Flying THROUGH a thunderstorm


Not quite GA, but what the heck. Unbelievable display of Mother Nature in her domain.

Need to thank these guys for serving and protecting our very right to post here :smiley:



Flying through an American thunderstorm, on Airtran.


I think ALL airlines in areas that frequent severe t-storms should post that mduell. Makes me having to explain that them wanting to take the risk of wadding up the plane just to get where they are going is not smart, a lot easier.


I don’t know whether plugging a friend’s website is allowed here, but my reason for posting is strictly for purposes of sharing the love of flight, combined with the love of mother nature’s fury. I’m not a pilot, just an enthusiast, and been a severe weather spotter for over 10 years, and this is a local friend I met thru sharing severe weather photos on a local news website. He advocates safety as his number one priority when flying, but as part of what he does, he runs into severe weather a lot here in the midwest, and happens to fly close enough to teach others how NOT to fly in or near severe weather. I’m sure he would appreciate hearing from other pilots regarding their experiences with severe weather. I’ve never met him but from my correspondence with him, hunting and sharing radars, etc. – I can trust that you will receive a warm, sincere response. He may even share your photos on his website. – of which I love the name, it says it all lol


Not quite GA, but what the heck. Unbelievable display of Mother Nature in her domain.

Need to thank these guys for serving and protecting our very right to post here :smiley:


They fly directly through a severe thunderstorm because of what? Seems totally unecessary to me.[/quote]


Gee, did you even watch the video and read the text???

Hmmm, per video description:

“We had the storm to our left and Iran to our right so we really had nowhere to go”

Now, given those choices, what would you do as I seriously doubt Iran would roll the red carpet out as they do at some FBO’s.




I’d hope that a 180 was an option, but maybe it wasn’t.

It’s not like they are in friendly territory, and I think Iran would love an opportunityto engage an airplane violating their airspace.

They are flying in hostile territory, the rules of flying are tossed and the survival of the fittest rules.

Given the choice of a thunderstorm or a heat seeking missile, seems that the choices are lose, lose, but personally, I’d take a chance with the thunderstorm.

Video doesn’t go into the military aspect, but who’s to say the were even armed and didn’t have anything to protect themselves.



Apparently it’s a fully laden KC-135 gas-passer, so a 180 probably wasn’t an option due to mission responsibilities.

An incursion into Iranian airspace would be immediately met with a SAM greeting, regardless of the duration. Can you say “Caught between a rock and a hard place”? I knew you could.

135s are unarmed.


Says alot about our brave young service people over there and the reliability of the 50+ year old Boeings they place their trust in everyday.


The 135’s are mainly from the 60’s so that makes them *only *40+ years old
I was just thinking about this the other day, although actually in the context of airliners.

I say, for all practical purposes, if an airline - or the Air Force - follows the maintenance procedures correctly, there is no such thing as a 50+ year old aircraft. In the course of that time, almost every part of the aircraft would have been replaced and/or upgraded. About the only things not to be replaced in whole would be the fuselage and wing/tail surfaces. Even then, there would be pieces replaced.


These are some of the parts I would be most concerned about it in the given situation. But you are correct!


Definately agreed here. Aloha airlines comes to mind…

Metal fatigue. In this case, what you cant see under a fresh coat of paint will come to bite you.



I remember that incident. I also remember all the PAX praising the capt for doing such a great job. What struck me as odd, is what a complete dim*#$% the capt was. He said on national TV, “I thought flying through the storm in the mid 20’s (25000’ or so), we would be fine…” Um…That’s where the storm is the strongest…not to mention we are all taught to avoid the downwind side of a storm by 20 miles, the gap he choose was 10. I’m sure he was aiming for the middle of it which put him 5 miles from the storm cell, I’m sure on a 45000’ tower that was UNDER the anvil.

And in the report the FO did NOTHING. They both should have been fired.

From the full report:

This guy was a winner, I mean that DC9 is one hard a/c to figure out.


“We had the storm to our left and Iran to our right so we really had nowhere to go”

What tha hell are you Americans doing over there in IRAQ ? (besides guarding the 2nd biggest oil reserve in the world)


oh here we go…


Bring it on!


“There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime.”

  • Sign over squadron ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.


Another Thunderstorm flight video. I’d be wetting my britches if I saw this ahead of me.


I do NOT want to minimize what those guys did, or flew through, but…

Seems like they stayed out of most of the precip, and while that turbulence didn’t seem fun, it was nothing beyond moderate. If the storm that was giving them the problems was the same one displayed on the radar, they were fairly far away.

All that being said, when I first watched the video I got the heeby jeebys big time, flying around thunderstorms at night is NOT fun.