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Many airline passengers worry about their safety during the rainy season. Bad weather can cause visibility issues and a shaky flight. Surprisingly, bad weather is rarely fatal for modern passenger aircraft models. Still, how do airlines know if it’s safe to fly in bad weather?
During the winter or monsoon season, the number of canceled and delayed flights are significantly higher. This isn’t because the planes themselves could not handle the rain or snow. In fact, commercial jets are known for being unbelievably durable. The major reason for the delays and cancellations can be traced down to the airports.
Flying during snowfall
A little snow is never an issue for airlines. The problem occurs when heavy snowfall starts covering the runways in a blanket of slush. When snow accumulates, the runways must first be plowed clear and this can take a bit of time. Snow also causes visibility issues for everyone. Thus, airports will have to slow down the operations to keep everyone safe.
How wind affects an airplane
During takeoff and landing, wind can cause problems. Headwind—the type that blows towards the direction of a plane, is preferred during take-off because it reduces the take-off run. Meanwhile, tailwinds or wind that blows from the back of the plane is preferred when the plane is already in flight because it reduces the total flight duration.
The problem is often caused by crosswinds. These winds blow across the plane and can cause problems during takeoff and landing. Different aircraft models have set wind limitations that will help pilots and airport personnel to decide whether it’s safe to fly.
Flying during a thunderstorm
Do they cancel flights for thunderstorms? Thunderstorms are usually avoided by passenger airlines. The major cause of concern stems from the runway conditions from either the departure or arrival airport. Turbulence is rarely an issue for planes. Windshears—a strong and sudden change of wind direction—can impact flight conditions. Vertical wind shear is associated with thunderstorms and if your flight experiences them, expect a change in airspeed.
So, do flights take off in the rain? The answer is: it depends. Take-off during moderate to heavy rainfall isn’t as dangerous as one may think. However, if extremely strong and unstable winds are present, then your flight may be delayed or canceled.
If your flight flies during rough weather, the pilot will usually find a way around or above the storm if possible. So the next time you wait for your delayed flight, keep in mind that the authorities and airlines are only doing what they can to keep you safe.
Can Planes Fly in Bad Weather?
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