Crosswind Landing at London City Airport

Landing a jetliner at London City Airport under any conditions is sporty, with only 1508 metres of runway and a 6° glide slope mandated for noise abatement, many aircraft fly the entire approach with speed brakes extended. A 30 knot crosswind made this landing even more “fun”, but the Swiss A220-100 crew made it look easy.


I made the flight ZRH - LCY about a year before the Covid reset. I don’t recall the airline, but do recall the aircraft - an AVRO RJ, not sure which model. It is an interesting high-wing four engine aircraft, usually flown on routes where ground contours (mountains) require better engine-out performance. For example, I once flew one from New Delhi to Paro, Bhutan, where the airport is surrounded by mountains; safer to lose 25% of power as opposed to 50%. Fortunately, the weather and winds were unremarkable when I landed in London City. I can hardly imagine this particular aircraft as an efficient choice for this route. Arrival and departure routes at ZRH don’t usually require flight over the Alps, which are nearly 50 miles south of the airport.


It was probably a British Aerospace 146, a slightly different version of the Avro RJ, which a number of airlines operate through London City. It is an older design and doubtless less fuel efficient, but it was known for excellent short field performance and very quiet (by the standards of the time) operation. In the 1980s, it was the only pure jet certified for operation from some of the smaller airports in the Los Angeles area, including Orange County (later John Wayne).

Wikipedia says:

The BAe 146 is also renowned for its relatively quiet operation, a positive feature that appealed to those operators that wanted to provide services to noise-sensitive airports within cities. The aircraft is one of only a few types that can be used on flights to London City Airport, which has a steep approach and short runway; for several years, the BAe 146 was the only conventional jet aircraft capable of flying from London City Airport.


First time visiting this channel. Hug does a good job organizing and presenting the action. I also watched a video of a 777 doing a crosswind at Sao Paulo. The magnitude of the yoke control inputs on short final was surprising! Challenging environment and a busy place; I’ve landed there many times and it’s a zoo!