Sunday, September 27, 2020
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Noticeable yaw during a windy O’Hare landing

As my plane was landing at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago Monday evening, the high winds caused a noticeable yaw a few times during the approach.

Yaw is a rotation around a flying plane’s vertical axis. The obviously ready and capable United pilots quickly brought the yaw, which wasn’t severe at all, under control, probably by using the rudder strategically.

Normally planes face the direction they’re flying, but yaw occurs when the nose of the plane moves left or right off the flight axis. Pitch involves the nose dipping below or coming above that axis, while roll occurs when the fuselage stays in line but the wings twist.

A small plane landed short of the runway, causing a few injuries, in Rockford Monday night, although officials were not immediately able to blame the crash on the wind, WBBM-TV (CBS affiliate) reported.

Sustained winds are expected to reach close to 25 mph around the Chicago area during the day Tuesday, which should not have an impact on schools but could create adverse driving conditions, especially for “high-profile” vehicles, like school buses.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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