Mother nature is just one of the many things in our lives that we simply cannot control, no matter how much we want to! How many times have we watched a tropical storm or hurricane bearing down on a town or city somewhere in the world and wished that we could divert it? Or seen grey storm clouds gathering in the sky and thought, “Please just wait until I get home from work!” Or planned a beach holiday ahead of time and crossed all our fingers and toes, hoping that when the date rolls around, the weather will be perfect? The weather is a primary concern when travelling long distances, especially by plane! In the case of a private jet charter flight, the plane is a lot smaller than, say, a commercial Boeing, so the weather is an even more significant concern.
There are many things that pilots and air traffic controllers have to consider when it comes to flying in extreme weather conditions. We’ve put together a little list composed of the biggest ways that weather conditions can affect your private jet charter flights so that you have these facts at your fingertips and on your mind when you’re booking your next flight. Read on for all the information.
Flight delays are much more likely to happen in the wintertime when the cold weather has got its claws into your country. The jobs that pilots and air traffic controllers have to do are already very challenging and require a lot of skill. When the weather is awful in winter, their jobs become even more stressful and difficult. Many people’s lives rest on the shoulders of these professionals, so it’s their job to be as prepared as possible, even if that means that your flight is a no go.
In winter, when the fog rolls in, the ice coats the runways and crosswinds blow like they’re going out of fashion, the air traffic controllers have to drastically reduce the number of planes that land at their airports at any given time. Increasing the gap between landing planes means that the airport will handle fewer aircraft than usual; this goes for commercial and private airlines. Those same weather conditions can make it incredibly difficult for planes to build up enough speed to get off the ground and to do so along their scheduled trajectory. If weather conditions on the ground look bad, it’s a sure bet that the ones at cruising altitude are as bad or worse. The weather service provides this information, and the ground staff need to interpret it to decide if a flight will be able to take off safely.
If the weather is freezing and an aircraft has stood in it overnight, the plane will need to be de-iced before its first flight each morning. Thankfully, since private jets are smaller than the average commercial plane, this takes a little less time in the private industry. That said, a severe buildup of ice could cause delays in takeoff. Runways need to be cleared of any heavy snow or ice deposits as well. Getting yourself to your flight on time is also a concern in colder weather: you should always allocate extra travel time in case of delays. Be wise and pack cold-weather items when you travel in case of unforeseen incidents.
Though hot weather is much less likely to prevent or down a flight, it is possible. Hot weather decreases the air density; the air molecules are spread further apart, which is why, in the heat, people often struggle to catch their breath. If the weather is scorching and a plane needs to take off, it has to travel much faster than it usually would to create enough lift to leave the ground. Since the wings of any plane push down on the density of the air to create lift, when the air is less dense, there is less for a plane’s wings to push down on. The plane’s engine also requires a certain amount of oxygen to be present to create combustion; without this, your plane isn’t going anywhere. In these sweltering conditions, the wings cannot work as efficiently, and neither can the engines, which creates a potentially dangerous situation for everyone on board.
Though we touched on this in the cold weather section, it should go without saying that planes do not do well taking off or landing in extremely windy conditions. Planes are actually reasonably light objects, relatively speaking; a plane being blown so much as a metre off course could have disastrous results.
There are many ways that weather could affect your private jet flight. Both the ground staff and the flight crew who work for any private jet charter company are very well trained and know when conditions are simply too risky. They will keep you safe, whether it’s on the ground or in the air.