What is bad weather really in aviation? yesterday as i was watching over at a Aerodrome Meteorological station ,?

..., as a trainee, i observed a dense altostratus cloud tending to a nimbo stratus cloud, a stratus cloud of over 7 oktas accompanied by -RA and a FEW CB , so i thought this was bad weather enough to cancel any take off from the airfield but amazingly over commercial planes took off at that time ..!!? so really whats bad weather in Aviation?

1 Answer

  • 5 years ago
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    I own and fly often a light aircraft, a Kitfox, here in Norway. I took my license 13 years ago and ever since, I teach meteorology to student aviators.

    I like to fly with alto-stratus because it reduces the heat of the sun and it is less thermal turbulent. If I read -RA, it is not a problem, flying VFR is okay with a little bit of rain, especially if it is showers. The idea then is to fly in the direction you can see the horizon. A few drops won't hurt my plane, although I have a wood propeller and I never use full throttle in light rain.

    FEW CB is not a big problem either. Be careful if they are strong and you fly a very light aircraft. I once flew a glider under one, rising in the thermal, but I got a lot of problem to get out of it and not into the cloud!

    Bad weather for VFR GA aviation is ... bad visibility. To fly VFR you need, at least 4 NM visibility. Of course things like SW (shear wind) TS (thunderstorm) and GR (hail) are no-fly conditions.

    Commercial flights are all IFR certified. They even have de-icing devices in the leading edge of their wings. That is also another problem for IFR: If you go over the so-called zero-isotherm in a cloud ... icing may appear so fast that you are on your way down if you can't get rid of it.

    It happened to a friend of mine who intended to fly his light aircraft a February day in light fog. He told me that he could see the blue sky above the fog and thought he could climb through it. But, only 2 or 3 hundred feet above the ground, the ice had build-up so much on his wing and propeller that he went down. Luckily he landed in the snow, outside the airfield and could walk away from it. But both wings were broken and, the plane was shipped to the manufacturer in the Czech Republic and, a few months later, I helped him to fly it back home.

    If you go here:


    you can see some of my Kitfox flights.

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