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Rain And Handling Characteristics  
User currently offlineSpeedracer1407 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 333 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2714 times:

This might be a silly question, but i just have to ask it after some great visuals on a recent flight. Over the weekend I flew on an AA MD-80 from ORD to MCI. It was raining steadily when we tookoff, and the rain continued till what seemed like around 10K feet. I was seated just ahead of the wing, and while the wing/ice (or whatever they're called) lights were on, I had a fascinating view of the rain streaking by the window and impacting the wings with a billion tiny splashes every second. Always a treat, since my last few flights have been uncomfortably bumpy with nothing fun to look at.

Anyway, although the rain probably appeared much heavier than it actually was, since we were cutting through it at 250 Kts, I wonder if the presence of abundant water in the air effects the basic handling characterstics of the plane. I suspect any replies to include a resounding "no," but hey, I've been surprised before on this forum. Thanks for any answers,


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3 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2649 times:

I don't expect it to be noticeable in airliners, but it does decrease the stall angle of attack and available lift (i e decrease stall speed) and increase drag.

Usually there's a downdraft if there's heavy rain (not gonna say always, as there's always an exception), meaning you won't notice the above effects.


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User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17667 posts, RR: 65
Reply 2, posted (10 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2643 times:

The one thing rain CAN affect is engines, although you need a pretty hefty downpour. Measures are taken to ensure continuous ignition in these conditions. Still, modern engines don't really have a high risk of flameout due to rain.

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineBobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2633 times:

What's the difference between flying through rain and flying through a cloud? They are both condensed water vapor, just that the cloud is a large number of tiny droplets and rain is a smaller number of big drops.

Which is more dense? Which causes more drag?

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