Flying and Storms?

JGriffis

New Member
Anyone had any experiences while flying and ran into any mean storms? I'm anxious to hear your experiences.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Twice. Once into a Level 4 and the last time a couple of months ago into a Level 4/5.

Sucked both times.
 

Dazzler

Well-Known Member
I once inadvertently flew between two thunderstorms. They were connected at their tops, providing an archway between them. On the other side of the "archway" was clear sky and a wonderful rainbow. What an experience! There was moderate to severe turbulence as I transitioned through the frontal zone. The adrenaline was certainly pumping. I encountered little precipitation, but I could see very heavy rain falling from the towering cumulus either side of me. It was dark, and it was bumpy. I lost 1,000 feet in altitude due to downdrafts and turbulence. The whole thing only lasted a few minutes, but it seemed like forever. The controller was very helpful and working real hard to maneuver other aircraft, including airliners, around the monsters. Once through, it was plain sailing and I was treated to a transition across Minneapolis International Airport, then along the Mississippi with the downtowns of both of the Twin Cities on either side. Landing at Crystal - wind calm, sky clear...a far cry from what I had left behind about 50 miles to the south.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
A couple of mine, never thought keeping a jounal at studentpilot.com would ever get any use:p



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It was the day before I was leaving to do my glider training and also the day after the last day of school for the summer. The other pilot had left the '83 Navajo Chieftan at Martin State, MD (MTN) for the night and drove the airport car home. Me and mom drove over (3 1/2 hours) to pick up the plane and the boss. Weather was beautiful on the drive over and I thought we were going to have a nice flight. I asked my mom what the weather was supposed to be and she said we'd have some storms to play with, Yee ha. I loved playing with the lighting and red on the stormscope and radar. We got there and ate a Chiliis. Then got to the airport and I talked to all my buddies over there. A bunch of airport folks hang around the FBO and I'm their 3 days a week 12 hours a day in the summer so I know 'em all well. I looked at the radar and was stunned, NASTY looking yellow and red was all over D.C. and approching Baltimore; FAST. I walk out side and can hear the thunder. I hear a jet and look to see what it is. Turns out it's a couple buddies I know from my area dropping the boss off in his Beechjet. They land and I poke my head in and say hi, but they're in a rush to get out ahead of those storms. My mom comes out and says the boss is comming around the corner and to hop in the airplane. The plan was to fly over to Bay Bridge (W29) and pick up the other boss. Then fly the two of them back to our home base. We take off with lightning at our 6 and a colorful radar screen. I fly this leg and make a nice smooth take off then up to 3,000' and talk to Patomic. W29's only 15 miles away so we're there in no time following a Baron on the visual to 11. We're on final and I give the airplane to my mom (short runway don't want to mess up here) and she puts the gear down. Red light and the handle doesn't fall. Uh oh, not good. Storms on our tail, marine helicopters diveret to W29 the WX was so bad. We try three more times, and still a read light. Mom decides to make a low pass and ask the marine chopper pilots if the gear is down. They say it looks good so we try the handle 2 more times. Nothing happens so we decide to try to land. Mom greased it in and took the last taxi way. We hop out of the airplane and I take a look at the gear while my mom opens our next flight plan. I noticed some thing different, but couldn't tell what it was. Turns out the gear doors were down. How the hell did I miss that? A hydrolic line to the gear doors busted and left the doors down while the gear was down. Some how the right main indicator was tripped causeing the airplane to think the right gear was up. We pick up the other boss and hop back in the airplane. The storms were once again just comming over the airport so we got the hell out of there. Had an uneventful flight home, except for the gear horn going off for the whole approch (annoyying as hell). Had a great time with the gliders the next day, and now have one hell of memory in that pretty old Chieftan....

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It was race day at Dover Downs here in Delaware and I was working the office at the local FBO making $9 an hour and loving every second of it. We must have had 30 jets and commuter aircraft on the ramp belonging to the race teams. A couple of my buddies are in a partnership in an Mitsubishi MU2 (long body) and one of the owners (a very experienced pilot) was in the FBO. They had just purchased an old 30,000 sq' hanger and were spending a lot of time cleaning it up. I was talking to him and asked him if he was doing any flying that day. He said he was taking his wife and daughter over to BWI to catch a flight to AZ. I asked if I could ride a long and he said no problem. He picked me up at 6 and we drove over. I hadn't looked at the weather and it looked nice to me. Turned out it was the first BIG thunder storm for the NE. Level 5 and 6's were about 10 miles to the NW of BWI as we lifted the fully loaded MU2 off the runway. Turned on the radar and saw absotlutly nothing but red and yellow. I he looked over at me and said,"Holy [expletive deleted] Alex, what are we supposed to do?" Of course he was just playin around. It was race day so Dover approch was crammed full of people trying to get clearences so we departed VFR and picked up IFR with Patuxen. Flew around a lot of little cells and then we saw the big one. Now it was only 2 miles NW of the airport and most flights had just shut down on the taxi way. But hey, we still have time to get in. So we fly the visual for 10, then the wind (like steady at 20) changes to 33, so 33L, over to 28. We turn final for 28 get wind shear alerts and I'm scared as hell, but I have complete confidence in Jack. He makes one of the nicest damn landings I've ever felt. We taxi down RWY 4 to Signiture and shut down. Jacks wife, step daughter and their friends jump in the van to the terminal as me and Jack walkn into the FBO. About 15 feet from the door it starts pissing down rain. I take off in a sprint and so does Jack. We get in and lightning is every where. I look out the window and watch the tower get struck. I look over at Jack and say," You ready to roll?" He starts laughing and says, "Hey look, free ice cream." Signiture had 6 different types of ice cream there for the pilots and 4 different types of coffee, and pop corn. It's now around 7 and Jack says we'll be there till atleast 10 till it clears up enough for us to get home, Remember it's now moving straight towards home, so we'd have to fly through it. He decides to treat me to dinner and we go to this great Italian place, and both get big Steaks and free salads and bread sticks. Get back to the airport and watch some movie with a couple Falcon Capts. waiting for thier hotel van. At around 8 we watch cops then at 9 we watch Americas Most Wanted then finally we hop in the airplane and go home. It's a nice flight home, weather had gotten a little low but no T storms. We fly the VOR to 4 at GED then make a nice landing and put 'er away. He drops me off at home at around 11 pm. Next morin' I'm up at 5am. to work at the FBO. Boy I love that type of life style........

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SUSPilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
We hop out of the airplane and I take a look at the gear while my mom opens our next flight plan. I noticed some thing different, but couldn't tell what it was. Turns out the gear doors were down. How the hell did I miss that? A hydrolic line to the gear doors busted and left the doors down while the gear was down. Some how the right main indicator was tripped causeing the airplane to think the right gear was up. We pick up the other boss and hop back in the airplane. The storms were once again just comming over the airport so we got the hell out of there. Had an uneventful flight home, except for the gear horn going off for the whole approch (annoyying as hell). Had a great time with the gliders the next day, and now have one hell of memory in that pretty old Chieftan....

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Not to pick on you, but I hope you know you illegally flew a non-airworthy plane home. Not only is that stupid but if our friends from the FAA would have seen that, they could have very easily called for an emergency revocation of your mother's pilot certificates for flying that airplane. Just a little food for thought.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Anyone had any experiences while flying and ran into any mean storms? I'm anxious to hear your experiences.

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If anybody has done such a thing in a tiny general aviation airplane, they probably realize it was a very stupid thing or aren't alive to tell about it right now!!!
 

montana

New Member
Does anyone else think it is weird to read Citationkid's cussing? Starting out pretty young there bud. . .
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Does anyone else think it is weird to read Citationkid's cussing? Starting out pretty young there bud. . .


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"Hell" is a cuss word now?

 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Anyone had any experiences while flying and ran into any mean storms? I'm anxious to hear your experiences.

[/ QUOTE ]

If anybody has done such a thing in a tiny general aviation airplane, they probably realize it was a very stupid thing or aren't alive to tell about it right now!!!

[/ QUOTE ]

Must be nice flying out in Arizona where there aren't many embedded storms....
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Got a little too close to one this last fall. Was flying at 8000 feet on a pretty crappy morning. I was in the clouds most of the flight, and there weren't many cells around when I departed. Nashville Approach was helping me out, and they were doing a great job letting me know how the precip looked on their radar. The further I got to the east, the worse the weather got, and they advised me that there were a few embedded cells, and continued to vector me around them.

The crap started after I was handed off to Memphis center - they soooo suck!!! Just as they were saying "I'm not showing any precip at all for at least 30 miles along your route", I started getting pounded with pretty bad rain and turbulence. I started a 180 and got the hell out of there!!!! Before I could even complete the turn, I was out of the clouds and did my best to stay clear. My boy was in the plane with me and the whole time, he was on the 430 looking for an airport and finding the approach plate for the closest airport. We requested an approach, landing and waited the weather out at what had to be the crappiest FBO in Tennessee!!!
 

cime_sp

Well-Known Member
I got caught in an intense rainstorm one time in a Seminole. It was coming down so hard that despite full power and holding Vy with full power I was still descending rapidly! We punched through quick enough though and were never in any real danger altitude wise...
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
....Nashville Approach was helping me out, and they were doing a great job letting me know how the precip looked on their radar. The further I got to the east, the worse the weather got, and they advised me that there were a few embedded cells, and continued to vector me around them.

The crap started after I was handed off to Memphis center - they soooo suck!!! Just as they were saying "I'm not showing any precip at all for at least 30 miles along your route", I started getting pounded with pretty bad rain and turbulence......

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Yeah, there can be a BIG difference in what the different types of radar can show. I'm a little lazy to look up the different styles right now, but some of the newer ATC radars are pretty good at weather depiction, while some of the older stuff doesn't show weather returns hardly at all. I believe that the Approach guys typically have the better radar (but there are still some pretty big variations), while I think that the Center's radar is usually pretty worthless for weather. I don't know how the new upgrades are going, though, or who is getting the good stuff. I'm sure someone else can fill in the details....

The bottom line is I tend to be pretty leary about relying on ATC for weather avoidance unless it is one of the Approach facilities that I am familiar with, and know they have good capabilities.
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
We hop out of the airplane and I take a look at the gear while my mom opens our next flight plan. I noticed some thing different, but couldn't tell what it was. Turns out the gear doors were down. How the hell did I miss that? A hydrolic line to the gear doors busted and left the doors down while the gear was down. Some how the right main indicator was tripped causeing the airplane to think the right gear was up. We pick up the other boss and hop back in the airplane. The storms were once again just comming over the airport so we got the hell out of there. Had an uneventful flight home, except for the gear horn going off for the whole approch (annoyying as hell). Had a great time with the gliders the next day, and now have one hell of memory in that pretty old Chieftan....

[/ QUOTE ]

Not to pick on you, but I hope you know you illegally flew a non-airworthy plane home. Not only is that stupid but if our friends from the FAA would have seen that, they could have very easily called for an emergency revocation of your mother's pilot certificates for flying that airplane. Just a little food for thought.

[/ QUOTE ]

Exactly what I was thinking . . . a busted hydro line, gear doors flapping in the wind all the way home, and faulty gear position indicators? Can we say 'airworthiness'?

More on topic, I've flown through some heavy rain and had a VERY brief encounter with super cooled large water droplets but nothing really notable. Hopefully it will stay that way.

 

PeanuckleCRJ

Poodle Wrangler
Had my first encounter with some t-storms in the CRJ the other day- very different experience in a jet. St. Elmo's fire paid a visit...yowza!!! We were going through a hole in a line of storms...still got pretty bumpy- kinda scary hearing the static noise on the radio fading in and out. Continuous ignition on....Wings and Cowls, on.... here we go...
Capt. broke a few of my rules of thumb as far as t-storms go, but we made it through nonetheless. Could have gone over the top and dropped like a brick into SBN....instead chose to descend and poke into the clouds in between some pretty big cells. Not my top choice, but i was PNF too....i made my suggestion... oh well...we made sure we stayed safe and on top of things in the situation anyways.


I've gotten myself into several tight squeezes with storms before- though I've been lucky enough to keep my head on straight use my brain to work my way out of the situation.. (get below and stay visual- if you can't see through it, don't go through it- never any shame in turning around). Thunderstorm flying is something of an art in the south...at least keeping out of trouble with them is. My dad taught me some great techniques and it has certainly paid off.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
I was flying a C150 last year just before my IR checkride and my destination airport got socked in, so I diverted to another field, did a t&g and high-tailed it home as storms were building fast to the east hooking around to the south directly in front of me. To the west..... the Gulf of Mexico.

So, I called ATC to talk about a huge cell (turned out to be two actually) in front of me and they said they didn't show anything and to turn to a heading of 150.

Well, 150 would have taken DIRECTLY into a cell.

I told them as much and they acted as if they didn't believe me. I asked for another vector and he got pissy.

So, I canceled FF, dropped below the bases and hauld @ss back to my home field just in time.

These storms were not forecasted.

I now understand that Tampa's ATC either doesn't have weather-reporting radar or you have to ask them to turn the damned thing on.

Whichever. It was fun.
 

CK

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]


Exactly what I was thinking . . . a busted hydro line, gear doors flapping in the wind all the way home, and faulty gear position indicators? Can we say 'airworthiness'?

More on topic, I've flown through some heavy rain and had a VERY brief encounter with super cooled large water droplets but nothing really notable. Hopefully it will stay that way.



[/ QUOTE ]

We had a mechanic look at it over there and he said it ok to go.We now have a "maximum edit time" so I can't go back and add that in. The gear doors went up when the gear did, just stayed down when the gear was down.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
Luckily, I haven't flown into too many thunderstorms!
Just off OE (and during OE), we encountered some thunderstorms at the end of the summer. Some of our aircraft have much better Airborne Weather Radar, so we were able to pick our way through much better. However some weren't as good, so it wasn't until the last minute where we made a turn to pick through/around a cell.

I think although the thunderstorms are to be respected, for us we can often find ways to reroute or fly around the cells. Sometimes this is not the case, but we did ok. I think even more of a concern is inversion layers in icing conditions! This is more of a worry to me (something to avoid!) than rain. Why? Because the frozen precipitation will melt in the inversion, then refreeze (freezing rain, SLD) as you descend again into the temperatures below zero. Sometimes you won't even know it, since on our flight release and weather packets we have information about winds aloft/temperatures for the 4000' surrounding our filed altitude, and the surface winds/temperature for the ground.
 

fr8dog

New Member
I'm not that lucky...
Flying boxes (that incidently don't complain) at night in a be58 at lower levels with deadlines means you can't climb above it or can't really afford the 150 miles deviation.......so stay low, find the weak spot and buckle up !!!!
That said i will put my badge back on and warn you not to land in the blinkin' red/prple/blackbehindthered and so on
 
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