Wintertime winds in Chicago can be brutal. It’s cold, cloudy, and often windy. In fact, it’s not uncommon for winds to gust upwards of 30-40 knots (about 35-45 mph) during and after a winter storm. Chicago is known as the ‘windy city’ after all.
The Curious Spotter, an avgeek and spotter on Youtube, recently posted a video that captures the thrill of watching jets takeoff at O’hare during gusty crosswinds. The video features takeoffs with winds averaging 20 knots with gusts upward of 35 knots. In his own words, “In this video I was plane spotting from the top a parking garage. Winds were blowing from a 270 degree angle 20 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. The takeoff runway was 22L which means that the wind was blowing the aircraft at a 50 degree angle to the right relative to the center line of the runway.” That means that the jets featured in this video had a crosswind component of up to 27 knots.
Most jets are permitted to safely takeoff with crosswinds of 25 to 30 knots depending on the limitations of the particular aircraft.
Professionalism on display with the crosswind takeoff video
If you’ve ever piloted an airplane, you know that crosswind takeoffs and landings are some of the most challenging aspects of flying the plane. For professional pilots, crosswind takeoffs and landings are all part of a days work and they are fairly common.
In the video, you’ll see that there is a slight variation of takeoffs and landing quality. Most likely it’s due to the gusty nature of the winds that day in Chicago. But every takeoff is safe at a minimum. And some of the departures in this footage are downright textbook in crosswind technique.
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Watching this video is a testament to the professionalism of the pilots that fly passengers daily. They make it look easy and that should build your confidence that your next flight (regardless of weather conditions) will be safe, thanks to the many talented men and women who will fly your jet.