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Guest neeraj.pendse

Is this normal airline practice?

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I tracked a Fedex flight from KMEM to KCVG on FlightAware Thursday, and there was a big complex of T-Storms there; and the plane went waaaay around the storms, all the way to St. Louis before turning. Is this normal? Here's the tracking chart:Rhett

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yes, that's normal.If you can't go over them, skirt around them.

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If I read this weather data I found right - the tops of those storms were over 40,000 ft.Violent thunderstorms can take an aircraft apart at altitude.Lower, they just throw them into the ground.

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But going 100's of miles out of the flight path? Wow, didn't know that.Attached is another one I tracked that day; a Cessna Twin-jet (one of the smaller citiationjets I think) from Roanoke, Va. to Wichita, KS. Notice how he modified his course to go just a little south of the bad weather...even though he was at cruise altitude. Big tops, eh? Here's the pic:Rhett

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I was flying out of ORD a few years back headed to the West Coast. A line of cells extended from far south of ORD all the way up into Northern Wisconsin. We took off due north, and did not turn west until Green Bay, about 170 NM north. But my favorite was a flight at BWI many years back. I had been bumped into first class--I was supposed to fly out of National and my flight was cancelled, so USAir (as it was called back then) shipped me by taxi to BWI and bumped me into first class. As luck would have it, the pilot came on the horn and told us a squall line was approaching from the west and due to be on top of the airport in about 30 minutes. Rather than divert around it and burn fuel, we sat. And waited. And in first class, I couldn't have cared less :)A very fierce squall line hit--about twenty minutes of more lightning than "spaces between the lightning". Within seconds of the cell clearing our area, the pilot fired up the engines, and seemed to "burn rubber" as we took off for our flight to the West Coast. Even with the cancelled flight, taxi trip to BWI, and ground delay, I still arrived home earlier than my original flight was scheduled to. Anyway, pilots give wide berth to t-storm cells, even in the heaviest of aircraft.-John

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The smaller Cessna did not have to cross the same line of TS as did the FedEx jet. They also could make the turn to the south just about anywhere along the route to avoid the wx without getting too far from the original course.Unless you are flying the SR-71 or similar high altitude bird, you would be wise to give the TS plenty of room. Usually a couple of hours are all it takes to either divert around or wait for the wx to pass through. It takes months and years to investigate "Preventable" accidents.Terry

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My father once was on board a 737 that was surprised on approach by a serious hailstorm (on the outskirts of a thundersystem).Wasn't fun (massive turbulence, constant drumming of hailstones pounding the fuselage and wings), and the aircraft had more than a few dents afterwards.Flying through a thunderstorm would be far worse.

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Yeah the scary thing is that hail can be thrown up to 100 miles away from the core of the storm. Part of the reason many people are taught to be atleast 50 miles laterally away from any thunderstorm.

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Thanks for all of the info fellas. Some of you are very knowledgeable of the way real-world ops go, and real-world ops are really interesting to me. It may seem like mundane info to you, but to me it is really neat.Rhett

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>Yeah the scary thing is that hail can be thrown up to 100>miles away from the core of the storm. Part of the reason many>people are taught to be atleast 50 miles laterally away from>any thunderstorm.most 121 airline SOP's dictate a 20nm distance.

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>>Yeah the scary thing is that hail can be thrown up to 100>>miles away from the core of the storm. Part of the reason>many>>people are taught to be atleast 50 miles laterally away from>>any thunderstorm.>>most 121 airline SOP's dictate a 20nm distance.20 miles from the center or outskirts of the cell?

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>20 miles from the center or outskirts of the cell?our operating procedures state:"Hail competes with turbulence as the greatest thunderstorm hazard to aircraft. Hail has been observed in clear air several miles from the parent thunderstorm. Hail should be anticipated with any thunderstorm. Therefore, avoid any thunderstorm identified as severe or giving intense radar echos by at least 20 NM. This is especially true under the anvil of a large cumulonimbus cloud. "so to answer your question, i would say the edge of the storm. typically a strong cell looks on radar like a mountain on a contoured map (ie a thin green/yellow zone followed by a large red/purple area. hooks and scallops on radar images also mean severe convective activity (possible tornadic) and should be avoided also.

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Here at CYYC there was a Capital Air Cargo 727-200 that had a close encounter with severe hail last Thursday night(10 Aug.). It shatered the F/O's windshield(R1), punched a 2 foot hole in the radome and created a severe golf ball dimple look on all the leading edges and also damaged the engines. The hail was golf ball sized and most likely the airframe is a write off.That same night we had 2 of our 727's(FedEx)rerouted due to the severe T-Storms at CYYC. I don't know why the CAC crew pushed their luck but I'm sure the Captain is on the hot seat at the moment for getting too close to a severe TS and possibly writing off an airframe.Cheers,JohnBoeing 727/737 & Lockheed C-130/L-100 Mechanichttp://www.sstsim.com/images/team/JR.jpg

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