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66 votes
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Why was my flight cancelled due to bad weather while other flights were not?

In general, flights get cancelled when arriving flights are delayed or themselves cancelled. Your flight needs three critical things to depart on time, or at all: an airplane, flight + cabin crew, ...
egid's user avatar
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56 votes
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What do pilots landing on aircraft carriers do when the ship is not visible due to weather?

My experience is circa 1990s, but I can offer some perspective on US fixed wing operations. Besides TACAN and ASR for non-precision approaches, there are (were) 3 precision instrument approach options ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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38 votes

How is wind measured at this small U.S. airport?

Ultrasonic anemometers are replacing the traditional cup anemometers in automated weather stations. The sensor measures the time it takes for an ultrasonic pulse to travel between the probes, which ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
38 votes

How did pilots avoid thunderstorms and related weather before “reliable” airborne weather radar was introduced on airliners?

They looked out the window! If you are talking about a developing thunderstorm, especially during the day, they can be quite easy to see in front of you provided decent visibility. Here is some good ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
37 votes
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What is the difference between mist and fog?

Quoting from the METAR decoder: BR Mist (Foggy conditions with visibilities greater than 5/8 statute mile) FG Fog (visibility 5/8 statute mile or less) You may ...
rbp's user avatar
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36 votes
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Why would a pilot need to change their heading when flying through a cold front?

In the Northern Hemisphere, wind usually veers to the right when a cold front passes. If you fly through a cold front, the wind also veers to the right. To maintain a constant track, a correction to ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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35 votes
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Is it difficult for a GA aircraft to escape a thunderstorm?

If you take off with a storm 20 minutes away from the airport, it won't have been "unforecast"; the NWS is much better than that. They can pretty accurately predict what's going to happen regarding ...
KeithS's user avatar
  • 22.9k
32 votes

When do flights get cancelled due to fog?

Other answers have addressed the case of weather that's too bad for flights to operate, but another situation that can occur is congestion. Take a look at the Average Arrival Rate chart for San ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,286
31 votes
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Was ATC overstepping its boundaries when advising a pilot to ignore a cell warning?

The controller didn't overstep his boundaries, and he didn't tell the pilot to ignore a weather warning. Shamrock demanded something that's extreme for the NYC airspace: runway heading for 15 miles. ...
ryan1618's user avatar
  • 14.9k
29 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

I find it hard to believe that this was a holding pattern of some sort. Believe it. An hour before landing would be about the point at which the aircraft will start its descent to its destination. ...
CatchAsCatchCan's user avatar
27 votes

What is the difference between mist and fog?

The main difference between the fog and mist is their density and as a consequence, the visibility. From UK Met office: ... they are two distinct terms for a similar phenomenon. Visibility less ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
27 votes

Are flights in fast jet streams more dangerous?

Horrible example of journalism aside, any risk would come from clear air turbulence at the edges of the jet stream and the slower moving air. In other words, it isn't the top speed of the air relative ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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26 votes
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How is wind measured at this small U.S. airport?

The device used to measure wind speed is called an anemometer. The one that spins with 3 spoon-like arms is just one type. There are some that have a propeller or fan that spins like a windmill. There ...
Devil07's user avatar
  • 8,544
26 votes

Why is the flight duration of the same flight different in different months?

Jet stream is a stream of air flowing around the Earth from West to East at high altitude. With wind speed averaging more than 100+ km/h, it has a tremendous effect on a plane's ground speed. The ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
25 votes

Why are pressure levels raised on warm days?

Remember, altimeters sense pressure rather than density. Pressure is essentially a measure of the weight of the atmosphere above a specific point. You can imagine the pressure being measured as the ...
PilotDan's user avatar
  • 682
24 votes

Is it difficult for a GA aircraft to escape a thunderstorm?

Practically speaking this isn't much of an issue, at least under VFR and if you're paying attention. Thunderstorms take some time to form, and as long as you can see them you can avoid them. I'm ...
Pondlife's user avatar
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23 votes
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How are airliners secured on the ground during hurricanes?

Looking at the hurricane manuals for a few airports, evacuating flyable aircraft to a safer location tends to be the most common choice. From the Boca Raton Airport: Effective with the issuance of a ...
Timpanus's user avatar
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23 votes
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How can you identify the upwind side of a thunderstorm, and why should you fly there?

The "anvil" of a Thunderstorm is always on the downwind side. Airline pilots routinely deviate around the upwind side in hopes of a smoother ride. photo source: CRAZY CLOUDS: The Thunderstorm Anvil
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
21 votes

Why was my flight cancelled due to bad weather while other flights were not?

If the bad weather is a hurricane or large thunderstorm cell right over the airport, yes you would expect all flights to be cancelled rather than just some. But if the weather brings low visibility, ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 14.5k
21 votes

How long does a wind shear last?

They want to know how deep is your general understanding of W/S. My answer would be, "What kind of wind shear are you asking about? Microburst from a thunderstorm cell? Descending through a ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
21 votes
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Does the coriolis force have an effect on the direction in which an aircraft travels?

Yes, the effect is there, and (auto-) pilots have to compensate for it, but the direct impact of the Coriolis force is insignificant compared to the impact of any wind forces. This has been discussed ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
21 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

Based on your provided flight info, I looked up the track history on flightradar and did see some potential traffic conflict that might have tempted the controller to route your plane that way. The ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
20 votes
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Do thermals stop rising when clouds are formed?

No, the opposite is in fact true. When the water condenses, it releases latent thermal energy, causing the air to rise even faster. That is why some glider pilots (who are appropriately licensed) fly, ...
60levelchange's user avatar
20 votes
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Why is the mammatus cloud formation so dangerous?

Nobody knows exactly how mammatus clouds are formed, it's been studied and there are several theories about it but none are accepted. They are most often seen below anvil clouds, ie cumulonimbus ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
19 votes

What is the most economical way to store a small aircraft in a place with severe weather?

Location matters. Where are you located? A hangar is not as important in a dry climate like Las Vegas as it is in, say, Miami. It may make sense to pay more for a hangar. Leaving a plane exposed ...
acpilot's user avatar
  • 6,016
19 votes
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Why is wing anti-ice in transport aircraft not required below -40 degrees Celsius?

That -40 is SAT and in degrees Celsius. The reason that anti-ice is generally no longer needed below that temperature is because at that point, the air is so dry that there isn't enough moisture left ...
Ralph J's user avatar
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18 votes
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How does NOAA's P3 Orion safely navigate hurricanes?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses three aircraft for carrying out hurricane research- a Gulfstream IV SP and two Lockheed Martin WP-3D Orions, while the USAF 53rd WRS 'Hurricane ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
18 votes

How can a private pilot prepare for a long cross country flight in an unfamiliar area?

I'm in a similar boat to you and I just did my first XC from KDYL to KDDH a few months ago. Which was the first time I had been to an airport I did not go to during training. It was a lot of fun but ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
18 votes

How did pilots avoid thunderstorms and related weather before “reliable” airborne weather radar was introduced on airliners?

I´ll second John K´s recommendation of Fate is the Hunter for a first hand account of flying in the 30s and 40s. The style can be a bit too laden in floritures, trying to lend a certain mystique to ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar

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