Ask the pilot: Is it possible to fly “over” the weather?
Who better to answer such questions than the pilots themselves.
”During the summer, however, and especially over Central Europe, thunderclouds can grow to very high altitudes, even higher than our planes are able to fly.”
Is it possible to fly “over” the weather? /Carl
I would say that with modern jet aircraft, most of the time we actually do fly over the weather. In Scandinavia, we often have quite foul weather during the fall and winter and most of the time, we climb well above it to enjoy a nice, comfortable cruise.
During the summer, however, and especially over Central Europe, thunderclouds can grow to very high altitudes, even higher than our planes are able to fly. This forces us to fly around them as these clouds contain extreme weather we don’t want to fly in.
Such weather can include thunder and lightning, hail and strong winds. Sometimes, we see these clouds easily through our windows. But at other times, they can be hidden inside other clouds and if it’s dark outside, we may not see them.
Radar transmitters and receivers
To help us detect and navigate around the weather, all of our aircraft have radar transmitters and receivers mounted on the nose. The radar detects drops of water and ice and thereby shows us where intensive cloud formations are. From this information, we can usually quite easily navigate around any large-scale cloud formations.
On the way in and out of airports, we are sometimes forced to fly through bad weather. Most of the time, travelers experience it as nothing more than light turbulence. They may, however, feel uncomfortable at other times due to winds and turbulent conditions. I can assure you that all aircraft are built and certified to withstand this and much more.
Rasmus Ilsø Olsen
Rasmus Ilsø Olsen
Title: Chief Pilot
Years at SAS: 23
Home base: Copenhagen
Flies: Airbus A320
Flight hours: 11,000
Favorite airport: Copenhagen