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Stupid Question, (I think).

bart

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Situation: Just finished a Life Link (Organ Harvest) flight in your twin turboprop and are done for the day. Skirted a squall line getting into the airport. We are now 36 miles from home, with a level 4 15 miles across between us and home. Going around is an option, but there are numerous other storms in the area requiring a 100+ mile divert. It is 7 pm and the storm will be gone in an hour, and there is a restaurant on the field.

Do you:
A) Punch through it at 3000 feet (2,000 AGL), hell it don't look that bad. I've done it plenty before.

B) Go get dinner and fly home VFR.

C) Fly around the storm, using the time it would take to eat to fly, but still saving 30 minutes over waiting it out.

I chose B) and the Captain chose A). I am curious how other professional pilots stand on this, I felt I did the right thing, but he is still pissed with me for refusing to fly into it.
 

bssthound

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I fly into hurricanes with the Air Force Reserve. We fly WC-130s into storms at 10,000' and have had planes lose up to 3000'+ in conditions not any worse than what you're describing. That's a rare occurence, mind you, but quite possible. If I think of all the time I've wasted in my life, an hour isn't a big deal.
 

bobbysamd

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Choices

You weren't wrong. Why court trouble? Choice "C" would have been fine, too.
 

rumpletumbler

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bart,

I don't have much experience but from what I have I can tell you that the worst thing I've ever experienced is the captain who is a "cowboy." The adreneline junkie should find something to do besides endanger other peoples lives. I would say that the best time to ask a question like the one you have is during the interview. Drill the guy you will be flying with on his intentions in times like this and other similar situations. If he doesn't like it you can bet that there is probably more "cowboy" than you want in him.

RT
 

surplus1

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Yours is a good "dumb question".

Out of 100 dangerous storms that you encounter along your way, you can probably "punch through" 99 of them successfully with no more than a higher than average pucker factor. The other one will kill you.

As soon as you can identify with 100% accuracy the one out of a hundred that's the killer, "punching through" is an option. Otherwise, it is not.

Divert! That way you can guarantee you'll live to debate about dumb questions vs dumb answers. Heroics are the placebo of the uniformed. Avoid them like the plague.

It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. The life you save will be your own.

Fly Safe. "There are old pilots and bold pilots. There are no old bold pilots."
 

bart

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Thanks Guys...

Thanks, I appreciate the moral support. I am certain in my mind that I did the right thing, I was just curious if there are people out there that routinely (other than Hurricane Hunters) punch Tstorms.

By the way, my nickname for him is Tex... referring to his cowboy attitude, he loves it.
 

Timebuilder

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Diverting is good.

It is more comfortable for the pax, and they don't throw up.

You don't end up with blistered paint due to lightning strikes.

You don't encounter that one in one hundred cell.

You are here to discuss it, next time.
 

414Flyer

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Re: Thanks Guys...

bart said:
Thanks, I appreciate the moral support. I am certain in my mind that I did the right thing, I was just curious if there are people out there that routinely (other than Hurricane Hunters) punch Tstorms.

By the way, my nickname for him is Tex... referring to his cowboy attitude, he loves it.

I used to do cloud seeding on thunderstorms in south Texas last year. We would never penetrate the body of a thunderstorm. We would pop flares into developing parts of the storm at mid altitudes (18-22k), or prowl around under bases to release silver iodine particles into updrafts.
 

surplus1

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414Flyer said:


I used to do cloud seeding on thunderstorms in south Texas last year. We would never penetrate the body of a thunderstorm. We would pop flares into developing parts of the storm at mid altitudes (18-22k), or prowl around under bases to release silver iodine particles into updrafts.

If you're paid to do it, then you take your chances (like hurricane research). Otherwise, "prowling around under bases" has been known to decrease the longevity of more than one pilot.

Beware! Under the base of a TRW or under the overhang may be better than in the thick of it but definitely aren't the best places to be.
 

414Flyer

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surplus1 said:


If you're paid to do it, then you take your chances (like hurricane research). Otherwise, "prowling around under bases" has been known to decrease the longevity of more than one pilot.

Beware! Under the base of a TRW or under the overhang may be better than in the thick of it but definitely aren't the best places to be.

Well keep in mind I also fairly set parameters though. I usually flew the 340 at a certain power setting and altitude, and looked for updrafts that would yield an indicated airspeed of about 155 in the 340.

If my airspeed started getting higher than that, while maintaining that altitude, we moved away from the storm. If it dropped lower, we moved a bit closer.

It was pretty routine usually, and often was just circling the base of a cell, or going back and forth just in advance of a line.. I think only about twice did that get pretty memorable. I remember once over San Antonio, I hit a pretty big updraft and the plane starting going up pretty quickly..Even with power pulled back, plane pointed down quite a bit, I still wasnt going down much at all.

Hitting cells higher up with flares was different, but usually routine too. The sound an iced up tail makes when stalling though is interesting
 

hyper

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414flyer,

At one point, I was looking into getting into seeding. How did you like it? It looks like pretty interesting work. How did you guys monitor and determine your success with the seeding?

Thanks
 

surplus1

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Some time ago (many years) an airline named Braniff (the original) lost an L-188 in the Southwest (can't remember exactly where). If I remember correctly the airframe broke up while skirting some cells, in the clear, but underneath. I don't know where to find it but, if you have the interest, check out the report of what happened and how. Quite a bit of reasearch by a famous Japanese born meteorologist working out of the Chicago area, at the time, was involved. That gentleman knows more about thunderstorms than most anyone else. It changed a lot of thinking. Might be worth reading if you can find it.
 

Timebuilder

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Isn't that the guy that did all of that work on microbursts?
 

414Flyer

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hyper said:
414flyer,

At one point, I was looking into getting into seeding. How did you like it? It looks like pretty interesting work. How did you guys monitor and determine your success with the seeding?

Thanks

It is definitely some interesting flying that you will not do anywhere else. Do not expect to fly a lot though. From April to September last year, I flew about 90 hours on storms, and half of that was last week of august to first week september. Either you dont fly for month, then you fly your butt off when there are lots of storms.

Right now is a harder time to get hired for cloud seeding, at least with my old company, since some states and countries have cut back funding for it.

Its not something you can make a career from really, but you learn more about storms, (although I will never pretend to be an expert about them), and have some fun flying.

The results are not something that you can see really from short term, although some say you can see a different in the storm. At the most, it gives about a long term increase of about 10 percent more rain, when done right and at the right times.

The company I worked for has a webpage about it if you want to learn more. http://www.weathermod.com/wxmod.htm
 

hyper

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414flyer,

Sounds very interesting and some fun flying! Thanks for the insight.

Fly safe
 
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