fast it's the end of your attempt. But it's very hard to push forward the right amount and avoid blowing up your landing gear. (There's a lot of delay in response to input)
In normal landings, when you finally get your wheels down, you throttle down and apply reverse thrusters if you have it. Well, forget about that in really windy conditions. Even if you get all wheels down on the runway in these conditions, you will still get blown off the runway if you throttle down. I haven't tried it, but logically if you get blown off the runway pointed sideways with zero throttle, you will get blown off even faster if you apply reverse thrusters. Once your wheels are down pointed sideways, you may have to apply more throttle to keep yourself on the runway. (It appears that your linear speed parallel with the runway is so low that landing sideways, doesn't do anything to the landing gear) If you do apply throttle with the wheels down, make sure you push the stick all the way forward first, or you will find that you have just taken off into the air again. I can't even see the runway at this point, I just look for a piece of it to appear in the lower left or right corner of the window. I just learned about quick look feature. That may help a lot. But haven't tried it yet.
This whole scenario feels more akin to landing a helicopter than an airplane. You feel like you are just hovering over the runway, pointed sideways, being jostled about, moving down the runway at a walking pace, with so much lift that even when the plane is on the ground, it's just barely putting any weight down.
This also brings up the question of landing (or I suppose taking off) with high tail winds. This would seem to be a very serious problem. If the normal landing speed is say 100 knots and there is a 60 knot tail wind, you'd have to go 160 knots to maintain the normal amount of landing lift? That would be scary. How much faster than normal is within reason to land? Does each plane have a specification for maximum allowable tailwind for landing/takeoffs?