dairy
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Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:27 pm

Today I wanted to spot in Frankfurt (EDDF), by its runway 18. But every departure took place on 7L, arrivals on 7R. RWY18 was closed the time I was there - and I was alone there - it was closed due to strong tailwinds: That's what I am supposing seeing the direction and strength of the wind by the wind cone.

Well, I know that aircrafts have to take off against the wind in optimal circumstances. But several times I have seen some aircrafts departing in the two directions (i.e. at ZRH) nearly at the same time, close after each other (but there surely was no strong winds).
It now brought me to the question where the concrete danger is, when aircrafts take off with (strong?) tailwind behind them?
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blrsea
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:30 pm

wouldn't take off with strong tail wind mean lesser power to use? And if they take-off into head winds, wouldn't they face more resistance and hence more power/fuel consumed?

What is the logic of taking off with head wind?

While landing, do they prefer head wind or tail winds? I am assuming head-winds  Smile
 
NWADC9
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:31 pm

The danger is with the increased roll length. With a strong headwind, more air is blowing towards the airfoil, allowing a shorter takeoff roll while still providing sufficient amount of lift. With a tailwind, however, the wind just pushes the plane down the runway without going through the airfoil [in the right direction] and creating lift, and if it's strong enough, the takeoff roll can exceed the length of the runway, which no one wants (except funeral directors  duck  ). With a strong headwind, all it does is shorten the takeoff roll, and theoretically can make the roll zero.
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DualQual
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:34 pm

The question is a bit multi-faceted in terms of answers. Airplanes can and sometimes do take off with a tail wind. However there are many things that go into the performance equation to determine if this can happen. First, the tailwind cannot exceed the published limit for the airplane. All aircraft have wind limits for tailwind, crosswind, any direction, and are further broken down into runway condition (icy, wet, dry, etc). Second, for takeoff the airplane must be able to take off in the runway required AND meet climb performance parameters as dictated by established minimums or higher if terrain is involved. Basically, if the tailwind component is within limits, allows the aircraft to meet it's performance requirements in the available runway, and clear the terrain you can go.
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:35 pm



Quoting Dairy (Thread starter):

It now brought me to the question where the concrete danger is, when aircrafts take off with (strong?) tailwind behind them?

You increase the takeoff distance. In some cases even a seemingly small 10 knot tailwind could mean using up to 1000ft of extra runway. Not good if you're heavy and in hot weather and a short runway.

Quoting Dairy (Thread starter):
RWY18 was closed the time I was there - and I was alone there - it was closed due to strong tailwinds:

Runways aren't closed. They are unused. If it was closed there would be a big lighted X over it.  Wink

If the wind is calm, (less than 3kts) then it doesn't play much of a factor and you can land either way safely.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:36 pm

Lift, Its all about lift. When you take off into a headwind you get "free lift" since your airspeed is higher than your ground speed.

The reverse is true in a tail wind. You need a higher groundspeed to get your minimum airspeed to take off.

So yes a headwind makes the plane accelerate slower to a given groundspeed, but the difference is that if it takes you an extra couple seconds to hit 130mph... you don't NEED to hit 150mph, but only 130mph its going to that 130mph alot quicker.

Tailwinds are very nasty since they push planes into and past thier limits very quickly. Needing an extra 10 to 20mph groundspeed means alot more runway used, alot more runway needed for an aborted takeoff (stopping distance), and wheel speed restrictions.
 
Max777geek
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:42 pm



Quoting Dairy (Thread starter):
It now brought me to the question where the concrete danger is, when aircrafts take off with (strong?) tailwind behind them?

That you go long.

Long means longer distance to reach the minimum speed to give your airplane enough lift to fly,
which is the difference in beetween airplane speed and steady air. If you add wind from the back of the plane, you'll remove that speed from the airplane speed, more or less. So you will need more. More speed needs more rwy to reach, hopefully there's enough. Don't know what you chaps calls on here, but here in Italy we call it "to sail" to express actually "to glide", to mean what the back wind brings you. Can't say about other types, on md80 is up to 10knots backwind, there's no problem.

To come back to your question, no problem until you have enough rwy and you don't have buildings etc before you lift off.
 
timz
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:51 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 4):
Runways aren't closed.

Runways are often so described in the ATIS; think they have hauled the X-machine out there, every time they say that? Is ATC allowed to say the runway is closed, even though they haven't positioned the X-machine yet?
 
catiii
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:56 pm



Quoting Timz (Reply 7):
Runways are often so described in the ATIS

And to amplify on that, airports are often closed, which by extension means their runways are also closed.
 
airbuske
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:12 pm



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 5):
Lift, Its all about lift. When you take off into a headwind you get "free lift" since your airspeed is higher than your ground speed.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you but are you saying that wind affects the amount of lift your require to lift off the ground? If so, I must respectfully disagree. The amount of lift required remains the same - wind or no wind. The difference lies in how long you must accelerate until you have enough airspeed to lift off, which in turn relates to how far you travel down the runaway.

Let me try say what others have said in different words. Say you have a 20 knot headwind and you need to calculate the distance required to an airspeed of 150 knots (for lift off) with all engines running. When the airplane is positioned, unmoving, at the end of the runaway ready to begin it's takeoff roll, it already has a 20 knot airspeed. (Recall that lift is a function of airspeed, not ground speed) So instead of having to increase over a total speed increase of 150 knots as you would do with no wind, you only need to accelerate over a speed increase of 130 knots hence a shorter takeoff roll.

The converse is true with a tailwind. Say you have a 20 knot tailwind and you need to calculate the distance required to an airspeed of 150 knots (for lift off) with all engines running. When the airplane is positioned, unmoving, at the end of the runaway ready to begin it's takeoff roll, it has a -20 knot airspeed. So instead of having to increase over a total speed increase of 150 knots as you would do with no wind, you now need to accelerate over a speed increase of 170 knots hence a longer takeoff roll.
 
dragon6172
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:55 pm



Quoting Airbuske (Reply 9):
Maybe I am misunderstanding you but are you saying that wind affects the amount of lift your require to lift off the ground? If so, I must respectfully disagree. The amount of lift required remains the same - wind or no wind. The difference lies in how long you must accelerate until you have enough airspeed to lift off, which in turn relates to how far you travel down the runaway.

I think it is a misunderstanding. For the purpose of this thread, there are two ways to get lift. Point the wing into the wind, or propel the aircraft forward. When you propel the aircraft, the lift you get is "costing" you fuel....but when you point the aircraft into the wind the lift you get is "free". Not sure if that helped, but that is how I understood his use of "free lift". I do not believe he meant that less lift would be required.
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airbuske
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:13 pm



Quoting Dragon6172 (Reply 10):
When you propel the aircraft, the lift you get is "costing" you fuel....but when you point the aircraft into the wind the lift you get is "free". Not sure if that helped, but that is how I understood his use of "free lift". I do not believe he meant that less lift would be required.

Aaah I see. Now I see what he means and it makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for your clarification.  Smile
 
KELPkid
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:24 pm

Also not mentioned in this thread (and they are, in the case of many jets, one of the reasons for tailwind limitations, in addition to the factors mentioned above): ground speed limits for tires and wheels. Tires can and will blow out if you exceed the maximum certified ground speed of the tire...
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AT
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:26 pm

This has been one of the most informative posts (and it stuck to the original topic too!)
I always just assumed that you would want to take off into a tail wind in order to maximize speed, but now I understand!

Just to make it more complex, how does a crosswind affect the takeoff parameters?

And, from a definition point of view, how deviated from a head or tail wind does the wind have to be to qualify as a crosswind? For example, if the wind is just five degrees off the axis of the aircraft, would it still qualify as a headwind or a X-wind?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:36 pm

To add another tidbit, this is the reason aircraft carriers typically steam into the wind when conducting air ops. Also the forward speed of the carrier counts as headwind. I don't think you'll find an aircraft carrier conducting air ops when sitting still.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
shmax525
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:16 am



Quoting AT (Reply 13):
And, from a definition point of view, how deviated from a head or tail wind does the wind have to be to qualify as a crosswind?

Pilots use a crosswind component chart to figure out the crosswind "component" of particular wind speed and heading. Basically to use the chart all you do is figure the angle between the runway and wind heading. (for example taking off on runway 09 with a wind out of 050 would give you a difference of roughly 40 degrees) From here using the velocity of the wind you can come up with the headwind and crosswind components acting on the airplane.

As for the rest of the thread, for the sake of simplicity it could be described as this: the wings/airfoil care about the speed of the air going over the wing (airspeed), rather then the speed over the ground (ground speed).

Perhaps best visual to describe the difference between air and ground speed is this; I was flying a Cessna a few months ago and entered slow flight into a direct 40 kt headwind at 6,000ft. I held the airspeed around 40 kts and had ground speed of around 1-2kts most of the time. The reason this applies to takeoffs/landings into the wind is because the converse is also true. A plane flying an indicated 120kt approach with a 10kt tailwind would actually be flying 130kts, but the wings would only be using 120kts of the wind.
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:44 am



Quoting Timz (Reply 7):

Runways are often so described in the ATIS; think they have hauled the X-machine out there, every time they say that? Is ATC allowed to say the runway is closed, even though they haven't positioned the X-machine yet?



Quoting Catiii (Reply 8):

And to amplify on that, airports are often closed, which by extension means their runways are also closed.

Slow down guys. I know how runway closures work. I was being nitpicky.  cheeky 

What I was getting at is that if runway 36 is in use, 18 isn't "closed". And for a runway to be actually closed, you'd have to close both sides of course. In which case you'll see in the ATIS and NOTAMS as RWY 36/18 closed.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:01 am

Don't forget that accel/stop dist is also affected by a head/tailwind. With a tailwind V1 might very well be much lower.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 16):
What I was getting at is that if runway 36 is in use, 18 isn't "closed"

No because if ATC so wished they could "let" you land/t/o on the opposite runway. It happens alot it's just traffic at most busy arpts won't allow it. I've landed and took off "against the grain" many times.
 
jarheadk5
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:13 am



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
To add another tidbit, this is the reason aircraft carriers typically steam into the wind when conducting air ops. Also the forward speed of the carrier counts as headwind. I don't think you'll find an aircraft carrier conducting air ops when sitting still.

It's also the reason carriers (at least USN carriers) are the fastest ships in the battle group - the more wind they can create over the deck, the larger the delta between the aircraft's stall speed and the airspeed off the cat.

About the only flight ops a CV/CVN will conduct while on the hook or at steerage, is helicopter ops.
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2H4
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:26 am

Of course, most tailwinds can be effectively countered with a large enough conveyor belt.  duck 

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:16 am

After reading the first two posts on this thread, it is hard to believe that airplanes have been flying for over a century yet this level of misunderstanding still exists.

Indeed, if my stick shift car ever had a dead battery, I would release the brake and let it roll uphill to get a start.
 
rwessel
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:16 am



Quoting JarheadK5 (Reply 18):
It's also the reason carriers (at least USN carriers) are the fastest ships in the battle group - the more wind they can create over the deck, the larger the delta between the aircraft's stall speed and the airspeed off the cat.

While wind over the deck is crucial to (CATOBAR) carrier ops, and carriers are, in fact, usually the fastest (or one of the fastest) ships in the battlegroup, at least by a small margin, they do not use that extra speed under normal circumstances. If they did, they would lose their escorts whenever they were conducting flight operations. The need for wind over the deck does mean that all the escorts in a CBG will be fast, so they can keep up.
 
tf39
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:27 am



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 19):
Of course, most tailwinds can be effectively countered with a large enough conveyor belt.

here we go . . .  Cool
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:46 am



Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 20):
After reading the first two posts on this thread, it is hard to believe that airplanes have been flying for over a century yet this level of misunderstanding still exists.

Not among pilots, surely.  Wink But wait, recall that Mythbusters episodes about (dare I even bring it up) a plane taking off on a conveyor belt. The pilot did not thing it would work!!! Gah...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
rwessel
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:10 am



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 23):
Not among pilots, surely.

Next time you're hanging around the hanger, bring up downwind turns... It's really kinda sad...
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:38 pm



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 24):
Next time you're hanging around the hanger, bring up downwind turns...

Everyone one knows you can't make a downwind turn close to the ground, why you'll stall!!  eyepopping 
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:11 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 23):
The pilot did not thing it would work!!! Gah...

What did you expect from a bored 60 year old "pilot" that built his plane (a kite with an engine) in his garage?     

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 25):

Everyone one knows you can't make a downwind turn close to the ground, why you'll stall!!

No no no, your plane will spontaneously combust, then stall, and leave a gaping crater in the dirt  Wink

[Edited 2009-12-12 09:18:26]
 
swiftski
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:58 pm



Quoting Shmax525 (Reply 15):
Pilots use a crosswind component chart to figure out the crosswind "component" of particular wind speed and heading.

Or a whiz wheel - one of the best inventions ever.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:09 pm



Quoting AT (Reply 13):
Just to make it more complex, how does a crosswind affect the takeoff parameters?

To add to the thorough explanation of how to determine headwind and crosswind components by Shmax525, let me add that as was mentioned above, aircraft have a maximum allowable crosswind for takeoff/landing. This factors into the ability to maintain directional control on the ground - as you are plodding along the runway you need to keep the aircraft tracking down the centerline, using nosewheel steering and rudder/aileron inputs. An excessive crosswind striking the vertical stabilizer can impart forces that may overpower the steering/rudder effectiveness, causing you to lose directional control and run off into the weeds as the aircraft "weathervanes" into the wind.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:51 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 26):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 23):
The pilot did not thing it would work!!! Gah...

What did you expect from a bored 60 year old "pilot" that built his plane (a kite with an engine) in his garage?

I agree. It's just sad. I mean all it takes is a little logical thinking...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
B777LRF
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:06 am

It's actually quite simple.

Aircraft don't, aerodynamically speaking, care about speed over the ground - the only thing that keeps the things flying is airspeed over the wings. A tailwind reduces airspeed over the wings, therefore it will require a higher speed over the ground to gain sufficient lift to sustain flying. Higher speed over the ground equates to either a prolonged take-off run, or a prolonged landing run - a headwind works the opposite way. It therefore matters not if a tail-wind reduces the speed over the ground due to increased drag; aircraft can fly at a groundspeed of zero, or even backwards for that matter, if the head-wind is strong enough.

"Despite the powerful head-wind, the pilot still managed to get the aircraft into the air". Read that in a newspaper once, which just goes to prove that journalists in general really haven't a clue about aviation.
From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
 
AAR90
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:55 am



Quoting JarheadK5 (Reply 18):
About the only flight ops a CV/CVN will conduct while on the hook or at steerage, is helicopter ops.

I don't know about the E-2D, but all previous versions of the Hawkeye could be "shot" while "on-the-hook" (from most CV's). Same for S-3A [it could take a tailwind shot]. Hardest cat shot I ever experienced was from CNV65 while sitting at anchor near Masirah Island (Oman) in early '80s. My eyes couldn't focus for a good 10 seconds!  wideeyed  Thankfully, Big-E was well underway by the time we returned. There wasn't enough "natural wind" for a hummer to land, but a hoover could have done it.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
bri2k1
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:11 pm



Quoting DualQual (Reply 3):
All aircraft have wind limits for tailwind, crosswind, any direction

I'd like to clarify this a little. The POH for my airplane does not have any limitations on operations based on surface winds -- unless you consider the redline on the airspeed indicator, but surface winds are highly unlikely to exceed 160KIAS! It does publish a "Maximum Demonstrated Crosswind Component," which is a number used in certification and often based more on the strongest crosswind available during certification than the airplane's (or pilot's) capabilities. I have safely and legally landed many times with crosswind components between 50% and 100% greater than this number. From a strictly airframe standpoint, there are usually not absolute limits on surface winds for safe or legal operation.

Some jet engines will have a maximum tailwind for starting that may be fairly low. After operating, the maximum tailwind allowed is generally greater, although accelerating the engine from idle to takeoff thrust with a strong tailwind may increase the likelihood of inducing a compressor stall.

I operate my airplane under 14 CFR Part 91, which means not for hire. So, I am not required to publish or follow any specific operating procedures other than those in the FARs, which again do not specify crosswind limitations.

Regularly scheduled air carriers operate under 14 CFR Part 121 (in the USA), and each operator publishes specific operating guidelines for personnel and equipment. These will include wind limitations for operation for each aircraft type, and potentially, limits based on crewmember certification (Captian vs. F/O for example), although this is less likely. Adherence to each company's procedures does become law, so taking off or attempting to takeoff with a tailwind component higher than permitted by the company's operations documentation is a FAR violation in and of itself.

Charter, on-demand, and smaller carriers may be certificated under 14 CFR Part 135, which requires adherence to similar kinds of operating specifications, generally not quite as rigorous as Part 121 but still comprehensive enough to include wind limitations. When the main runway 17L/35R was closed for overhaul at APA for many months, lots of bizjet operators had to go "back to the books" to confirm aircraft performance but also conformity with operating instructions for using the other shorter, narrower runways.

So I wouldn't necessarily say that all aircraft have surface wind limitations, but air carriers will usually have these limitations in their operating rules.
Position and hold
 
KELPkid
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:47 pm



Quoting AAR90 (Reply 31):
There wasn't enough "natural wind" for a hummer to land, but a hoover could have done it.

A Bob Hoover (of airshow fame) or is this Navy terminology for something that sounds like a vacuum cleaner?  Wink
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
AAR90
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:37 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 33):
or is this Navy terminology for something that sounds like a vacuum cleaner?

"Hummer" = unofficial nickname of E-2 Hawkeye.
"Hoover" = unofficial nickname of S-3 Viking.

The reasoning is pretty obvious if you've ever been near either.  Wink
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Take Off: Where Is The Danger With Tailwinds?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:25 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 33):
A Bob Hoover (of airshow fame) or is this Navy terminology for something that sounds like a vacuum cleaner? Wink

AFAIK it is only called a Hoover in the UK and some former British territories.  Wink
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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