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Revision as of 23:51, 26 February 2008 by Anonymous (talk) (Description)
Article Information
Category: Weather Weather
Content source: Skybrary skybrary
Content control: Eurocontrol Eurocontrol



Of all things which influence the safety of flight, the weather, the characteristics and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, is without doubt the most powerful.

The following have a direct and indirect influence on flight safety:

  • Turbulence associated with convective activity (for example, thunderstorms), terrain (for example, the movement of air masses over mountains), jet streams and the interaction between air masses, can cause structural damage to aircraft.
  • In-Flight Icing can alter the aerodynamic characteristics of an aircraft, cause damage to the engines, and seriously affect the performance of an aircraft.
  • Reduced visibility, associated with cloud, mist, fog, or sand stormss, can make safe flight difficult or even impossible, even with the help of technology (Instrument Landing System (ILS), weather radar, synthetic vision systems, etc)
  • Surface contamination; standing water, ice, or snow on take-off, landing and manoeuvre surfaces.
  • Wind; the influence of wind on directional control cross-wind or aircraft stability during take-off and landing, and generally on en-route performance.
  • Precipitation; for example rain, hail, and snow affect aerodynamics and visibility.

Many, of the operational safety issues that are addressed on this website are influenced by weather (for example Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents often occur when an aircraft is in cloud or in reduced forward visibility ) when the crew may be subject to extra workload associated with the weather conditions.

There are numerous specific mitigation strategies to maintain the safety of flight in certain types of weather. These may be technical, procedural, or navigation related, or all three, and it may be necessary to delay or cancel the flight if no safe mitigation is available. A common requirement is that all those associated with the safety of flight should have an understanding of meteorology.

Further reading

The study of aviation meteorology can be divided into a number of topics: