Proceed with caution if you’ve a fear of flying.
A recent YouTube video of airplanes landing on an extremely windy day at Düsseldorf Airport in Germany have commenters calling the footage “impressive,” “unbelievable,” “awesome” and “spectacular.” But would you believe that a pilot explaining crosswind landings said it’s not as scary as it looks and that passengers on the plane may not even notice?
First, check out the footage of the landings (Note: Less scary looking crosswind takeoffs are filmed later in the video, but a bolt of lightning at 7:03 is worth holding out for):
CNN interviewed Daniel Fahl, a U.S. airline captain, for more information on crosswind landings. Here’s what he said:
“It’s not really dangerous. It just requires the utmost of your training to kick in,” Fahl said.
“It does look dramatic, but that’s just because the airplanes are so susceptible to the wind. But that’s how they’re designed. They’re designed to be weather vanes that point into the wind.”
Pilots let the plane “weather vane” into the wind while it’s airborne but manipulate the controls just before touchdown so the aircraft is aligned with the center of the runway for the landing, Fahl said.
“There’ve been some times on really, really strong wind days where as I’m landing, instead of looking out the front windows of the airplane, I’m actually looking somewhat out the side windows to see the runway because the airplane in flight is pointed into the wind, which may not be the center of the runway,” Fahl said.
According to CNN, passengers sitting at the back of the plane may not even notice anything strange about the landing. CNN even reports Fahl as saying some crosswind landings are more gentle than traditional landings because of the special maneuvering needed for touchdown.