Weather-related travel delays are common in the airline industry. Private jet flights aren’t immune to weather events. So, how does the weather affect your private jet safety?
No matter the time of year or where you are in the world, weather is a concern when flying. In some cases, weather events may delay your trip. At Access Jet Group, we continuously monitor weather conditions wherever our guests are traveling to ensure a safe flight and an uninterrupted itinerary. We work closely with our aircraft operators and crew members to ensure that any changes to your flight schedule are done so in a timely and organized manner to reduce their impact on your overall trip.
Different weather conditions may have different effects on your flight. Let’s look at some of the ways weather can affect private flight plans.
Heat Waves and Sunny Days
Aircraft are designed to withstand high temperatures, so a heat wave or a hot, sunny day isn’t likely to disrupt your flight.
However, your aircraft operates differently in higher temperatures. Because the hotter air is thinner than cooler air, the hot temperatures will affect the output of the aircraft’s engines. Aircraft will require a longer runway and may have reduced climbing performance.
Sun rarely grounds flights, but it may impact the overall flight itself. However, the inside of the cabin will remain cool and comfortable according to your preferences, regardless of the outside temperature.
Snow & Ice
Snow and ice can impact your travels at any time of year, depending on where you’re traveling to. Aircraft are designed to withstand freezing temperatures (the air in the sky is much cooler than the air on the ground), with air at 30,000 feet regularly sinking to -80C or lower.
However, snow and ice pose unique challenges for the aircraft. Slick runways and taxiways create hazardous conditions for take-offs and landings.
What’s more, aircraft may require de-icing prior to operating. De-icing uses a mixture of water and glycol, which is heated and sprayed on the outside of the aircraft to remove any ice. This process is a legal requirement for all private jet flights, and it can add to the cost of a charter. We strive to predict whether de-icing may be a factor in your flight so you can plan your total trip cost accordingly.
On the upside, private jets are less impacted by snow and ice compared to large commercial flights. Private jets can use smaller airports, which require less time to clear snow and de-ice aircraft. On-site hangars can store aircraft out of the cold to reduce the possibility of de-icing. And if you’re all clear for take-off but your destination may be experiencing snow and ice, we can look into other nearby airports to help you avoid arrival issues.
If the snow and ice are extreme to where all flights are grounded, private charter operations are restored immediately after restrictions are lifted. With commercial airlines, restored operations may take days.
Fog creates poor visibility for all types of aircraft and can affect private jet safety. Dense fog can create flight delays due to a lack of visibility for air traffic controllers.
When visibility at an airport drops below 1,500 meters, the airport activates its Low Visibility Procedures (or LVPs). These LVPs limit the number of aircraft taxiing and taking off in order to mitigate the potential for accidents.
At a smaller airport, such as those commonly used by private jets, LVPs interrupt take-offs and landings less often. There are fewer aircraft coming and going, which can help you stay on schedule. And in the event your flight is impacted by LVPs, a private charter has more flexibility in re-routing the flight, finding gaps in the patches of fog, or moving your flight time if fog is anticipated.
Wind can change the entire flight experience, depending on the wind’s direction and speed. Tailwinds, for example, push the aircraft forward and shorten the journey. Headwinds do the opposite – the aircraft is flying against the wind, which requires more effort to go the distance.
These differences are most evident on transatlantic flights. The jet streams – strong westward winds that blow at the same altitude where most aircraft fly – can affect the overall time and cost of your flight. While aircraft are built to withstand heavy winds, wind can also create turbulence that might impact the comfort of your flight.
In addition, crosswinds can create challenges for taking off and landing. If winds are moving across the runway, airports may impose takeoff limitations that may delay your flight.
Rain doesn’t affect a flight much, at least not by itself. Aircraft can safely take off and land during rainy weather. However, rain combined with heavy winds can create unique complications. It may warrant a change in route or a delay in takeoff or landing.
Visibility is also minimally impacted by rain. In the air at higher speeds, the rain clears the aircraft windshield almost instantly. Pilots will need clearer views at slower speeds, such as when they are taxiing or landing.
Many smaller aircraft use high-pressure air systems to blow rain off the windscreen and ensure clearer visibility. Other manufacturers may coat the windscreen with a hydrophobic substance to reduce water buildup.
Rain combined with thunder and lightning isn’t always a call for air travel delays, but it can be.
Private jets are well equipped to handle thunderstorms. They have a faster climbing rate, allowing them to leave the disastrous weather far below and fly into clearer skies. Also, since private jets don’t have the same time pressure as commercial airliners, they have more leeway in flying around bad weather instead of directly into it.
In terms of landing during a thunderstorm, the agility of a private jet offers several advantages. Private aircraft can take a more flexible approach to landing and can start their descent later compared to a commercial airliner.
However, pilots do not fly directly into thunderstorm clouds. They maintain a high level of jet safety and take every precaution to ensure a safe, comfortable flight. If a thunderstorm cannot be avoided (i.e., it’s directly over the airfield), a flight may be delayed until the storm passes.
How Access Jet Group Supports You In Any Weather
No matter the weather or your location, Access Jet Group serves as your eyes and ears on the ground. We’re continually monitoring the weather in all of the locations where our guests are traveling and responding quickly to changing weather conditions that may impact your travels.
We’re here to discuss your travel plans and help you achieve the uninterrupted flight you expect. Contact our team today!