Landing in 35mph crosswind

Date:         05 Jun 99 02:09:23 
From:         cp@panix.com
Organization: PANIX Public Access Internet and UNIX, NYC
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Recently landed at Albuquerque during very unusual weather conditions:
dry, no storms visible, but 35 mph crosswind, which was blowing at 90
degrees to the runway so far as I could judge by looking at a wind sock
as we taxiied in to the terminal.

The approach was memorable, as the land below moved past the aircraft
diagonally, as a result of the plane turning into the wind. Touchdown
involved the aircraft touching one rear wheel, then the other, finally
wrestling the plane into a line parallel with the runway, followed by a
fairly severe correction after the nosewheel was down. There was a
five-second interval before the captain applied reverse-engine braking.

While I admired the ability to land a 727 under these conditions, I
wondered if a 90-degree 35-mph crosswind is considered borderline
conditions for landing (bearing in mind total absence of thunderstorms or
other evidence of conditions liable to cause wind shear). The captain came
on the intercom twice, before the landing, notifying passengers of wind
conditions (which is how I know it was a 35-mph cross wind--he said so.)

Safe? Unsafe? Fairly safe? It was certainly the most difficult-seeming
landing I've experienced in my last 100 or so air trips.