Ask the pilot: Do airplanes use windscreen wipers?
Name: Susanne Ryhl
Career: Joined SAS as a flight attendant in 1985. Became a pilot in 1991 and an SAS First Officer in 1996. Became an SAS Flight Captain in 2015.
Home base: CPH
Flies: Airbus A319/320/321
Flight hours: 12,000
When boarding planes, I've seen that the pilot's windshields have wipers. Are these used in the air or only on ground?
Your observation is correct. Both the Captain and the First Officer have a dual-speed electric wiper on their respective front windshields, which they control manually.
The wipers can be used in rainy conditions both on the ground and in the air, typically during the approach.
We are not allowed to use the wipers, however, when flying at speeds higher than 230 knots (425 km/h) on the aircraft I fly. An approach speed usually begins at around 250 knots (463 km/h) and decreases to around 140 knots (260 km/h) for the final approach, depending on the weight of the aircraft.
Flight Captain Susanne Ryhl
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Published: October 24, 2016
Last edited: November 7, 2016