The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the student to the fundamentals of thunderstorm
hazards and the proper techniques for safe flight in their vicinity.
Thunderstorms contain many of the most severe weather hazards. They are often accompanied
by strong wind gusts, severe turbulence, lightning, heavy rain showers, severe icing, and possibly
hail and tornadoes. As a result, avoid thunderstorms if possible.
Additionally, this chapter presents hazards a pilot must consider when flying in the vicinity of or
actually entering a thunderstorm. About 44,000 thunderstorms occur daily over the Earth and
pilots can expect to encounter one occasionally. In some tropical regions, thunderstorms occur
year round. In the mid-latitudes, they develop most frequently in spring, summer, and fall.
Being familiar with these factors will help you better understand what is going on both inside
and outside the cockpit. Knowledge of thunderstorm characteristics and the application of tested
procedures will help aircrews operate safely near thunderstorms.
LESSON TOPIC LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Terminal Objective: Partially supported by this lesson topic:
Upon completion of this unit of instruction, student aviators and flight officers will
demonstrate knowledge of meteorological theory enabling them to make intelligent decisions
when confronted with various weather phenomena and hazards.
Enabling Objectives: Completely supported by this lesson topic:
Describe the requirements for thunderstorm formation.
2.42 Describe the thunderstorm life cycle and the characteristics of each stage, including
Identify the hazards associated with thunderstorms.
Define a microburst.
Identify the characteristics of a microburst.
Explain how radar can aid a pilot when flying in the vicinity of thunderstorms.
Describe the recommended techniques for avoiding thunderstorm hazards.