Would the airline take off even if there is freezing rain?
A cloudy day is enough to make you think twice before going out the door. Just the thought of walking or driving in the rain can make your skin crawl. So, how do airline pilots manage to overcome their disgust for severe weather and fly with hundreds of persons aboard through snow, fog, and thunderstorms? Would the airline take off if there is freezing rain? Let's find out!
Airlines are built for heavy weather
You might have heard of weather-related cancellations before. These situations occur mostly in the cold season, and we can all see the disappointment on the faces of passengers that have to remain grounded against their will.
The good news is that these events take place only when there are brutal weather conditions, which are seldom. Airlines are built to withstand severe weather circumstances, and if the pilots or air traffic control decide to cancel flights, it means that the situation is dead serious, and most probably deadly.
Airlines have been designed to travel in spite of high winds and moderate snow storms. However, there is one weather condition that pilots will always refuse to fly in: freezing rain.
Freezing rain causes the aircraft to amass ice quickly, even faster than the de-icing system can remove it. Besides becoming too heavy to stay in the air, the plane would encounter significant difficulties in taking off and would risk the lives of everyone aboard.
It’s illegal to take off in freezing rain
When airports experience rain or drizzle, they pay close attention to temperature variations. If there is the possibility of it dropping under the freezing point, then a mass cancellation of all flights on the schedule might occur. At this point, any airline that would decide to take off would commit illegality.
Reports show what happens when a plane is trying to take off in freezing rain. Icing can create havoc by forcing the aircraft to:
- Decrease lift power
- Reduce thrust
- Increase drag
- Enhance weight
Pilots and air traffic controllers have to take several factors into account before deciding if the rain that is hitting the airport poses significant risks. They need to consider the size and concentration of the ice particles, the shape of aircraft surfaces and the oscillating environmental temperature.
Waiting for the storm to pass is beneficial for everyone
With all the sturdy design features, planes cannot overcome freezing rain conditions, yet. If this weather anomaly occurs when you have to board a flight, you will most likely see your trip delayed or even canceled.
All in all, delaying or canceling a flight because of freezing rain is beneficial to everyone involved. First off, the crew and the passengers’ lives are safe. Secondly, the airline company does not take part in an air disaster that could damage their reputation indefinitely. Last, but not least, you can claim compensation for your flight being delayed or canceled. Not taking off in the rain has its perks, and for you, it could mean a generous reimbursement.