Position Paper

Tailwind Operations

Aug 29, 2018


Wind and all associated characteristics such as cross- and tailwind, shear, turbulence, vortices, and gusts are significant to the execution of daily flight operations. Wind influences not only the aircraft’s performance but also the aircraft handling characteristics and the piloting task. This position paper focuses on the specific operational risks of flight operations in tailwind.

Variations in wind speed and direction are a fairly common phenomenon whose potential safety hazard must be recognized and subject to appropriate risk mitigations.

To conduct flight safety in tailwind conditions, one should assess the related risks very thoroughly and a robust safety study should be the basis of any tailwind procedure. Potential shortcomings in regulations, wind measurement, and training must be clearly identified to establish and implement the relevant mitigating measures. A conservative approach must be taken because of all variations and uncertainties in the tailwind operation.