How To Make Winds Work For You

Hey guys! Today I’d like to show you how seemingly horrific winds can work in your favor. “But Diamond! Winds make my airplane all bouncey and stuff!” Never fear, I will show you how to avoid that as well 👍

How to “Ride The Winds”

So, as most of you probably know, there is a stream of high winds in the atmosphere that cross most of the northern hemisphere. This is called the “Jet Stream.” The Jet Stream wind area varies from hour to hour, day to day, etc. here’s a picture of what it may look like (FL340)

The areas with higher wind speeds are shaded purple

The Jet Stream is the reason windspeeds go nuts across the Atlantic. But you guys already know that. What some of you may not know is there is an advantage to the Jet Stream called “Tailwinds.” Tailwinds make you go faster than normal winds. The problem is, the Jet Stream only blows from West to east so unless your flying in that direction you will have a “headwind,” which makes you go a lot slower.

Now that we have the lame weather stuff out of the way, we can finally get to the purpose of this topic which is bending the winds to your will. Basically, it’s all about (1, 2, 3…) Flight Planning!
Here is how you make your flight plan to avoid winds (I’ll use KJFK-EGLL for this example)

  1. Spawn into the airport and open the “windy” app.

  2. Set the Altitude to your Cruise Altitude (not all Altitudes are listed so just estimate).

  3. Find the general path of where you will be flying.

  4. Since this is over the ocean, there is a good chance you won’t find waypoints that match up, so begin your flight plan with the search bar (so you can insert coordinates later).

How to put coordinates into your flight plan

How to Input GPS Coordinates to your FPL

  1. Since the Jet Stream is primarily straight when you depart from KJFK and then curves up toward EGLL, you make your flight plan accordingly using coordinates (takes a bit of trial and error).

  2. Smile at yourself because you just taught the winds whose boss.

Now, if you wanted to do a flight over land, it’s a little different because you don’t have to use coordinates the whole way. Here’s an example for KLAX-KJFK:

  1. Open up windy.

  2. Find the general area of your flight.

  3. Find where the wind changes direction.

  4. After departing KLAX, the wind has a North/Eastern direction. Thus, you depart in that direction.

  5. This is where things get fun. In windy, zoom into the general area where the wind turns and tap the screen. Multiple dots will appear. These represent airports. Select one of these dots in that area and it will have the ICAO and the IATA. Most IATA Codes in IF are actually VORs that are located at the airport. So, use the search bar and search by the IATA. If it pops up in that general location, then use it.

  6. Continue this strategy until you have a flight plan that turns completely with the Jet Stream.

  7. Walk outside and yell “I AM THE BOSS OF THE WIND!” (please don’t actually do that).

How to Avoid the Winds

Suppose you don’t want a tailwind during your flight. You want to go as slow as possible and not have turbulence for your whole flight. There’s a way to do that as well.

Basically, you open up windy, check the areas for the least amount of wind (often times, it’s very out of the way), and file your flight plan in that general area.
Here’s a comparison:

I hope you guys learned something about wind or flight planning. G’day!


Thank You!
Really informative and will be helpful on the transatlantic day on Sunday

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My VA flies out of CYTZ the winds are high there do you have a recommendation for that?

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For high winds during departure, I would recommend not exceeding 270kn even after 10,000ft. If it’s still gusty once you get past 25,000ft, you can accelerate to 280kn although, gusty winds usually subside by then.

Great stuff, this with help a huge amount of people including me. 😀👍

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Anything for landing? Besides the crab?

The only piece of advice I can give you for landing in cross winds is using the rudder. Trust me, I hate doing it too 😂

Yeah i already use that but i figured i would take a shot to see if someone knew something else

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Yep, I always use Windy before each flight to get a general idea where the winds are.

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Crab style or cross landing, as a pilot you must have the skill! :D

I do but I always hoped there was an easier way

You can find the coords of the wind locations by looki g at the wind speed of the area then looking at the forecast. This will help you find the long/lat coords that you will need to input it into the your FPL.

Haha very funny! Thank you for this tutorial, it will be so helpful for me to know when I start long hauls on global again ;)

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HI Ryan,

check out this tutorial on how to do Crosswind landings which is what you will need. This particular topic is about flight planning in the cruise rather than landing and take off :)


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