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General Aviation

When calculating WCA, how is it that if the wind is blowing from the right of your true course (right crosswind), you DEFINATIVELY add a correction angle?

Is it because if the wind is blowing from the right...you'd have to crab right...therefore, your compass heading (numbers) would increase?  For instance, if I turn from 010 to 020...that's an increase of 10 degrees to the right.

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2 Answers

  1. Kent Shook on Nov 04, 2010

    Yes, if you have a wind blowing from the right of your course, you will have to correct to the right by “crabbing” into the wind.

    Another way to think of it is this: If you point the airplane directly along your course, such that your heading is the same as your desired course, that wind from the right is going to blow you off course to the left. So, your heading needs to be somewhat to the right to compensate.

    Any time the winds aloft are not either a direct headwind or direct tailwind, you’ll have some sort of correction angle.

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  2. Brian on Nov 06, 2010

    For another way to look at this, consider a body of flowing water. The ground beneath the water represents the ground, just like in the air. The water, however, can be used to represent the flowing air mass.

    Let the boat go across the river by pointing it straight at an object on the other side. Without seeing the experiment you probably already know the boat will not make it, it will drift down stream. To successfully reach the object directly across the river the boat must angle it’s path into the oncoming water just as an aircraft must crab into the wind to keep a straight path over the ground.

    PS You add that correction angle anytime the wind isn’t directly off your nose or tail. In other words, the left of course crosswind would definitely need a WCA as well.

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