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Airport Procedures for Severe Weather, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 614

Essay

Airline safety is a significant concern of the public and many times, aircraft may run into trouble if safety procedures or guidelines are not followed. However, history has shown that many plane crashes or other types of negative aviation incidents have occurred, not only from pilot error, but due to the pilot not being able to handle inclement weather conditions that arose while attempting to keep control of a plane.

Severe weather conditions affect operations at airports both domestically and around the world. According to the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), severe weather is responsible for approximately 70% of National Airspace System (NAS) flight delays. Additionally, as stated, weather is also a contributing factor in many aviation incidents and accidents and results in about $3 billion in national costs annually, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) (Kulesa, 2008).

Hurricanes and other types of severe storms, which means dealing with such natural forces as treacherous wind, snow, or freezing rain, can make air travel very dangerous. For example, wind in conjunction with rain or snow can create disturbing crosswinds, making it difficult for the pilot to keep the plane in the center of the runway and keep the plane from skidding. With heavy snow, runways are dangerous and pilots could have trouble taking off and landing before the runway ends, while trying to maneuver the plane in slush caused by melting snow, and visibility is decreased as well. With freezing rain, aircraft can be covered with ice quicker than the plane’s de-icing equipment can work to melt the ice, rendering the plane in danger of the pilot losing control. Additionally, an airplane cannot operate properly in freezing rain because vital equipment can freeze, particularly the brakes (Elliott, 2013). For these reasons, airports have specific regulations, guidelines, and procedures to follow in the event of adverse weather conditions.

There are several things that airports and pilots do in response to inclement weather conditions. These include grounding aircraft and cancelling flights if the weather poses too much danger to flight staff and passengers. Additionally, if an aircraft is already in the air when inclement weather develops, the pilot can request a change of course to attempt to move around bad weather. Airlines also use weather detection and avoidance technology such as satellites, ground radar, and weather balloons to forecast weather, which is a strategy that helps pilots in bad weather conditions. In addition, many aircraft have on-board radar systems to aid in the effort of safety in adverse weather (Culpan, 2014).

Pilots are also well trained in procedures and guidelines to follow to properly handle their aircraft in the safest way possible, in the event of bad weather. This includes pre-flight training that includes weather briefings before flights. These weather briefings inform the pilot of current conditions, possible future adverse weather conditions, recommendations for visual flight rules, information on prevailing weather systems, en route forecasts, destination forecasts, wind conditions, turbulence predictions, and expected delays. Additionally, the pilot is to routinely check with air traffic control on take-off, while in flight, and before landing the aircraft, especially when dealing with adverse weather conditions (NWS, 2009).

References

Culpan, T. (2014, December 30). How Bad Weather Can Affect Aircraft, and What Can Be Done. Retrieved from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-30/how-bad-weather-can-affect-aircraft-and-what-can-be-done-qa

Elliott, C. (2013, November 26). Storm Warnings: How Do Airlines Know If It’s Safe to Fly in Bad Weather? Retrieved from National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131126-storm-airlines-travel-shutdown-weather-air-safety/

Kulesa, G. (2008). Weather and Aviation: How Does Weather Affect the Safety and Operations of Airports and Aviation, and How Does FAA Work to Manage Weather-related Effects? The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, pp. 1-10. Retrieved from http://climate.dot.gov/documents/workshop1002/kulesa.pdf

NWS. (2009, September 30). A Pilot’s Guide to Aviation Weather Services. Retrieved from National Weather Service.

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