Flight into a Thunderstorm

Flight into a Thunderstorm

  • May
  • 01
  • 2013
  • Dan Boedigheimer


The aircraft exited IMC conditions on the other side of the thunderstorm while descending 3000 fpm at FL370. The aircraft was now clear of the storm with passengers alert and wide eyed looks on their face.

The remainder of the flight was quiet on the flight deck. How was it that both crewmembers were aware of the hazard, discussed options to mitigate the hazard, yet flew right into the top of an active thunderstorm at FL410?

The NTSB’s Safety Alert on In-Cockpit Nexrad Mosaic Imagery gives one clue to what went wrong. The other error was over scanning of the storm with the onboard weather radar system. Both errors understated the intensity of the storm and actual height of the hazards associated with the storm.

Hear an interview with one of the crewmembers in the Advanced Aircrew Academy online Weather Radar course.