Aviation Weather: The Rain Bomb!

Aviation Weather

Another example of why aviation weather training is an essential component of flight safety

If you’ve ever had the urge to play chicken with aviation weather…. If you’ve ever tried to beat a storm to the runway…. Or convinced yourself that you can “duck” under the storm because you have the “lights” in sight.…. If you’ve ever pushed it, even just a little bit outside of your comfort zone:

Let me introduce you to the “rain bomb”. It sure has made a believer in paying attention during windshear and weather pilot training out of me – I’ve never seen anything like it! Rather than try to explain the intensity of a “wet microburst”, I’ll let the video do the talking.

Rain Bomb: Wet Microburst

Am I right? There is no airplane in the world that’s gonna fly out of that! Listen to your flight instructors and to your ground school teachers – thunderstorms and microbursts are no joke.

Just for a quick review, a microburst is an intense small scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or a rain shower. When the downdraft hits the ground, it becomes an outdraft and can produce windshear that can most definitely ruin your day.

A rain bomb is a wet microburst. It occurs when a cooled heavy column of air sinks suddenly and pulls the water droplets down with it at tremendous force. When it hits the ground it can produce winds over 100 mph.

The term microburst gained attention in in 1985 when a Delta Airlines flight crashed near the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The aircraft flew into a storm with a descending cell that could not support the jet, killing 136 of the 163 passengers and crew. Due to this accident, microburst and windshear training is a required part of aviation training.

You don’t want to mess around with that. There are 3 things important aviation weather tactics you need to know about how to handle microbursts and rain bombs:

  1. avoid
  2. Avoid
  3. AVOID!

After all, who knows what may be lurking in that wall of water? Go to your alternate and wait out the nasty aviation weather. Smart pilots don’t get bombed!

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