You should never, ever, ever, fly into a thunderstorm. If youre even thinking about it, you probably have a whole different set of problems, and there may be no choice. With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to keep things pointed in the right direction-and the wings on-adopted from the FAAs Advisory Circular AC 00-24C, Thunderstorms.
– Dont trust its visual appearance to be a reliable indicator of the turbulence inside a thunderstorm.
– Dont assume that ATC will offer radar navigation guidance or deviations around thunderstorms.
– Remember that data-linked Nexrad imagery shows where the weather was, not where it is. The weather conditions may be 15 to 20 minutes older than the age indicated on the display.
– Do ask ATC for radar navigation guidance or to approve deviations around thunderstorms, if needed.
– Tighten your belts, put on the shoulder harness (if installed) and secure all loose objects.
– Plan and hold a course to take the aircraft through the storm in a minimum time.
– Verify that pitot heat is on and turn on carburetor heat. Icing can be rapid at any altitude and cause almost instantaneous power failure and/or loss of airspeed indication.
– Establish power settings for turbulence penetration airspeed recommended in the aircraft manual.
– If using an automatic pilot, engage only its wing-leveling or heading mode. Altitude- and/or speed hold-modes may increase the aircraft maneuvering and thereby structural stress.
– Keep your eyes on the flight instruments. Looking outside the cockpit can increase danger of temporary blindness from lightning.
– Dont change power settings; maintain settings for the recommended turbulence penetration airspeed in level flight.
– Try to maintain a constant wing- and nose-level attitude. Accept altitude excursions, and manage power to keep airspeed under control.
– Dont turn back once in the thunderstorm. A straight course through the storm most likely will get the aircraft out of the hazards most quickly.