So majestic from afar, so nasty when approached.

Some pilots get lulled into thinking they can fly near these because frequently nothing happens when they do. But on those occasions when a storm reaches out to touch, it won’t have a happy ending.

Choosing quality, benign conditions where no significant changes are forecast adds lots of safety. It’s unavoidable that a desire to get airtime will interfere with our smarter side. This should remind us of what others have endured so that hopefully we won’t have to. Call it motivation.


Sun heats earth, earth heats air, air rises quickly enough to cause grief. Inject moisture and certain atmospheric conditions to really get pissed off air.

I’ve heard it said that if we could see the air, we wouldn’t fly in it. Thunderstorms, such as the one pictured at right, are nature’s window into the turmoil unleashed through convective activity. Problem is, turmoil extends well beyond this little window.

We watch many thunderstorms pass nearby and never feel anything. That lures the some pilots into thinking it will always be so.

Like every risk and weather phenomena, there are degrees. Some storms, in some conditions, when they’ll pass beside you by several miles, won’t be likely to cause carnage on your flying site. It’s still a gamble, mind you, but your odds are better.

If a storm is heading for you, though, the risk needle is bent. Trying to get a quick one in before it hits has a track record of lousiness. Witness the video below. Thanks to Don Andrews for sharing this.