Crosswind crimps experimental airplane

Aircraft: CX4. Injuries: None. Location: San Carlos, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that, during takeoff from an asphalt runway, the tailwheel-equipped airplane experienced a gust of wind from the left.

The pilot corrected for it and maintained directional control until the plane encountered a second gust of wind from the left and, despite the pilot’s control inputs, the airplane went off the right side of the runway and into trees.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate directional control during takeoff.

NTSB Identification: WPR12CA033

This November 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.


  1. vaughn price says

    How bout just taking off across the runway, it always worked for me, also a cessna 182 low time private pilot went cart wheeling through my tie down area in Corona Ca. he said his Instructor never told him that with heavy crosswinds just take off into the wind.

  2. john says

    I would think that if the 2 gusts of wind came from the left the airplane would windmill to the direction of the wind not the opposite direction, thereby going off the left side of the runway. . .

    • Airbender says

      The plane would windmill slightly – nose left – but would be blown to the right.
      The tree catching the plane to the right of the runway pretty much proved that.

    • Greg W says

      True, if the wind is from the left the plane would “weather vane” into it. Right rudder would be needed to keep runway alignment, left aileron to hold position on the runway. It is normal during gusty conditions for the airplane to “walk across the runway, usually to the downwind side, from both the wind force and slight over compensation with the rudder. It is often good to use the width of the runway at an angle to reduce the crosswind component, that will reduce the effects of gusty conditions on the aircraft, and always use full control deflection at the start ,reducing it as speed and control increases.

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