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Do Commercial Planes Fly Over Hurricanes?  
User currently offlineJAM747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 550 posts, RR: 1
Posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Just curious, do commercial flights fly over Hurricanes or do they have go around them, or cancel flights till the hurricane moves out of the normal flight path? For example if the there is a hurricane in the Caribbean along the flight path to South America do the flights on that path have to be cancelled , diverted or can the planes fly high enough over the hurricane?

64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

No.....their cell wall height is far higher then a commercial aircraft flies.....


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineTCFC424 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Typically they will fly around strong storms (T-storms too) or divert if the storm is over/near their destination. Obviously, if the weather is long-lasting, they will cancel. There was a FedEx video that illustrated this perfectly, as a bank of flights went around a large storm system near MEM...was a GREAT video! Would like to set that as a screen saver...FXRamper, you have access to that?

Mike S. in AUS


User currently offlineTCFC424 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Just following up, typical T-storm cloud heights are between 40,000-50,000 feet, with some "overshooting tops" above that. Most commercial aircraft do not fly above FL410 (although some biz jets can get to FL450). I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that with the severity of the storms imbedded in a hurrican that the cloud tops would be towards the upper end, although one poster made mention that the GIV that NOAA uses flys over at FL450...

Anyways, just wanted to clarify. Info was from USA Today's weather questions.


User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7615 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

I dont know for certain, but the pilots try to make the flight as comfortable as they can for the pax. Even if they could fly through the middle of a hurricane, im sure the ride would be anything but comfortable. So more than likely they would go completely around it.

I did see a video where a plane was flown through a hurricane by scientists who wanted to study it, so im positive it can be done.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineTPEcanuck From Taiwan, joined Oct 2005, 89 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

I did a local flight in Taiwan last summer where we landed just 30 minutes prior to Songshan airport being closed by the immenent arrival of a typhoon.

As I recall, it was 5 in the evening and the typhoon was off the starboard side of the plane lit brilliantly by the setting sun. The altitude of the cloud was mind-boggling, towering over us even at 33 000ft. (It was in the distance so granted hard to judge.) But it was magnificent. But even at that distance, it was a VERY bumpy and a little scary landing in an a320. Was glad to reach the gate!


User currently offlineN751PR From Japan, joined May 2002, 1249 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting TCFC424 (Reply 2):
There was a FedEx video that illustrated this perfectly, as a bank of flights went around a large storm system near MEM...was a GREAT video! Would like to set that as a screen saver...FXRamper, you have access to that?

Is this the video you mentioned?  Wink




"Ladies and Gentlemen it's happy hour. You will get two approaches for the price of one."
User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11637 posts, RR: 61
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Planes do fly over severe weather and tropical weather events, though I doubt they regularly fly through them. Back around 1998-1999, I was flying SJU-BOS and we flew over a hurricane that was churning below us in the Atlantic. We had to go up to 41,000 feet, pushing the service ceiling for the 757. I'll never forget it because, at that altitude, you could actually see the curvature of the earth! It was incredible!

User currently offlinePdxcof9 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

HAHAHA!!! That video made me laugh sooooo hard!!! Love it!!!  laughing   crackup 


Flown:733,4,7,8,752,763,TU3,CRJ,7,EM2,ER3,4,318,19,346,M80,90 Worked:CRJ,7,9,EM2,ER4,733,5,7,8,9,752,3,318,9
User currently offlinePU752 From Uruguay, joined Mar 2005, 584 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting N751PR (Reply 6):
Is this the video you mentioned?

Well, that basically happens all the times, pilots do avoid TS, so radar vectors and no SID or STAR at that time.
Great video though!


User currently offlineN276AASTT From US Virgin Islands, joined Jan 2004, 620 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 32767 times:

The day Hurricane Rita made landfall in New Orleans I was flying STT - SJU - DFW on AA. When we left SJU the captain said due to the fact that the storm was directly in our way, we'd have to take a more westerly direction and head over to CUN and turn north to DFW to avoid the storm.


Dejale Caer tu el Peso! YOMO
User currently offlineSan747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4943 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Pdxcof9 (Reply 8):

HAHAHA!!! That video made me laugh sooooo hard!!! Love it!!!

Especially when the storm cell finally hits MEM, you see the FX planes all start to scatter around!  Smile



Scotty doesn't know...
User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7615 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting N276AASTT (Reply 10):
The day Hurricane Rita made landfall in New Orleans I was flying STT - SJU - DFW on AA. When we left SJU the captain said due to the fact that the storm was directly in our way, we'd have to take a more westerly direction and head over to CUN and turn north to DFW to avoid the storm.

I think that would be the favored approach. Besides crazy a.netters, who is going to want to fly through a hurricane if they dont have to?  Big grin Lord knows it would be a horrible ride probably complete with screaming, moaning, and vomiting passengers!

Maybe the if the Capitan hates his FA's!  duck 



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 12):
Besides crazy a.netters, who is going to want to fly through a hurricane if they dont have to? Big grin Lord knows it would be a horrible ride probably complete with screaming, moaning, and vomiting passengers!

Weather nerds. And the worst combination is a weather nerd who is also an A.netter like myself. I'd love a shot to go up in the NOAA G-IV. That said I'd imagine that up around FL410, riding through a hurricane wouldn't be much worse than any other cumuloform activity. Hurricanes are "warm core" systems, which may in fact lend to a "smoother" ride that high up, of course all things are relative and very few commercial airliners make it their hobby to go through squall lines of any sort, tropical or land based.

For those of you interested, here is the aforementioned NOAA G-IV making a hurricane hunting run as of now (3:19am EDT): http://flightaware.com/live/flight/NOAA49


User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10898 posts, RR: 37
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Even with Concorde (at 60,000 ft) I suppose that they would have to detour the filght if there was a hurricane on the flight path?  Confused


There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Pdxcof9 (Reply 8):

What was so funny about it? Maybe cuz I had the sound off, but it seemed they had to get as many landings in as possible before they just couldn't do so safely. Kinda cuttin it close, IMO.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineMattfalcus From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

That video is very cool! I especially like the little wimp who diverts at the end whilst all the other aircraft risk flying through the green bit to land.

User currently offlineSpeedbirdEGJJ From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 430 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Mattfalcus (Reply 16):
That video is very cool! I especially like the little wimp who diverts at the end whilst all the other aircraft risk flying through the green bit to land.

The 'little wimp' you so eloquently refer to, was merely operating their aircraft in the safest way they saw fit. The fact that you refer to the other aircraft 'risking' flying through the 'green bit' begs the question, which one would you prefer to be sitting in??. I never cease to me amazed by some of the comments on things like this, I for one would prefer to be sipping my Gin and Tonic with a Safe pilot at the pointy end over a Brave one anyday.


User currently offlineMOW From Israel, joined Dec 2005, 192 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Pulkovo (FV) TU154 which crashed one year ago (22 AUG) near Donetsk (Ukraine) unsuccessfully tried to climb over the thunderstorm cells. TU154 entered an area of severe turbulence, pushing up the airplane from 11.961 m to 12.794 m within just 10 seconds. The angle of attack increased to 46 degrees and the airspeed dropped to zero. It entered a deep stall from which the crew could not recover. 170 people died in this catastrophe.

A very sorrowful example how deadly the adverse weather conditions could be and why such areas should be avoided unconditionally.


User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4063 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
No.....their cell wall height is far higher then a commercial aircraft flies.....

Typically the cloud-tops around the eye-wall of a hurricane (Typhoon or Cyclone..depending upon where you are in the world) reach to well over 60,000 feet. Sometime look at some of the infa-red images and other channels for the satellite imagery the U.S. National Hurricane center posts on their website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlineNA747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 120 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I forget the name of the hurricane but back in SEP'04 I flew MIA-SJU on AA and flew over the edge of that hurricane. It became a little bumpy but nothing drastic.

User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2803 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting N751PR (Reply 6):

Awesome video! Shows how they go around it, and how they fly around waiting for it to pass  Smile


User currently offlineSTXBohn From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Awesome video!

I had a SJU-IAH leg on Continental back in October 2004 which did the Cancun flyover instead of the Miami flyover. Added 30 to 45 minutes to the flight...


-Brooks



"Thank you for flying City Airlines. We know you have a choice in airlines, and it looks like you made the wrong one."
User currently offlineMusapapaya From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1089 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting Commavia (Reply 7):
Planes do fly over severe weather and tropical weather events, though I doubt they regularly fly through them. Back around 1998-1999, I was flying SJU-BOS and we flew over a hurricane that was churning below us in the Atlantic. We had to go up to 41,000 feet, pushing the service ceiling for the 757. I'll never forget it because, at that altitude, you could actually see the curvature of the earth! It was incredible!

This makes me wonder, if a plane needs to decent when it is flying on top of a storm, what is going to happen? If a decompression or engine failure which means the flight has to decent, what is gonna happen?



Lufthansa Group of Airlines
User currently offlineJayspilot From United States of America, joined May 2001, 298 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

When you are on an airline and told you are flying over Hurricane's you are at most just flying over the feeder bands associated with the storms. A storm like DEAN has feeder bands over 500 miles from the source so the crew of an airline flight would not totally lying saying you are flying over the storm, but you are not flying over the center or most severe area. A lot also has to do with the strenght of the storm where you might really fly over a small tropical storm with tops in the low 30's at say 410 but you won't ever top a Level 4 hurricane.

25 Express1 : do you have a link to this,as all i can see is a blank square with a X at the top left. dave
26 Highflier92660 : This mornings St. Petersburg Times (http://www.sptimes.com) has a feature article on the NOAA hurricane hunters that fly out of MacDill AFB including
27 Dannynoble : That is funny I dont care who you are. No offense Speedbird, but i think he was making a joke and you never got it. I personally laughed when I read
28 SJC4Me : I wonder how many hours that video covers. Looks like an ATC nightmare.
29 Jayspilot : That "ATC" nightmare plays out on a daily basis when there are thunderstorms approaching a hub. I've experienced it many times in ORD and ATL where yo
30 Post contains links Tornado82 : The NOAA G-IV has been around since 1996, so unless they were considering trading it in or something on a G-V (or other similar sized FL510 bird) the
31 Ktachiya : A couple of years ago, I flew on a domestic flight from ITM-HND when there was a typhoon approaching. Just for everyone's information, the most horrib
32 Superfly : Experienced that during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We were flying over Missouri ORD-PHX America West A320. and the storm bands were that far north an
33 IAHFLYER : The sound definitely helps, great vid!!!
34 RFields5421 : I'll fly with the little wimp any day. I've been in a DL B727 when we tried to go over a thunderstorm - with the drink cart breaking loose and bangin
35 LAXdude1023 : Indeed. I would much rather fly with a timid pilot than someone who wants to fly through some crazy stuff. I had a pilot that tried to be a badass co
36 N276AASTT : I know right! I'd love to hitch a ride on one of the "Hurricane Hunters" and fly into EYE of the storm like some of the do. Now that would've sucked!
37 PlanesNTrains : I agree. With the sound turned on, it really comes off as entertainment and not actual aircraft in some sort of danger. Almost like watching ants try
38 Post contains images Superfly : The "wimp who diverted" could have been because of micro-burst windshear. We all know what that has done to some aircraft. That was just 2 months aft
39 Post contains images Jmc1975 : How many FedEx passengers generally drink Gin & Tonic inflight?
40 Cumulonimbus : BS. I doubt you flew over a hurricane or a tropical storm even with cloud tops only at 41,000 feet. Mike
41 SLCUT2777 : You might have flown over the outer bands of the storm, but no way would any pilot attempt to take a 752 through the eye-wall of one of these storms.
42 Acey : Boxes don't cry and file complaints to the airline during "light chop". That's why you're less likely to hear cargo guys bitching and whining trying
43 Marcus : Wasn't there an Argentinean DC-9 that crashed a few year ago because of weather also?
44 Post contains images Walter747 : That was the funniest thing I've ever seen.
45 PeachAir : I have noticed a couple of things that have changed in this regard over the last 10 years or so. 1. Pilots do not take the risks with flying around ba
46 LAXdude1023 : Very true. I think that with the advancements in Technology and flight planning, Severe turbulence will someday be a thing of the past. My Uncle was
47 Afitch7881 : Something tells me you wouldn't be sipping a Gin and Tonic in that situation. If you hate the comments on here you may want to watch what you type si
48 Post contains links and images Lanas : No, not for the weather. You must be talking about Austral´s DC-9 (LV-WEG) that crashed in Fray Bentos, Uruguay in 1997, covering the PSS-AEP route.
49 Post contains images Plunaaircanada : that video was awesome!!
50 Chuckles1225 : You have got to be kidding me? That video was meant solely for its entertainment, not for its use as a training tool. We all know that the pilot was
51 Spacecadet : Technology is getting better and there is also more recognition that avoiding severe weather is not really optional. There was more leeway in the pas
52 Post contains images Nucsh : Heck, you can do that in a C152 with a good enough headwind
53 DTWAGENT : I would not want to fly anywhere near a hurricane. Flying over Thunderstorms and the Rocky Mountians in the summer is bumpy enough for me. Chuck
54 N353SK : Sort of unrelated, but I figured I'd throw in this equally entertaining FedEx video. I'm sure many of you have seen it before, but nonetheless, enjoy!
55 Mattfalcus : Come on guys, talk about getting on your high horses! Calm down! I made the 'little wimp' comment in a purely joking manner. That video was entertainm
56 CoolGuy : There's also another FedEx video that illustrates the dangers of weather well. It starred Tom Hanks.
57 M404 : Musapapaya in reply 23 said what I've been waiting for. Emergency descents have to be planned for. Even if tops enroute did not exceed capibilities of
58 BuckFifty : Over in the Far East, we fly into typhoons all the time, we just accept that as a part of life. Hurricanes/typhoons are not always a "solid wall", but
59 Airfoilsguy : It was a cargo plane so you wouldn't be sipping your Gin and Tonic unless A. You were a FedEx employee drinking on the job or B. Hidden in a crate on
60 LaminarFlow : Very interesting. Am I correct in assuming that your acceptance of flying into typhoons as part of life does not extend to the approach and landing r
61 WestJetForLife : After reading all of these posts, and to reply to the original poster, if I was a pilot, I would stay the heck away from a hurricane. I think that pil
62 BuckFifty : People seem to assume that all hurricanes/typhoons/cyclones are the same. Not all of them are Force 5 type deals like you're seeing in Mexico at the
63 SansVGs : Check! You get a gold star. How many saysings are there? No old, bold pilots... I remember seeing a Transport Canada pster in a bathroom in Muskoka (
64 WestJetForLife : When I mean "green band", I mean the outer edge of a thunderstom. Should have stated that. Your post is correct, however. In 1985, they did not have
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