Anyone actually take off or land during a thunderstorm?

Joshua949

New Member
I saw this topic in the A.net forum so I decided to post it here even though I didn't want to put this topic on here but I thought it was sort of an exciting topic to talk about.

I have not done a take off in a thunderstorm but I have been in a plane landing on May 3, 1999, yes the day all the tornadoes hit the midwest & plains states..i was going to Honolulu from Raleigh/Durham & was just making a connecting flight in DFW & we got caught in a severe t-storm on landing...well...it was lightning & hailing & we had serious turbulence & actually i would say the plane dropped about a thousand feet in a like a second or two & well...we were all scared on that MD-80 on American Airlines....we never landed in DFW...after we tried twice so we made an emergency landing in Houston...then after the storm past went on to DFW..we were in that same plane for 12 hours that day & missed our flight to HNL so had to fly to SFO & spend the night their...also i have landed after a bad t-storm passed RDU & is was a pretty rocky, bumpy, ruff ride in...any stories..

<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="http://jetcareers.com/ubbthreads/dopoll.php"><INPUT TYPE=HIDDEN NAME="pollname" VALUE="1065304590Joshua949">


Have you ever been in a plane during take off or/&amp; landing in a t-storm?
<input type="radio" name="option" value="1" />Yes
<input type="radio" name="option" value="2" />No
<input type="radio" name="option" value="3" />Sort a
<INPUT TYPE=Submit NAME=Submit VALUE="Submit vote" class="buttons"></form>
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
I don't think anyone is going to publicly admit to taking off or landing in a T'storm...that would be foolish and dangerous, right?
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
...actually i would say the plane dropped about a thousand feet in a like a second or two...

[/ QUOTE ]

That's quite a bit....hey, you're not turning the results of this poll in to the FAA, are you??
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Closest I've ever come to a boomer is when I was coming on back from a cross country. It waa a nice smooth ride and I'm thinking, this will be easy. I'm handed off, and the guy says, there's a class five thunderstorm off at your nine o'clock. Needless to say, I didn't waste any time at all getting the plane back home.

Anyway, I get in, land, get the plane fueled and parked, and about two minutes after I'm done, it starts raining cats and dogs. It poured for about 20 minutes.
 

Joshua949

New Member
You ain't got to admit that you were flying the aircraft during the t-storm. Perhaps you were the passenger that day. Like I was on the MD-80.
 

TheWife

New Member
We were on a boat once in a thunderstorm, is that good enough? LOL. It was perfect weather then bam, pouring rain and thunder so loud we heard a cracking sizzling sound and thought it must have hit a tree or something. The wond was so strong it ripped the stitches out of the side panle of the bimini cover (I think that's what it's called) and we lost the whole panel.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Nope. I was flying it. The thunderstorm came in west to east, and I was flying from the south to the north. So I didn't see it at all. The ride up was smooth and easy. Even when ATC told me to look for the storm, I didn't see it.

And I didn't fly IN the storm. That would have been stupid and I wouldn't have done it.

Remember, I got the plane on the ground, fueled, and parked before the storm came through.
 

172_Captain

New Member
I was on a supervised solo cross country in a Beech Duchess returning from Key West to Orlando at night a few months back. The weather was a solid line of level 3 and 4 TSRA's moving west to east just south of Orlando. I saw it on the radar summary and it was reported to me during my briefing with Flight Service but somewhere in my mind I was hoping it would move out, dissipate or ATC could route me around it. So we took off on a IFR plan around 10:30p. We have the "got to get home(itis)". We get up to about Okeechobee and we are in and out of the clouds, lighting visible in the distance, when Miami Center asks if we are aware of the level 3 and 4's just ahead of us. I reply in the affirmative and ask if they could vector us around it. The controller advises me that he is unable. I begin to get nervous because it has been pounded in my head since day one "never fly into a thunderstorm". So, I consult my long time friend and observer (aka Flight Instructor) in the right seat and he said we will be fine, continue. I'm silent as I mull over my situation, visions of pergatory dance in my head, when I see a rotating beacon at 11 o'clock and about 8 miles. I exersize my PIC authority and tell my observer that I'm going to land and re-evaluate my weather. This does'nt sit well with him, but he agree's with my decision. This is where things become kind of "silly". I call Miami Center and tell them "I would like to sit down and re-evaluate my weather". They reply "Is there a problem?" I tell them no problem, I just need to "sit down" at the "nearest" and re-evaluate my weather. The controller starts rattling off all of the nearest airports and as it turns out Okeechoee is the rotating beacon I've been watching for the last few minutes, so he closes our IFR flight plan, makes a comment about my decision to land (which I did'nt catch) and down we go. We landed, the FBO is closed, I talked to Flight Service again on the phone and the weather is in fact nearly east of Orlando by now. We took off and flew VFR without incident or accident to Orlando.
My observer's rationale was this: Some day if I'm flying in a part 135 operation I won't have a (good) choice but to fly in bad weather including TSRA's. It's fly or we will find someone that will. In a level 3 the worst thing that would happen is moderate turbulence and altitude flucuations, we will get bounced around. He wanted me to experience (learn) what it is like to fly in a thunderstorm while we were in a twin and while I had a experience pilot on board to save me if I lost control.
I wish now that I would have continued just for the sake of experience.
Lessons learned; Never use the phraseology "sit down" or "nearest" in standard communications. It invokes fear with the controller and your instructor won't stop laughing (he said I was already sitting down).
 

giants_fan

New Member
172 you did the right thing.

NEVER proceed if you are not 100% sure of the outcome. There is never a good reason to fly in to a thunderstorm. Really. Never.
 

chperplt

New Member
&lt;&lt; actually i would say the plane dropped about a thousand feet in a like a second or two &amp; well&gt;&gt;

I don't know how many times I've heard passenger accounts like this. Not likely that the aircraft you were flying in dropped a thousand feet in a second or two.. Probably more like 40, 50, maybe close to 100 feet at best.

As a passenger sitting in the back of a large airplane during turbulence, your senses are on overload. You don't have any way to gauge your sensations, and everything is amplified.

A 1000 foot drop in a second or two would be a major issue, which would require an emergency declaration and most certainly an airplane that would require an inspection before if could fly again.
 

Joshua949

New Member
well...i was exaggerating a bit...it wasnt a thousand..maybe 500 &amp; it was just a little longer than a second or two..the drop make u feel sick &amp; light headed...made me feel like my skin was going down with the plane &amp; my bones were going anywhere...
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
If you dropped 500 feet in two seconds, the VSI would read somewhere around 15,000 fpm down. That would have to be one hell of a thunderstorm. All it takes is a quick downdraft and 50 feet of altitude loss to give you that weighless feeling.
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I was on a supervised solo cross country in a Beech Duchess returning from Key West to Orlando at night a few months back. The weather was a solid line of level 3 and 4 TSRA's moving west to east just south of Orlando. I saw it on the radar summary and it was reported to me during my briefing with Flight Service but somewhere in my mind I was hoping it would move out, dissipate or ATC could route me around it. So we took off on a IFR plan around 10:30p. We have the "got to get home(itis)". We get up to about Okeechobee and we are in and out of the clouds, lighting visible in the distance, when Miami Center asks if we are aware of the level 3 and 4's just ahead of us. I reply in the affirmative and ask if they could vector us around it. The controller advises me that he is unable. I begin to get nervous because it has been pounded in my head since day one "never fly into a thunderstorm". So, I consult my long time friend and observer (aka Flight Instructor) in the right seat and he said we will be fine, continue. I'm silent as I mull over my situation, visions of pergatory dance in my head, when I see a rotating beacon at 11 o'clock and about 8 miles. I exersize my PIC authority and tell my observer that I'm going to land and re-evaluate my weather. This does'nt sit well with him, but he agree's with my decision. This is where things become kind of "silly". I call Miami Center and tell them "I would like to sit down and re-evaluate my weather". They reply "Is there a problem?" I tell them no problem, I just need to "sit down" at the "nearest" and re-evaluate my weather. The controller starts rattling off all of the nearest airports and as it turns out Okeechoee is the rotating beacon I've been watching for the last few minutes, so he closes our IFR flight plan, makes a comment about my decision to land (which I did'nt catch) and down we go. We landed, the FBO is closed, I talked to Flight Service again on the phone and the weather is in fact nearly east of Orlando by now. We took off and flew VFR without incident or accident to Orlando.
My observer's rationale was this: Some day if I'm flying in a part 135 operation I won't have a (good) choice but to fly in bad weather including TSRA's. It's fly or we will find someone that will. In a level 3 the worst thing that would happen is moderate turbulence and altitude flucuations, we will get bounced around. He wanted me to experience (learn) what it is like to fly in a thunderstorm while we were in a twin and while I had a experience pilot on board to save me if I lost control.
I wish now that I would have continued just for the sake of experience.
Lessons learned; Never use the phraseology "sit down" or "nearest" in standard communications. It invokes fear with the controller and your instructor won't stop laughing (he said I was already sitting down).

[/ QUOTE ]

Although you say he is your friend, I question his professionalism and judgment as an instructor / experienced pilot. YOUR decision was a much better decision given the circumstances. Flying for charter companies that expect you to fly THROUGH thunderstorms on a regular basis are not worth working for and are promoting unsafe practices. I work for a charter company, and while I have not had to cancel many trips because of weather, I have cancelled / postponed trips because of impassable thunderstorm activity. I have had complete support from the boss, and from the customers I was flying.

ALL thunderstorms are potentially dangerous regardless of the level of precipitation that is being shown radar, which is all that ATC can see. Some of the worst turbulence can occur along the leading edge of the thunderstorm, before the rain starts.

If you're going to mess about near thunderstorms, at the very least you need a good WX radar, and some experience in using it. Never rely on ATC to give you a completely accurate picture.

There was a good article in one of the aviation magazines recently that talked about what the airliens do when it comes to thunderstorm avoidance. I don't remember which one it was. If anyone knows, please let me know, I wanna read it again myself!!

Ray
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I think landing short was a better judgement call than flying thru a thunderstorm for the experience.

While a Duchess is a monster compared to a C-152, the Duchess is not a very capable aircraft whatsoever, especially while circumnavigating thunderstorms.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
There was a good article in one of the aviation magazines recently that talked about what the airliens do when it comes to thunderstorm avoidance. I don't remember which one it was. If anyone knows, please let me know, I wanna read it again myself!!

[/ QUOTE ]

raysalmon,

I read that article too and it was very informative. Everyone should read it to get a perspective on how the pros deal with thunderstorms. The article was written by Les Abend and it appeared on page 72 of the September 2003 issue of Flying Magaizine.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
[If you're going to mess about near thunderstorms, at the very least you need a good WX radar, and some experience in using it. Never rely on ATC to give you a completely accurate picture.



[/ QUOTE ]

True enough,. Although ATC can make out echos on their radar, the radar they use isn't optimized for seeing WX and there is stuff they may miss.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
DO NOT rely on ATC to help you avoid thunderstorms WHATSOEVER.

Like MikeD said, they're not tuned for weather, only for aluminum!


There have been so many times that we'll ask for 20 degrees left or right for weather and ATC will ask us what we're seeing because he's showing nothing. Meanwhile we're looking directly at a level three or four dead ahead.

Whenever I fly in or out of Florida, there's always some pilot asking ATC "Uhh, we're IMC, what do you show ahead of us?" meanwhile, my NAV display shows a gang of imbedded thunderstorms.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Last weekend, I got a little bit too close to an "area of weather" that, according to Memphis Center was "just a tiny area of light to moderate precip (righhht)...that suddenly became continuous moderate with intermittent servere turbulence. As the rain got severe and I had trouble reading the instruments due to the turbulence, I very [clears throat] calmly did a 180 and the TOLD center that I was deviating and landing at an airport about 12 miles behind me (he didn't like that). By that time, I was handed off to Indy center, who advised me that I was pretty darn close to a few cells, but that I wasn't in them (close is too close for this guy...). So, I landed and sat the morning out at the MOST REDNECK FBO I've ever been in!! The FBO manager kept ranting at his daughter (who I'd say was about 7) to turn off "those GD cartoons", she don't need to be "watchin' not S*%t like that", and to go get him is "pliers out the truck....". I was afraid....very afraid....

LEsson learned?? NEVER TRUST ATC FOR WEATHER AVOIDANCE!!!!! Never...they just can't do it enough. As much as you hear other people tell you, sometimes I guess you have to touch the pot to learn that it's hot!!
 

eodfe

New Member
I've flown through a few dozen thunderstorms in a very sturdy EP-3's and P-3's. Having done that there is no way in H%LL that I would ever intentionally fly throught a T-storm in a small aircraft. There were times in the middle of the storm I thought the wings were going to be ripped off. Intentionally flying through a thunderstorm just to get the experience is like shooting yourself in the foot just so you know how it feels to be shot.

Good job in landing and evaluating the situation.
 
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