6 Reasons Why We Don't Fly With Lightning
Welcome July. This is arguably one of the hottest months throughout the year! With Florida heat comes Florida responsibility--don't fly if you see lightning. It's not just an empty threat, but real-life cautionary advice.
Storms can be intimidating, but flying in them can be terrifying.
If you hadn't learned from Colette's experience in "Stormy Skies," we urge you to not try this at home. Or in the sky! Being in the middle of a lightning storm could definitely scar you mentally for life! And nobody wants that, because airplanes are cool!
Another issue is with storms is lightning.
Lightning is bad. A giant hunk of metal in a lightning storm is worse. Enough said.
Convective weather is prevalent in florida.
These summer months are when Florida is faced with some of its most convective weather, and because of that, thunder storms and hurricanes are more prevalent during this season.
Turbulence can affect landing, flying, and safety in general.
Obviously a thunderstorm isn't gentle, you can get that notion simply by walking towards your car during one. Sometimes the wind speeds are so fast, that cars jerk in-lane due to weather. Imagine flying through it. According to Kevin Adamson, who's been flying for over 25 years, turbulence is no joke. "You can lose a thousand feet of altitude pretty darn quick," he says. "And the microbursts can throw you into the ground during landing."
MICROBURSTS are unpredictable.
First things first, what are microbursts? Microbursts are smaller downdrafts that are extremely powerful and extremely dangerous. Microbursts are a sudden downburst of wind and some smaller airplanes don't have a way to detect them! When you enter a microburst, your airspeed picks up. Kevin Adamson says that it forces you to pull power back to maintain speed, but by doing so, you get directly underneath it.
"It forces the plane to increase sink rate and then you get a tailwind," he says. "So you lose airspeed while falling out of the sky."
Not only is it serious, but if you get to that point, timing is everything.
"To recover, you need to add MAX power immediately, nose up, and pray," Adamson explains. "If you wait too long, you're going to crash."
Cool, you might be thinking. Just avoid thunderstorms! You're not out of the woods quite yet.
Microbursts can happen wet or dry, and microbursts can effect landing. A rule of thumb is to avoid thunderstorms if you can, but especially while landing. Lucky for us, microbursts are short-lived and can generally be avoided.
Engine failure could happen just by flying in a storm. seriously!
Engine failure is no joke, but not as terrible as the movies make it out to be. According to Adamson, he's landed his plane after he lost 1 out of 2 engines. Yet, as with everything, it all depends. He says it depends on the gross weight, outside temperature, pressure, and altitude.
"But it should still fly," Adamson says.
The bottom line is safety. Flying in rain and flying in thunderstorms are two completely different things. Thunderstorms can bring a variety of issues to the table, and we just aren't going to risk our team for it.
Stay safe everybody, and happy flying!