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Brave pilot or crazy pilot? What would you do if you were flying this airliner?


wetapproach

Would you continue the approach if you saw this weather between you and the runway?

Bad weather flying recalls the saying that there are old pilots, there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.

In particular, landing during a storm is considerably the most dangerous choice. The aircraft is slow, low, and most vulnerable to bad weather during this phase of flight.

Commercial pilots must balance safety with maintaining a schedule. Aborting a landing in the case of severe weather either means circling the airport until the all-clear is given or being diverted to another location.  While either option is safe, delays are always a hassle for the airline, the crew, and its passengers.

In spite of all the modern instrumentation in a cockpit, a landing requires visual sighting of the runway. You don’t land blind.

Even with a severe rain storm dead ahead, this pilot of a Fokker F100 appears hell-bent-for-leather when it comes to this approach/landing at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia. It’s probably a good thing the passengers couldn’t see what the crew could.  While procedures vary at different operators, it is not typical to fly directly into a rain shaft of a thunderstorm where the likelihood of a severe wind shear is high.   The strong weather was confirmed visually and backed up by the weather radar. While we’re glad they landed safely, we are more than excited to have not been on that flight in the first place.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.