Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

Topic Author
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:19 pm

Rain And Handling Characteristics

Thu May 04, 2006 4:43 pm

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,

Dassault Mercure: the plane that has Boeing and Airbus shaking in their boots.
Posts: 2166
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2002 9:51 pm

RE: Rain And Handling Characteristics

Fri May 05, 2006 6:07 am

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.

I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User avatar
Posts: 19879
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

RE: Rain And Handling Characteristics

Fri May 05, 2006 6:27 am

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." - John Ringo
Posts: 1523
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:04 am

RE: Rain And Handling Characteristics

Fri May 05, 2006 6:42 am

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?
"I tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Jim Morrison

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ChEffeEffe, elbrod84, FlyHossD and 9 guests

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos