Tough day flying at Dusseldorf

Video below shows extreme crosswinds at the airport requiring multiple go-around attempts due to the recent storm. How many attempts will a pilot try and where would they go if landing isn’t feasible?

I’m an airline pilot sometimes. The authority I work under (Civil Aviation Authority of Australia) has no limit on the number of approaches you can attempt, however our company gives some guidance:

[ol]
[li]If a missed approach is carried out due to weather then another approach may only be carried out if the Captain has reason to believe another approach will be successful.[/li]
[li]If the second approach results in a missed approach then you must divert unless the the weather conditions improve to be twice as good as that normally required for the approach, e.g., if the approach requires 1.5 km of visibility then you would need 3.0 km visibility.[/li]
[li]Any further missed approach must be followed by a diversion to the alternate.[/li][/ol]
What is left unsaid is that if at any time during these approaches your fuel remaining falls to the minimum required to reach the alternate then you would have to divert.

What is also left unsaid is any mention of crosswinds. My take would be two goes is ok, to have a third go the crosswind would have to improve significantly.

Where do you go if a landing isn’t feasible? You go to an alternate that had better weather and that you planned to carry fuel for.

In Australia we routinely fly to aerodromes without carrying fuel to divert to an alternate but only if the weather at the destination is ok. An alternate aerodrome, if required, must be one that, if it was the destination, would not have required an alternate itself.

There is another option in addition to flying approaches or diverting, you can hold and wait to see if the weather improves. This has the benefit of using less fuel than flying approaches.

Thanks so much Mr. Pearse: it’s always so nice to get the low-sown skinny on stuff like this.

I’m a gonna have to remember to tutn off my signature button about airplane take-offs when the topic is aviation :smack:

Flew into Belize City a few years back (AA from Miami), took three tries to land. Not sure why, weather seemed like it was fine. Maybe a cow on the runway? Smaller airports in Belize have warnings signs about watching for livestock, but I would hope that the main international airport would have more active precautions.

One flight I took to Fort MacMurrey during the winter required 3 attempts to land; I think visibility and ice were big factors (not sure about wind). The pilot was on the mic and said if the last attempt didn’t work they’d divert back to where they came from 90 minutes away.

Go watch that video and tell me you want self flying airplanes. Praise the 10,000+ hour pilot in the left seat when that happens.

In the control of a complex physical system like this, what do you think a human can do that a computer system could not, in principle, do better and more consistently?

I’m not, of course, suggesting that the technology is there yet. But you seem to be rejecting the principle.

Plus, a computer might say, “These conditions are exceeding limits” and head for another airport. A human might say, “I got this” and exceed his own capabilities and that of the aircraft.

It’s been a long time since my pilot training, but aren’t there standards for maximum crosswind?

The idea is to fly safely, not to give landing or takeoff you best try. Plus, “gusty” can be extremely dangerous.

In a sense there have been self-flying and self-landing jet airliners since the mid-1960s. An automatic landing was first demonstrated in 1937: The First Autolanding | Air & Space Magazine| Smithsonian Magazine

Whether they know it or not, most experienced airline travelers have probably made at least one fully automated landing. Jet airliners are required to do these periodically as an equipment test.

Autoland may include automatic deployment of spoilers and thrust reversers, automatic rollout guidance after touchdown, and automatic braking to a full stop on the ground.

A hand-flown aircraft is usually capable of higher crosswind limits, but on some aircraft it’s not that much different. E.g, some 747 models have a 25 knot crosswind limit for autoland vs 30 knots crosswind limit for a manual landing.