Can Planes Fly In Thunderstorms

Can Planes Fly in Thunderstorms

The answer is yes if you’re asking can planes fly in thunderstorms. Planes can fly in thunderstorms, but owing to the hazard, they are unlikely to take off or land during one.

Flying through a storm may be unnerving at times since turbulence is increased by strong storms and jet streams. This may cause the plane to bounce about and make you feel uneasy, but flying in exceptionally windy weather is normally safe.

Is It Safe To Fly During A Thunderstorm?

Even though it would take a lot to bring a plane down, preparations must be made in the event of adverse weather. It’s also worth remembering that air traffic controllers will always divert planes over or around strong storms in order to minimize turbulence and potential jet damage.

The danger of flying in severe weather is mostly determined by the kind and intensity of the weather, as most aircraft can manage most weather situations as long as the pilot’s sight is not hampered.

A combination of bad weather, such as heavy rain, wind, and lightning, can occasionally be enough to ground a plane, especially if temperatures are below freezing, which can cause the ground to freeze and produce slippery, dangerous runway conditions, making take-off dangerous. Frozen rain could also stick to the plane, as we stated before.

Pilots and air traffic controllers take all required safeguards, and if your jet cannot safely arrive at its destination, it will not take off in the first place.

Can A Plane Take Off In A Thunderstorm?

Modern airplanes are designed to manage many types of weather, and most thunderstorms, whether they include lightning strikes, heavy rain, or high-speed winds, pose little risk to a cruising airliner. Many people are terrified of their jet being hit by lightning; however, most commercial planes have been hit by lightning at least once.

These planes are also intended to be strengthened in regions where lightning is more likely to hit, such as the tails and wingtips, so the charge from a lightning strike is generally distributed. Rain, wind, ice, and snow, contrary to popular belief, can be more deadly to a plane than lightning, but tornadoes and other cyclonic activity can also be dangerous.

Thunderstorms, on the other hand, are far more likely to delay your take-off or landing than to produce turbulence on your actual flight, as contemporary planes, like your expertly-trained pilot, are designed to manage thunderstorms.

Can Planes Fly in Thunderstorms

Can A Thunderstorm Bring A Plane Down?

A thunderstorm will not bring your plane down, whether it be due to rain, lightning strikes, or strong winds. However, there are a few factors to bear in mind:

  1. Rain, wind, ice, and snow are all more deadly to planes than lightning.
  2. As the crashes of AF447 and QZ8501 proved, tornadoes and other cyclonic activity pose various risks.

What’s the most crucial thing to keep in mind when flying during a thunderstorm? You aren’t the one flying, and the person who is has been thoroughly taught!

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5 Ways Thunderstorms Can Be Dangerous For Flying

Even while most pilots and planes will be able to safely manage thunderstorms, this does not mean that thunderstorms are without risk. Thunderstorms played at least a minor effect in the accidents of Air France 447 and AirAsia 8501, according to investigators.
Can planes fly in thunderstorms? Well, Thunderstorms can be hazardous to flying for a variety of reasons.


We don’t want to worry you, but you’ve almost certainly been on a plane that has been struck by lightning. Planes are well-equipped to deal with lightning strikes because the tails and wingtips (where lightning strikes most frequently) are strengthened and able to uniformly disperse charge. Lightning, on the other hand, can damage an aircraft’s skin and interfere with its electrical systems.


Inside a thunderstorm, hail can develop, which can be especially harmful if it enters a plane’s engines and bends or fractures parts of the inlet guide vanes or compressor blades. While this may seem alarming, be assured that engines are rigorously inspected to guarantee that even if hail enters the engine, it will not create a problem. If hail strikes the windshield and destroys it, this is a more likely occurrence. This may make landing more difficult, but a pilot should still be able to land safely utilizing the plane’s instruments.


Ice may be risky to fly for a variety of reasons. Ice may disrupt the smooth flow of air, increasing drag and reducing the airfoil’s capacity to generate lift. An aircraft can stall, roll, or tilt uncontrollably due to ice. It can also cause the engine to shut down. Thunderstorms can also contain “supercooled water droplets,” which are liquid water droplets that survive at temperatures below 0°C and are potentially far more harmful.

Wind Shear

A shift in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance is referred to as wind shear. At high or low elevations, it can occur horizontally or vertically. Thunderstorms are where the most dangerous form may be found. The difficulty with wind shear is that it may push even the most advanced aircraft, especially commercial jetliners like the Boeing 747, beyond their performance limitations.


A microburst is a forceful downdraft that, despite its small size, may drastically alter an aircraft’s performance and cause it to lose altitude. A microburst can change from a tailwind to a headwind or vice versa in an instant, influencing an aircraft’s velocity and performance.

The Effect Of Thunderstorms On Small Planes VS. Commercial Airliners?

Smaller aircraft are more vulnerable to thunderstorms because they lack the climbing capabilities and ceiling (the highest height at which they can fly) to withstand most storms. Small planes also lack ice protection, which can put commercial jets at risk.

Furthermore, smaller planes piloted by private pilots are less well-equipped to deal with the damage that thunderstorms can do. Because private pilots are not as well-trained as commercial pilots, they may be unprepared to deal with the challenges and risks that thunderstorms can bring.

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Can Planes Fly in Thunderstorms

Can Thunderstorms Cancel Flights?

Thunderstorms can cause flight cancellations, although it is more probable that there will be a delay as the storm passes. Depending on how long the thunderstorm takes to pass and hence how terrible the domino effect is, the wait might be brief or extensive. It’s probable that hundreds of planes may be disrupted, producing delays that might last several days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Planes Fly Through Tropical Storms?

The short answer is that pilots are permitted to fly in storms if certain requirements are met. A pilot is authorized to fly the plane while a hurricane is in progress if the wind and weather are within legal and safe boundaries. They only need to ensure that certain criteria are satisfied before taking off.

Do Flights Get Cancelled Due To Thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms can cause flight delays or cancellations. The airlines may notify you that your flight has been canceled or delayed due to severe weather conditions, even though the weather at your destination is fine. This is because storms may occur en route or at your destination.

Can Planes Fly In Heavy Rain?

The answer is yes if you’re asking if planes can fly in the rain. Rain does not pose a problem to contemporary aircraft, hence most modern aircraft operate in all-weather situations, including rain. Even little planes can take off and fly in the rain with no problems.

Should You Have Fear Of Flying During Thunderstorms?

The air inside any cloud is less stable than it is outside, but thunderclouds pose a particularly dangerous threat. Strong turbulence results from the simultaneous flow of air up and down, which can damage a little vintage plane in severe situations.

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