Air France

LLL

New member
I'm confused. Planes fly in storms all the time. They have to, or travel would come to a stop. Just last month, two planes were hit by lightning on approach at Philly International. I've flown through a few storms with lightning, and as a result, I now drive.

When I lived in NY, I lived directly under the flight patterns in and out of LGA, and I've seen planes flying in weather that I would not fly in.

Wind. Rain. Low ceiling. If you stand on 23rd Ave in Jackson Heights, you'll be directly under the planes landing at LGA. On a stormy day, you don't see the planes until seconds before landing.
 

sgambaccini

Lifetime Elite
tek, you gave one of the clearer answers i"ve read so far! thank you.
but can i add one more thing? i noticed that many times over the Atlantic, pilots say "there's been reports from other aircrafts of some turbulence ahead". So would you say that even without radar coverage over the ocean, pilots know what's going on?
 

tek

Lifetime Elite
pireps

pireps

Yes, pilot reports are the best real-time source of information that can be broadcast instantly to other pilots to use for making decisions inflight.
 

mareducate

Super Lifetime Elite
TEK, thanks for the great answer, it's fascinating to have your input on this site. What I'm taking away from all of this is that while flying over the ocean, especially at night, the pilot is dependent on sketchy weather briefings, limited visual observation, and pireps to keep away from CBs, which are most likely to occur around the equator at certain times of the year. Is this roughly accurate? If so, why don't more planes encounter severe turbulence on that route? Seems like it would just be a matter of luck to avoid the problems, or maybe the severe turbulence is just part of the experience and isn't reported.

I am also interested in comparing the weather patterns on the Hawaii-LAX route, which I have flown at least once a year for about 15 years. It's always a night flight, so there's the limited visibility issue, and I assume there's still insufficient radar over the ocean, but in winter-spring conditions, I've only experienced occasional light turbulence and no obvious diversions. Only one flight was moderate all the way across, and that was in late December when we had to fly through a storm that was too big to avoid. However, I have a friend who was on a flight from LAX to Hawaii in April and they had to return to LAX after 2 hours, pilot reported too much turbulence. Have I just been lucky, or is that weather not as problematic since it doesn't cross the equator? Or is the pattern different in the Pacific vs. the Atlantic?
 

tek

Lifetime Elite
Oceanic

Oceanic

There are sources wx information for ocean crossings. Satellite data is available from both geostationary (GOES) and polar orbiting satellites that have a top down look at our atmosphere. Visible light imagery and infrared for night give forecasters and models data for identifying trouble spots. Pilot weather briefers, forecasters, and pilots use all this data to get a heads up on the expected weather enroute for all flights. My main point was that there are limited ground based weather data sources over water such as our excellent NexRad wx radar system.

High altitude or cruising level severe or greater turbulence is actually quite rare in occurence. It is usually called clear air turbulence and is caused by shears or changes in direction of flow or velocities near or in a jet stream. This site has links to all kinds of data that is useful to me to pick a good route or make a go/no decision based on flying in turbulence for a friend of mine who is a very nervous flyer. I met her when I was still briefing and had all the data at my fingertips. Since then I have come to rely on the internet and mostly use this site in combination with the National Weather Service sites and Weather underground.

On this site you can look at the jet stream link and compare it to the max turb potential and pireps to get an idea of patterns that cause tb for example.

I realize that there is little comfort for people who have a phobia about flying. Irrational fear cannot be calmed by rationalizing unfortunately.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
Tek and others:

First of all, I welcome Tek to a new title for great board posters, named Platinum Contributor.

The site will be redesigned in the upcoming months, and I'd like to form a panel/council, if you will, for interested members, and also for interested professionals (current or former) to ensure that we are featuring the maps of primary importance and by adding as many of the relevant maps so that passengers and professionals alike can use the site quickly and easily, and deemphasizing the maps that don't work well.

I think many would be surprised (including myself) by who uses this website and I want to ensure that their needs are met.

If you are interested in joining the panel, please send a private message on the board to me. I will be setting up a separate forum for discussion on the redesign efforts.



Since then I have come to rely on the internet and mostly use this site in combination with the National Weather Service sites and Weather underground.
 

LLL

New member
Irrational?

Irrational?

Hey TEK, there's nothing irrational about being afraid to fly. Planes crash all the time. Too many.

Air France had 261 planes in their fleet, until two weeks ago. Today, they have 260. 1 in 261 has been in a fatal crash. Those aren't good odds. Can you imagine if the lottery treated people the same way?
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
Those certainly aren't valid odds, unless you are a bolt on that plane (and even then, not really). How many people ride the same plane, day after day? Hint: Not even the pilot.

Please see this article, in short, you are 20 times more likely to die in a car wreck then a plane wreck.

http://www.livescience.com/environment/050106_odds_of_dying.html

Hey TEK, there's nothing irrational about being afraid to fly. Planes crash all the time. Too many.

Air France had 261 planes in their fleet, until two weeks ago. Today, they have 260. 1 in 261 has been in a fatal crash. Those aren't good odds. Can you imagine if the lottery treated people the same way?
 

LLL

New member
Keep in mind, I'm talking "aircraft" being involved in a fatal accident, not the stats of someone dying in a plane crash. They are totally different categories.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, but aircraft don't decide not to fly when the turbulence forecast looks bad ;)

Keep in mind, I'm talking "aircraft" being involved in a fatal accident, not the stats of someone dying in a plane crash. They are totally different categories.
 

LLL

New member
Simple

Simple

F-GZCP That's the plane that crashed into the Atlantic. The fact that it was called flight 447 is irrelevant. Air France only had 261 planes before F-GZCP crashed. Scary.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
From wikipedia:

It was also the first accident in commercial service resulting in fatalities in the 16-year operating history of the Airbus A330.

F-GZCP That's the plane that crashed into the Atlantic. The fact that it was called flight 447 is irrelevant. Air France only had 261 planes before F-GZCP crashed. Scary.
 

LLL

New member
Not a big deal

Not a big deal

That's not an impressive stat. It's still an Airbus, and there are problems with the plane that have been well documented. Airbus is sounding dangerous.

I still say the EU, Airbus, and Air France don't want to find the black boxes. Too much too lose.
 

sgambaccini

Lifetime Elite
i think a lot of these problems (and fears) would be solved if there were powerful radars or any device on board which told the pilot the exact composition of storms ahed, and gave also the smoother route through it, if the storms were unavoidable.
the current radars on board are somewhat useful, but evidently not enough to really see through many severe storms. Another thing i want to point out about Airbus: true it's the first fatal accident of the A330. but in the past year or so: Quantas Airbus plunged mid-air for some weird glitch, Air Canada Airbus had major sever turbulence twice last year were people got hurt (pilots said they couldn't detect the storms ahead), AA airbus crashed outside JFK (and they blamed the pilot for that one). I think it's about time Airbus gets a reality check. Remember when DC 10 kept having accidents and people kept saying they were still very safe? well, you don't see many of those flying around anymore (unless it's cargo!)
 

mareducate

Super Lifetime Elite
My son and brother are both in NYC, trying to get to ORD from LGA since Friday night on UAL, many cancels. That storm is a brute; it blew through Chicago last night and many power outages, downed trees etc. I wouldn't want to fly near that one.
 

LLL

New member
Although inconvenienced, your son and brother are better off on the ground.

It looks like it's clearing up(I'm looking at radar) though. I can see things being back to normal tonight.
 
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