It shouldn’t come as a surprise that crosswind technique begins on the ground. Taxiing can definitely be a challenge in itself. If you’re taxiing into a quartering headwind, turn the controls into the wind for full aileron deflection. Conversely, with a quartering tailwind, you’ll want to turn away from the direction the wind is coming from. This decreases the lift on the upwind wing, which keeps the weight more even on the wheels and, in strong wind conditions, prevents the airplane from tipping over.
During the takeoff, it is important to maximize the headwind component, so unless you’re taking off from a sloped runway or a runway that can be operated in only one direction, you should take off into the wind.
While you begin the takeoff roll, keep full aileron deflection into the wind. As the speed picks up, aileron effectiveness will steadily increase, so you’ll need to decrease the aileron input as it does. Don’t sideslip during the takeoff as you do during the landing. Instead, allow the airplane to yaw into the wind and establish a crab to track straight out from the runway. Use a reference point or a track indicator to maintain the straight track until you’re ready to turn on course.
For tips on perfecting crosswind landings, check out our "Mastering Crosswinds" feature.