Best Of The Web: Beluga Crosswind Landing


Airbus has a fleet of highly modified A300s called Belugas that it uses to fly components from factory to factory for final assembly. In this week’s scan of the web for interesting aviation videos, we found this one by mraviationguy who caught some great footage of a Beluga pilot expertly handling a crosswind Hawarden in the U.K.

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  1. Cool video and nice landing but only a steady max 15KT crosswind, evidenced by birds flying normal tracks and a steady windsock 30 seconds in the video. Optical illusion due to cameral angle as evidenced by touchdown in seemingly heavy crab but the aircraft not changing angle when tracking straight down the centerline after touchdown. But nice video nevertherless.

    • The camera angle and long lens definitely makes it hard to see the real angle, but I think it might be more than you think. Before touchdown, we can see the right side of the aircraft. After touchdown, we’re looking at the left side. The nose probably has to swing something like 20 degrees for that to happen. Assuming a landing speed on the order of 120 knots, that would mean the crosswind component is more like 40KT.

  2. Despite the negative remarks of an uneventful cross wind landing, the sight of a beluga (whale with wings) landing in cross winds is amazing. I’m sure these pilots stick to the poh of never exceeding cross wind limits. Tires and landing gear suffers as side loads build up to maximum limits while transferring these loads into the airframe.

  3. Pilots are our own worst enemy, Joe.

    If it had been a tire-popping, side-load bending, smoke pouring off the runway: it would clearly have been a major crosswind and the pilot was way above his head.

    If it’s a picking-up-rubber, butterfly with sore feet landing…no crosswind to speak of and any 10hr Cessna pilot could have done it.

    • Could be. Interesting point. I remember learning a lot from watching the autopilot fly ILS approaches providing a demonstration of perfect technique from localizer intercept to DH. Seems like autopilot autolands could do the same for landings.