Former pilot confident in RSW’s safety amid strong storms

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

AAA said today is supposed to be the busiest day of holiday travel. A record 6 million Floridians are traveling for Christmas and New Year’s this year. But, a band of storms today and tomorrow could complicate travel.

Even on a good day, you’re going to have nervous flyers, so many people are nervous, Thursday.

“So it was a little scary,” Harris Kahn said. “I was like wow are we going to go down right now?”

Kahn flew in from Los Angeles Thursday.

“I’ve never flown a plane, so I don’t know what it’s like to lose control of a plane, but it felt like the wind could have just taken a wing off or something it was bad,” Kahn said.

But, Wayne Merrill has flown a plane, a former Delta pilot.

“Planes are built to operate in this kind of an environment, and the pilots are trained to use the airplane,” Merrill said.

Crosswind is any wind other than a wind aiming straight at the nose of the plane.

“The danger of crosswind isn’t very much,” Merrill said. “It’s going to slow things down just because air traffic control will have more distance in between each airplane taking off and landing.”

Merrill said crosswind only start to become restrictive when it’s greater than 29 knots or 33 miles per hour.

Bigger airports have runways that go in all directions to avoid crosswind, but Southwest International airport only runs from west to east.

“The wind down here in Florida is probably going to still be in the direction of the runway,” Merrill said. “Close enough that you can use it. If it gets to be too much of a crosswind, then they will cancel.”

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