What are your wind limitations. Where should they be for different levels of pilots?

Published by: Paul Hamilton on 26th Jul 2017 | View all blogs by Paul Hamilton

Establishing appropiate wind limitations is an important aspect of ADM/risk analysis.

On the runway, at altitude, in mountains/canyons are the stuations.


Where do you draw the line?

These are the four BUMP LEVELS for which I make the GO/NO GO decision to fly:

Nice Air

Moderate bumps

Uncomfortable air



What are your bump levels on the runway, at altitude, in mountains/canyons.







  • Tom Currier
    by Tom Currier 4 months ago
    Runway; I'm on the water. There are no bumps:) Turbulent air is very evident as wind swirls making small, distorted waves on the surface. I look for steady winds not over 15mph

    Altitude; I haven't gone up in anything over 25mph but I look for a close match in surface and altitude winds. Anything spread greater than 15mph and I know it'll be a bumpy gradient.

    I don't do mountains yet.......just rolling NH hills that are usually less than 1500'

    I guess that puts me at moderate for all categories
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 4 months ago
    Tom yes big wing no brakes my water limits would be very low.
    Unless, I could get a floating dock that would weather vane into the wind so you could pull straight with power up into a U shaped dock that would fit the float system. Now I would be ready for MORE wind...
  • Tom Currier
    by Tom Currier 4 months ago

    You'd be surprised how sheltered most areas around the lakes are. Even on a lee shore the winds tend to lighten up quite a bit; I guess because they bounce off the shore and reflect back. I've never had an issue driving onto my plane lift but again, you won't find me out in anything over 15mph. If I ever get stuck with too much to handle the windward side of the lakes up here are nearly always accessible and calm even in the stoutest gusts.

    I doubt I'll ever increase my limits. Most days fall within my range and I'm very comfortable staying within them. Right now I'm working on bump tolerance and getting much happier with that as time goes along. Of course that goes hand in hand with winds as when they roll over these hillsides and mountains it certainly pumps up the bump factor.

    by PHILIP QUANTRILL 4 months ago
    For cross winds I tend to consider 25kph (steady) as about my limit for takeoff at my present airfield however at my previous I would probably limit at 20kph as the topography was much more complex. Wind down the runway I've taken of in 30kph (and maybe a little more) windsock straight out. Turbulence, I fly at all times of day including the mid afternoon on days of 35°C, we have lots of woods and forest around us so it creates alot of "rock and roll". I don't find this always pleasant but do it to push my envelope. Over the Gironde estuary I can always find calm air for a little respite if I find it a little tiring. I am in the process of incorporating turbulence handling skills as advised on other pages on here and also from pilots here in France who fly, like me, at all times of day with the same machines and the same wings Ixess 15M². Strange that in "heavy turbulence" I find flying at 3000' agl more challenging than 2000'agl even when logic tells me the higher I am, the safer I am as the margin for error correction is much greater. Strange thing the games the head can play.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 4 months ago
    Thanks Philip. Remember "the air is soft and the ground is hard"
  • Lindsay Mannix
    by Lindsay Mannix 4 months ago
    The magical 15 mph is quite important as it is the point where rotors form or another way to put it is that the hills stall....
    sounds silly but once laminar flow is lost rotor turbulence becomes a law unto its self.

    A sea breeze with no mechanical turbulence can be many times what you might tolerate otherwise . Just keep in the clean air at all times .

    Also there are days where the bumps are small but very annoying ..not un safe just un enjoyable.
    other days where the bumps are quite big but enjoyable to fly with ...no, we wont ever be happy !
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