Weather can have a significant impact on the flight of your private jet. You may be surprised to learn about how weather conditions affect your flight and the safety of passengers and crew. To help you understand this relationship better, our team have provided some examples. We will discuss how weather can affect air travel in general and when it comes specifically to private aviation.
Fog is one of the most common causes of flight delays and cancellations. It can also be a safety hazard since it can make visibility lower than usual. In general, fog develops when warm air meets cold air at ground level. During this time condensation occurs as the warm air cools. This results in a cloud-like formation that reduces visibility for pilots and passengers alike.
Private jet pilots are trained on how to navigate around any potential issues related to poor visibility. During the low visibility procedures, air traffic will be controlling the aircraft movements at the airport. The number of aircraft taking off and landing will be limited in order to prevent potential accidents from occurring.
While some airports can be affected by fog, others might stay clear and have good visibility. Because fog is variable, private jet operators can find gaps in the fog and plan the flight accordingly. Private jet flights offer a lot of flexibility. If the weather conditions become less severe, re-routing can be performed in order to complete the flight.
Thunderstorms and Lightning
The most common cause of weather-related flight delays is thunderstorms. They occur in all parts of the world at some point during the year. Thunderstorms are dangerous because they can produce strong gusts of wind and rain that can cause turbulence. It can cause problems for pilots whilst maintaining their course.
Lightning is the most dangerous weather phenomenon for pilots. Lightning strikes vary dramatically depending on where you are. In some areas, lightning strikes mostly horizontally and in others, it mostly strikes down from the sky at a 45-degree angle.
Thunderstorm clouds are also known as Cumulonimbus and they can be caused by hot and wet weather. Private jets have the equipment to deal with CBs and they can fly above the clouds. Flying above the clouds can help to prevent any incidents caused by the CBs. Private jets have better agility and can use a more flexible approach, avoiding bad weather conditions whilst departing and landing.
Pilots that operate both private jets and commercial airliners are not allowed to fly into thunderstorm clouds. If CBs are gathering right above the airport of your departure, your flight might be delayed. The delay will be in place until the sky becomes safe for flying. Refuelling the aircraft during thunderstorms is not allowed due to the risk of lightning strikes, as well. During the planning of your private jet flight, all the safety measures are followed in order to prioritise safety.
Windshear is a sudden change in wind speed or direction over a relatively short distance that can be dangerous for an aircraft. It’s caused by thunderstorms, which create downdrafts and updrafts, which result in localized areas of increased or decreased airspeed. For example, if you are flying at 10,000 feet and the wind suddenly changes to blow from the north-northeast at 50 knots instead of the south-southwest at 20 knots, this could cause your aircraft to quickly lose altitude. If it happens while you are trying to take off or land on a runway during high winds, you may experience problems with your approach path due to crosswinds.
Hail can be a problem for all aircraft, and this is especially true for private jets which can potentially damage the aircraft.
What is more, hail is dangerous because it can cause a loss of control. This can cause difficulties for the pilot while operating the aircraft. In addition, hail can also cause a loss of visibility and communications between pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs).
Snow and Ice
The snow and ice that can build up on the ground and in your aircraft’s wings can be a problem for your flight.
Private jets are designed to cope with cold temperatures and snowfall during a flight, where temperatures in high altitudes can drop as low as -80 degrees celsius. The main point of concern during snow and ice conditions at the airport are runways and taxiways. If the aircraft has accumulated frost, snow and ice during its stay at the airport, a de-icing of the aircraft will have to be performed. De-icing is required in order for the flight to commence.
The flexibility of private jets allows access to smaller airports, where operations and de-icing can be performed much quicker than in major airports. In the event of extreme weather conditions, private jets can return to normal almost immediately, whereas commercial airlines may take days to go back to normal.
Rain and low cloud ceilings can affect visibility on the runway. This can make it very difficult for the pilot to see the runway and land your plane safely. The pilot will have to fly lower in order for you to have a good view of the runway so that you can see it clearly.
If there are low clouds over an airport that causes visibility issues for pilots flying in or out of that airport, then your flight will most likely be delayed until conditions improve and allow safe operations again. If this is not possible due to weather conditions elsewhere on flights from other airports, then the operations may divert the aircraft away from these airports altogether and take them elsewhere (or back home).
Generally speaking, private jets are well-equipped to deal with rain however, anomalies may still occur. If rain is combined with heavy winds, it can cause extra challenges for flight planning, which can cause delays or re-routing. Some aircraft consist of windscreen wipers and smaller aircraft such as Light Jets are equipped with a pressure air system that can blow the raindrops off the windshield.
Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) is a relatively new term for turbulence that occurs in clear air above 20,000 feet. Aircraft are designed to deal with turbulence encountered in clouds, but CAT can be dangerous for passengers and pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration’s National Weather Service has even warned that “the effects of CAT on aircraft can be severe.” CAT usually occurs near jet streams and other regions of significant wind changes in the vertical direction.
Turbulence is normal during takeoff and landing, or when flying through mountains or other geographical features. However, it becomes dangerous if it is too severe or unexpected – especially if you are flying over water where there is no place to land safely in an emergency situation. Modern weather monitoring systems such as weather radar can detect CAT and help pilots to operate the aircraft accordingly.
Know How Weather Conditions Affect Your Private Jet Flight
Weather conditions can affect your private jet flight. Fog, thunderstorms and wind are all things to be aware of when planning a flight. While these weather conditions might not stop you from flying, they will certainly impact the type of aircraft you choose for your trip, as well as its departure and arrival times.
If it’s foggy, your private jet charter broker may advise using a smaller jet such as a turboprop. Smaller aircraft have better agility than a larger jet would have in those conditions. If the weather is risky or unpredictable, your pilot may choose to delay your trip until conditions are more favourable. Delays can be caused by approaching storms, low clouds and other hazardous circumstances.
While we don’t wish the weather to be an issue, it is always good to know if there are any issues before you take off. Weather can affect your flight plans and cause delays or cancellations. In the event of bad weather conditions, our team at Challenge Jet Charter will always be able to advise.
Our team will always be able to help you choose an aircraft that is the most suitable for the nature of your travel. We always prioritise the safety and security of our clients and the flight crew. Please do not hesitate in contacting us with your flight requirements and we will always be able to find a solution for you.