You always hear how important it is to plan a trip in advance. You want to make sure the private jet you want is available and that you can reserve the best room at the resort. You plan it out, create an itinerary, pack your bags, and get yourself psyched up for an amazing getaway.
There is just one tiny problem. Mother Nature has other plans.
The weather always plays a role when it comes to air travel, causing delays and cancellations that can be widespread. Private jets are no exception. So, let’s talk about flying in bad weather.
Windy Days and Private Jets
Because air travel involves, well, air, it makes sense that a windy day could cause quite an impact – especially when referring to smaller jets.
Believe it or not, the wind is the most common type of weather to interfere with a flight – in ways you may not even realize. For instance, headwind means that your jet will be flying against the wind whereas tailwind means you are flying with the wind. A headwind can slow down jets and increase flight time whereas a tailwind can shorten time thanks to the wind carrying it along.
For the most part, aircraft are designed to handle heavy winds. Though takeoffs and landings can be a little rough for smaller aircraft when the winds are heavy.
Extreme Temperatures and Private Jets
Temperatures can vary, especially during certain times of the year or in certain locations. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, do have an impact on air travel even though it may seem like it is no big deal at all. Except, it is – especially when the temperature is high.
Here’s what happens.
When the temperature increases outside, the air becomes less dense and this can have an effect on the jet’s aerodynamic design and its engine’s ability to perform efficiently. So, how does this impact its ability to fly safely?
Hotter temperatures will require longer runways for takeoff and it will need to work harder just to get off the ground.
On a side note, the rise in temperatures can make for a turbulent flight. And while it may be uncomfortable, it does not mean there is anything wrong with the jet – it is just the interaction with the high heat.
Precipitation and Private Jets
Weather can bring precipitation of all types – rain, snow, sleet, etc. This can happen anywhere at nearly any time. Unless under extreme circumstances, precipitation won’t often ground a flight, but it does create some challenges that must be dealt with.
Precipitation not only makes the runway slippery and potentially dangerous, but poor visibility is another major issue. For instance, if rain is coming down too fast it can impact the pilot’s ability to clearly see the runway – which is a problem for takeoffs and landings. Thankfully windshield wipers help.
During cold temperatures with precipitation, icing can occur. This is when the moisture in the air freezes onto the aircraft. Serious issues can arise from this since frozen debris can build up on the wings and impact the jet’s aerodynamics. It may lose lift or increase drag.
Takeoff, landing, and traveling at a low speed can be dangerous when there is ice on the plane. Not to mention that should it become dislodged it could find its way into other places – such as the engines – and lead to even bigger issues.
If you have ever traveled during winter weather, then you have likely heard about a place being de-iced. This is why.
Fog and Private Jets
Despite having a lot of helpful navigation equipment, pilots still need to be able to see. Fog can seriously impact visibility.
Larger airports have access to technology that allows for a greater visual range to guide jets when fog is heavy.
The good news is that fog doesn’t often stick around long so you shouldn’t have too much to worry about – even if your flight gets delayed.
Thunderstorms, Lightning, and Private Jets
Thunderstorms can interfere with air travel for many different reasons. They can create a lot of turbulence, require the pilot to address the wind shear, and be on the lookout for lightning strikes.
Thunderstorms come with a lot of updrafts and downdrafts that can take away any chance for a smooth flight. Those on board are sure to feel the turbulence as a result. Wind shear is a little different, being caused due to a difference in the direction and wind speed and varying altitudes.
Jets are designed to handle lightning strikes, but that doesn’t mean a pilot wants to deal with one. So during thunderstorms, they are often on the lookout.
It is important to understand that thunderstorms can sometimes bring delays. If there is one located in the general area, it may be deemed safer to wait a short time to allow it to pass before takeoff. What’s more, you cannot refuel a jet during a thunderstorm. This is due to the risk of lightning – and a flammable liquid.
Smaller private jets are better able to handle all that comes with a thunderstorm than large commercial jets. They can maneuver themselves much easier, climbing faster to get above the storm.
Weather and Air Travel
Private jets are impacted by bad weather much like commercial jets and their size can be both an advantage – and a disadvantage. Strong winds can move them around a little more, making them a bit tougher to avoid turbulence. However, they are able to maneuver themselves much easier to avoid bad weather when necessary.
There are times when private jets do get delayed, and it is always done with safety in mind.
A World-Class Flight Crew
Weather conditions are going to arise no matter where you are or what time of year it is. While some are rather predictable, others aren’t. The good news is that when you have a world-class flight crew, you have a team that is experienced in handling jets regardless of the outdoor conditions.
With their skills and training, you should feel confident when they say it is safe to fly – and accept when they say it needs to stay grounded.