Thunderstorms can play havoc with air travel, especially if one comes and sits over an airport like one is doing with PHX right now. There's really no way to get around the problem that the things are dangerous to fly in.
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Aviationbuff08 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 346 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5218 times:
Thunderstorms and Aircraft do not mix well at all. Alot of airports close for a of time to while thunderstorms move across. PHX ia not alone with this problem. Although the problem is compounded by the mere fact that airplanes are not carrying as much reserve fuel as the have in years past.
History is rife with airliner accidents occurring while attempting to operate during thunderstorms. The industry has learned many painful lessons over the years and now errs on the side of caution and rightfully so.
DaCubbyBearBar From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 76 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5198 times:
Southwest had approximately 8 diversions of planes that were headed to LAS this afternoon. There was a lot of lightning right on top of the airport for about 45 minutes. 1 even went to PSP. I wish I had a picture of that 1.
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Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 5972 posts, RR: 12 Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5021 times:
Weather in PHX last night was not good, It was raining and winds were gusting, I went outside for a second to move my car and it felt as if a sand storm was approaching. On the other hand it's quite refreshing to get some rain in the valley. It rains so little in this town that the world comes to a halt when a monsoon comes around
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4770 times:
Quoting Aviationbuff08 (Reply 2): Although the problem is compounded by the mere fact that airplanes are not carrying as much reserve fuel as the have in years past.
Despite news reports to the contrary, Part 121 airline flights are carrying the same :45 minute FAR reserve fuel that they always have been.
If the destination weather requires an alternate be designated, fuel is carried for that too..
The variable fuel quantity is the "contingency" fuel, which covers possible holding, minor deviations, minor re-routes, and flight at slightly lower FLs enroute. In VMC conditions, managements like that contingency fuel kept as low as possible, so as to keep the weight of the aircraft as low as possible, thus saving fuel. The dispatcher has FAR-mandated considerations in fuel planning, and irrespective of management often carries more than management would desire.
The biggest variable when it comes to weather and diversions is timing with respect to a specific aircraft's arrival into the terminal area. Exactly when will the storms hit? Exactly how long will they last? Exactly how many other aircraft are ahead of me?
If the holding times are longer than you have the fuel for, you either "shorten up" to an alternate closer-in (if possible) to make holding possible, or you shag to the alternate.
Erikr From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 108 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4623 times:
PHX was a mess last night.
We rolled out to the runway bound for PSP just as the groundstop hit. We sat for two hours on the taxiway in 75 mph winds and thundershowers. We actually took a vote whether to stay out there or head back to the terminal. Whether our vote would actually mean anything, we stay our place on the taxi.
Once we finally took off, about 45 minutes, we started to prepare for landing. However, we were landing in Flagstaff. The pilots actually stated we went the wrong way! They blamed it on ATC. The passengers thought otherwise.
Hey, at least US Airways gave us free water instead of charging $2.
Finally landed in Palm Springs at 1:15am (instead of 9:30pm). 5 hours instead of 55 mins on a Dash-8. But at least we got home:
Caspian27 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 359 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4512 times:
As others previously mentioned, this is not a PHX problem. ORD had one of the biggest storms of the year on Monday night and I was lucky enough to have to fly there that night. The ramp was closed multiple times due to lightning, the TRACON was evacuated for a bit due to tornadoes and I'm told that passengers were brought into the baggage tunnels due to tornadoes. Even Wrigley Field was evacuated.
Thunderstorms and aviation don't mix. We Phoenicians (I grew up in Phoenix) don;t get to see inclement weather as often as the rest of the country, so when storms like this happen, we wonder why it isn't handled better.
Chumley From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 117 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4439 times:
Quoting Erikr (Reply 9): Once we finally took off, about 45 minutes, we started to prepare for landing. However, we were landing in Flagstaff. The pilots actually stated we went the wrong way! They blamed it on ATC. The passengers thought otherwise.
Looking at FlightAware, it appears that the flight took a very wide departure to avoid the storms. I'm guessing that by the time the flight was routed around the weather, there was not enough fuel to continue to PSP. The only mystery to me is why the flight was cleared for departure to begin with. http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...5/history/20080808/0314Z/KPHX/KPSP
Flyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks ago) and read 3017 times:
Last night wrecked havoc again on the PHX hub, but it hit early enough that flights bound for the outstation, some still had a LAS night flight to complete afterwards. Watched diversions into FLG, TUS, YUM, ABQ, LAS, ONT, and PSP. The PHX hub operated late into the night as diverted flights eventually arrived back into Sky Harbor and some didn't depart to their final destination until 2 or 3am.
Missed by most that noticed the PHX closure, was that just hours before, not too far away, their LAS operations took a hit just about the time of their late afternoon hub and spoke. Once LAS shut down for a lil while, I noticed PSP had some first timers, I forgot what airline, but a european charter sent an A330 I think it was into PSP, in addition to a SWA flight, CO, AS and Mesa. I believe the winner for the day though, probably qualifying as an episode on the old MTV show "Boiling Points," any passengers booked direct SFO-TPA on US573 with the intermediate stop in LAS. Again, sorry, the terms paste cut clip post photos this that the on and off button, I'm not all that great with computers, funny huh, can fly planes, but the desktop, um, not so much, let's see if the link works once I cut it.
not so sure, doesn't look like it's staying, but US573 from SFO-LAS diverted into ONT due to weather. Turn around, once into LAS and on their way southwesterly, not sure why, but diverts into PHX. Scheduled arrival was 1144pm into TPA, actual arrival was 607am.
Tranceport From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 282 posts, RR: 1 Reply 18, posted (4 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2378 times:
I learned that thunderstorms and aircraft do not go together well while landing in ABQ once on a WN PHX-ABQ flight. To say that I was scared was an understatement. There was a tense silence on the plane broken only by someone one row ahead on the other side of the plane praying as we slid through the sky.
The aircraft behaved as if it were attached to a string with someone shaking it. We would lurch from side to side and then at times it would feel like the bottom would drop out of the sky and the plane would drop and then jar to a stop with a loud bang before suddenly jerking back up as if a string were attached to the plane and someone gave it a sharp tug. I had never experienced severe turbulence and at first thought it was fun but after a bit I was clenching the arm rests with white knuckles and thinking that we were goners.
This all happened while we circled the airport waiting for a thunderstorm to pass.
That would have been amazing to see! I've never seen a widebody at PSP. The storm last night here in Phoenix was fierce. I live just south of the airport and we saw departures one after the other after the storm.
Flyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2 Reply 20, posted (4 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1828 times:
Just looked it up, it was a Thomas Cook A332, A330-200 from Manchester. They were on the ground there in PSP just about 90 minutes, so not too bad.
With as long as the runways are, and the proximity to save overall fuel once on the rebound leg, I wonder if SWA, US or any others into PHX have ever thought of using Gateway as their diversion? Now, obviously the closeness would subject it to just about the same weather conditions, but not always, I just would think with fuel as high now as ever, diversions have to be an area airlines are quickly approaching to find cost cutting measures. As I watched some of the diverted flights last night start their rebound leg, they had ground times in excess of their next flight time enroute, so why wouldn't they rather sit with engines off much closer to the field, and with what, I think it's three 10,000 foot runways, more then enough room.
Tango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3725 posts, RR: 31 Reply 22, posted (4 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1528 times:
Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 13): 3) An aviation authority (FAA) who wouldn't or couldn't field technology that was available to avoid this.
Quoting Mir (Reply 15): What technology is there that could help an airport stay open during a thunderstorm?
Same question here. Don't know whether SPREE forgot to add a -or- is among the pipedreamers who believe that the "new improved" ATC technology being deliberately witheld by some conspiracy (supposedly) is the magic bullet that can not only make it safe for airliners to fly through thunderstorms but can also make it safe for two airliners to occupy the same space airspace or runway/taxiway. All in the interest of allowing the airlines to continue their agenda of carrying fewer pax on more flight movements (as in 2-3 RJs in place of one mainline type) without creating the consequence of congestion and chronic delays...because, after all, pax demand frequency -- even more than meaningful schedule reliability.
DingDong From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 661 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (4 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1312 times:
I was talking with my Phoenix-based colleagues on the ground during that storm.
Not very politically correct to say, but one of them was joking that it was raining so hard that Cubans were probably swimming in the water towards his house (while trying to reach land in the U.S.).
Another said that he could really hear it on the roof.
That was NOT a minor storm, even by Phoenix standards at all! It was truly something, apparently. Must've sucked for the crews in the air dealing with it, as well as the paxs unaware of all this 'fun'.