February 2002 Issue

Spotting Trouble

Lightning detectors aka Strike Finder and Stormscope help spot thunderstorms, but they also have some serious limitations

[IMGCAP(1)] Thunderstorm. That word causes more angst among aviators than just about any other atmospheric phenomenon. The thought of getting tangled up in the violent bowels of a mature thunderstorm heavy rain, severe turbulence, hail and lightning weighs heavily on the mind of any pilot flying or planning to fly when thunderstorms are active.

And that angst is well founded. Every year a number of aircraft, their pilots and passengers are lost to thunderstorms.

A vast array of ground-based and airborne technology, probably worth billions of dollars, is dedicated to helping pilots identify and avoid thunderstorms. The past 20 years has brought a wide acceptance of cockpit-based lig...

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