I am wondering whether or not it is possible for an air plane to fly through a rainbow, and, if so, does anyone have any pictures or experiences of what you can see?
I've always been intrigued by this.
A rainbow is created by refraction of sunlight so you have to be in the right position to see it. The effect is only created at some distance. A rainbow that you see from the ground may appear to be in a particular place in the sky. An airplane could fly through that space and it might appear to you that it is passing through it The occupants of the airplane, however, would not see a rainbow there.
Running into a rainbow is hard, whether walking, driving, or flying. The reason is that rainbows are not objects - they are an optical illusion that only exists in the eye of the observer.
Trying walking toward a rainbow. You'll find it moves away, and eventually disappears. This is one reason why you'll hear people say there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to describe wishful thinking. You can never get to with end of the rainbow - the more you move, the more it moves.
Being an optical illusion, it has absolutely no impact on other physical objects. So if you are on the ground, you could observe an airplane flying through a rainbow that you see. The pilots on the flight would not see the same rainbow you see, and would not be able to tell that they are flying through the optical illusion you are experiencing. They would, however, encounter the water that is creating the illusion for you. Fortunately most planes have no problem flying through mist or rain, and thus there is no problem.
The reason you rarely see photos of planes flying through rainbows is that few pilots enjoy flying through the weather that creates these illusions, and try to avoid them by flying over or around the situation that would create a rainbow.