Outdoor FunWeather 101

How Pilots Avoid Thunderstorms & Lightning When Flying The Plane

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By Joshua

Thunderstorms are one of nature’s most powerful — and electrical — phenomena.

Thunderstorms may be an awesome force to watch and admire form afar, but they are something that many of us try to avoid. After all, it’s not much fun to be struck by lightning!

So how do pilots avoid thunderstorms when they are up in the air close to a storm while flying a plane?

Thunderstorm avoidance is a technique important to pilots.

Thunderstorms have been known to take down a number of small planes, and they even have been responsible for (or at least suspected as being the cause of) some accidents involving large planes.

  • One way pilots avoid a thunderstorm when flying a plane is to fly on top of the thunderstorm.
  • They also use air traffic control’s help as well — since they can see on radar what a pilot cannot see out the window when flying through rain.
  • Another thing pilots do is track storms on radar ahead of time to see where the thunderstorms are heading.

More Fun Stuff About Weather & Flying

Check out this video of a pilot describing the storm clouds he’s seeing from the cockpit: