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8 Tips For Flying Around Thunderstorms

Summer is finally here, and so are the thunderstorms. Here are a few tips to keep you safe on your next flight.

1) If you see a thunderstorm with numerous lighting strikes, the updrafts and downdrafts inside it are likely to be extreme. Air moving up and down at thousands of feet-per-minute cause friction, resulting in lightning strikes.

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2) Even when visibility is good, never fly below thunderstorms. The potential for extreme windshear and downdrafts, like microbursts, is high.

3) The FAA recommends you fly 20 miles or more away from large, severe storms. Hail and severe turbulence can be found several miles away from visible storm cells.

Swayne Martin

4) If you start to encounter turbulence, slow to Va, or your manufacturer's recommended turbulence airspeed.

5) If you find yourself in convective weather with turbulence, focus on keeping the wings level. Slow below Va and accept large altitude and airspeed deviations.

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6) Always check convective forecasts and radar reports before you go flying.

Aviation Weather Service

7) If you want to avoid flying through hail, don't fly below the thunderstorm anvil.

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8) Looking to get around a thunderstorm ahead of you? Plan on flying around the upwind side, and don't let it get any closer to you.

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What are other good tips for flying around thunderstorms? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and commercial pilot for Mokulele Airlines. In addition to multi-engine and instrument ratings, he holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525). He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018. He's the author of the articles, quizzes and lists you love to read every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures at http://www.swaynemartin.com.

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