Aviation Research Paper Sample on Aviation Phenomenon Analysis

Aviation Phenomenon Analysis


In the many occasions, thunderstorms have been perceived as posing high risks in the aviation industry.  A thunderstorm, in its immediate context, is the unprecedented storm accompanied by lightning and loud thunder. The phenomenon is produced by the cumulonimbus clouds when they are unstable.  When the thunderstorm occurs, it may produce either the torrential rains, gusty winds or hail stones.  The transcending effects of a storm could be very and highly risky.  To the aviation industry, it could cause the business to close down.  Weather is a major factor in the airline industry and needs to be taken into consideration. Thunderstorms are some of the phenomena that changes the weather patterns in such a way that it could threaten the airline sector as whole (Vasigh, Fleming, & Tacker, 2013).  It is, therefore, imperative to look into the real causes of the thunderstorm with a keen attention to the ways in which its occurrence could beminimized.  The reduction of this occurrence would mean that there would be peaceful ambiance that would be deemed quite substantial for the safe traveling via air.  It is imperative to note that the ease of traveling and the probability of safe travels are dependent on the weather patterns brought forward at every point in time.  For example, an air flight could be canceled due to inclement weather.  The severe weather could be caused by the turbulence that emanates from the thunderstorms and lightning that are prevalent in the area (Lester, 2014).  This notion could hurt the profitability of the company in the aviation industry. This paper looks into the real causes of a thunderstorm and its impact on the airline industry.  We would scrutinize a case study example where the storm had caused a menace and how the technicians handled the phenomenon.

The causes of thunderstorm

  A thunderstorm is one phenomenon that occurs when the air mass in the various layers in the atmosphere overturns in a very violent way because of its instability. There are two sets of sets of air that are deemed to cause this kind of occurrence.  The lowest layer of the air mass is always seen to have a higher stance of high temperature than the upper layer of the air mass in the atmosphere. As the pockets of air rises above the surface of the earth, it is only expected that they condense into a piece of water in the upper layers of the atmosphere.  This notion is supported by the concept that the higher you go, the cooler it becomes. Additionally, the lower layer of the air is quite humid and thus is very dense.  The upper layer of the air is dry and less dense.  The rising of the air into the cooler dry region of the atmosphere is caused by the differential in the pressure and where the highly dense air would want move to a lowly thick area.  As the pockets of air rises, they tend to undergo the process of expansion and then cooling and this makes them quite unstable. The cooling causes these air masses to release heat and turn into the water which might turn into ice depending on the intensity of cooling (Vasigh, Fleming, & Tacker, 2013).

As the processes of cooling, expansion and condensation take place, the condensed water, and ice continues piling up to form the clouds.  The cloud so far created is seen to have high chances of growing tremendously in the atmosphere. The major clouds that form at this juncture are the cumulus and the nimbus clouds.  According to the real statistics of the types of clouds, it is very evident to say that these two sets of clouds are deemed to be sufficient to bring on rain, hailstones and very turbulent weather.  After the piling of the condensed air masses, a tall collective cloud is considered to be formed. The formation is dependent upon the availability of the high humidity that emanates from the surface of the earth. As the piling up continue, a huge cumulonimbus cloud is deemed to be formed and as it grows,  the lower humid air will no more be able to contain the whole weight of the cloud and hence it will start coming down to the earth’s surface in high levels of turbulence. The thunderstorm would be created at the point when the huge unstable cloud starts to have frictional forces developing within it that would eventually make the whole cloud break and cause severe lightning and high-level storms that would be quite detrimental to the weather. A closer look at the overall context of mastery of this phenomenon, there are three sets of things that thunderstorm is deemed to bring on the earth’s surface.  One of them is high-density rains.  Additionally, there are the hailstones and also the ice crystals and the snow. The transcending effects of these occurrences are the inception of bad weather.

The places where these thunderstorms and their effects occur are the regions where there high levels of sunny days and preferably near large water bodies which provide a high degree of humidity.  The high humidity is seen to have a transcending effect of making sure that the clouds forms quickly and at the same time the advents of instability rises.  Below is a picture that shows the enhanced photo of a super-cell for a classic thunderstorm. This storm could be quite intense and colossal at the same time very destructive that would in the long end produce significant tornadoes and hailstones.    

  Lastly, it should be noted that the thunderstorm that occurs in the regions of water bodies results into high convectional rainfall. On the mountainous regions, the relief rainfall occurs. Additionally, the storm that takes place in the mountainous regions is less violent than those that occur along the large water bodies. This occurrence is because these water bodies are usually found in the areas of lower altitude where the temperatures are quite high and hence the level of instability that would be caused here will be much high. Therefore making the whole storm quite destructive. The next section we would look at the results that the various occurrences of thunderstorm bring to the entire context of the aviation industry.  We would try to relate various the direct effects of the storms to the business with keen attention to the different sets of risks that this phenomenon brings (Vasigh, Fleming, & Tacker, 2013).

The danger of thunderstorm to the aviation industry

In the current context, it is believed that thunderstorm is one menace that presents some of the devastating threat in the airline industry. The impact of a storm is most probably seen in the forms of down dust, microburst, icing, tornadoes, lightning, runway contamination, bad visibility, heavy downpour, hailstones and surface wind gusts among others.  In this section, we are going to discuss these effects in details.


Downburst contains an enormous amount of air that is freezing and prevalently flows out of a Cb that usually causes an unprecedented strong downdraught that has a cross section of about 2.5 – 6 NM at the center and transversely horizontal wind shear.  Additionally, it comes with the updraft that revolves around the center and with a severe wind shear which is parallel in nature outside the Cb. It is believed that the downburst is deemed to affect a vast expanse of an area of about 16 NM in a radius or even more depending on the intensity of the same. Furthermore, it is a fact that the horizontal wind shear constituent is deemed to be as large as the six ktps per second.  In this prospect, it is thought to be quite detrimental especially at the time of determination of the best route to be followed by the planes.  The technicians at this point find it quite difficult to discern the best course of design that the aircraft needs for support to land safely under such phenomena (Lester, 2014).


Turbulence is the flow pattern of fluid that is characterized by chaotic moves and changes that may result in forces that are quite destructive.  This notion includes the high momentum convection, the low momentum diffusion the flow velocity in space and time and the rapid variation in the pressure.  The rapid expansion and the contraction of the various pockets of air that is seen in the variety of clouds as the thunder strikes bring on board the advent of shaking and random movement of the different particle in the air that would eventually cause high levels of pressure in the atmosphere (Changnon, 2009).  The pressure differences created generates forces that at times are very destructive to the movement of the aircrafts on the air.  The turbulence caused by the thunderstorm creates a force that can destabilize the flow of these planes in the air.  The pilots at this point in time are ssfaced with the task to maintain the high level of stability as the forces shake up the whole plane. In the event that the kinetic energy that is caused by the turbulence is stronger than the dynamic repellant forces that the aircraft brings on board, it would be definite that the plane would lose control.  The aircrafts, therefore, stands at high risks of destruction in the event that thunderstorms bring elevated levels of turbulence in the aerospace. 


A tornado is a massive column of the wind that is moving is a rotational manner. The wind is deemed to be connected to both the surface of the earth and the lower part of the cumulonimbus clouds which causes the storms.  This movement is due by the low-pressure circulation which is deemed to be quite closed. These might develop under a light rainfall visible by dust or moist air, but they can be imperceptible too when the atmosphere is dry under the convective concentration level. Characteristic horizontal facet is several hundreds of meters and wind velocities of over 150 kts are very common and quite prevalent. Lifetime may last for more than a few minutes to hours. Minor types like the waterspout contain a radius of 26 to 54 meters and duration of about one hour. The movement of these dry enclosed winds could cause the plane not to take off since, in the event that the pressure on the surface is quite high, the plane will not be able to gain the momentum and the force which would help it to take off.  The aircraft at this point would be at risks of not transporting the various persons and gods that they are deemed to carry.

Icing conditions

In many occasions, there are extremely low temperatures that are caused by the thunderstorms. The low temperatures led to the formation of various parts of the aircrafts.  One of the arts that are always affected is the front windscreen which pilots use in knowing the directions for which they are headed as they pilot the planes.  There is also the carburetor icing where several parts of the engine are clogged with ice particles as well. The icing of the engine is very detrimental to the very essence of operations of the whole plane since it will affect the power with which the driver will need to exhibit as it starts.  Additionally, it is deemed to lower the speed of the whole plane and even damage the engine in the process. This notion poses a high risk of failure of the engine which has a high-cost implication.  Another effect of the icing is that it will make the wing of the plane to stall at a subtle angle of attack than the common perspective.  In this prospect, it makes the aircraft have a higher airspeed if the wing is contaminated with the ice. The effect of the icing is more severe when the icing is quite rough.  The roughness causes the whole parts of the wings to have a high force that would propel the entire plane to have higher uncontrollable airspeeds (Vasigh, Fleming, & Tacker, 2013).

The economic effects of thunderstorms

Thunderstorms have several economic impacts on the aviation industry which needs to be examined.  The economic consequences mainly relate to the cost implications of the risks posed by the thunderstorm. The economic impacts are as discussed below.

The high operational costs

Numerous accidents always occur due to the turbulence in the air caused by the thunderstorms.  Many passengers usually die, some get severely injured.  If these accidents happen, it is the responsibility of the aircraft company to meet the various bills of these passengers.  This notional means that the operational expense as far as the insurance costs is concern will be quite high.  Most insurance companies nowadays charge a lot of premiums in order to cover the medical bills of the passengers on board. These insurance expenses will continue to rise and hence the eating into the revenue of the company (Changnon, 2009).  Additionally, the company has to hire many technicians who will be in a position to carry out the rescue mission of salvaging the parts of the planes that have crashed due to bad weather and construct new planes as well.  In this line of management, the operational costs are deemed to increase if the high incidences of thunderstorms are reported.  On the account of the passengers, the lives that have been lost might be a very prominent business person who has brilliant minds of building the economy.  The death means a loss in the labor force that would be used by a country in maintaining the high levels of production in economic terms.  It is to this effect that there is the need to give much attention to the inception of various steps to reduce the advents of deaths caused by these storms when passengers are on board (Lester, 2014).

Reduced profitability

The high operational costs that are due to the high occurrences of accidents caused by storms always eat into the revenues that the company gets from the transport business. In the first instance, the high risks of thunderstorm occurrence make the companies allocate secure provisions for depreciation of the various aircrafts that are usually expensed on the profits of the firm.  This causes the net profits of the company to go down (Lester, 2014). Again it should be noted that as these accidents happen, the employees who work in such risky jobs such as the pilot would demand a lot of cash for their daily activities to cover for the risks they undergo. Companies which are situated in areas if high thunderstorm prevalence are seen to incurred a high level of costs to the especially in remunerating their employees since if they don’t,  the employees will be discouraged and they will lose these great employees to the competitors in the less risky zones.  High incidences of thunderstorm and lightning are a risk of fear to the several passengers who would want to use these facilities. Additionally, the high risks of storms create a reputational damage to the company as a whole (Changnon, 2009). The investors after foreseeing high chances of low profitability will pull out from this adventure and in the long run, who firm is deemed to lack funds which would lead to is closure.  The closure will mean that that the employment opportunities will reduce, the source of income will also cut, and the level of investment is also deemed to diminish. The whole scenario would lead to a decline in the economic development among the citizens of the country.  It will also give a leeway to the high dependency ratio in the economy which has very acute effects on the investment stances of the whole industry.

Aviation accident analysis

2003 Iran (IIRG) Il-76 crash

This crash was an accident that occurred in mountainous terrain near Kerman. The aircraft was owned by the Army of Guardians in the revolution of Islamic sector.  The plane with the registration number 15-2280 was flying to Kerman from Zahedan when the incidence happened.  The plane crashed at around 36 kilometers from the southwest part of Kerman.  As reported, the principal cause of the accident was the poor weather that was deemed to affect the area.  The climatic conditions in these mountainous regions were quite daunting. The report findings from the crash show that there were high winds and elevated levels of lightning that were experienced in the field at the point of the crash.  Additionally, the high winds made the plane be lost in the radar.  The transcending effect was an explosion that was experienced by the locals through a loud bang. The plane crashed with 275 passengers in it and all perished in the collision. This is the 9th deadliest aviation crash globally as it claimed lots of lives (Vasigh, Fleming, & Tacker, 2013).

A closer look at the accident, it is evident that the unprecedented weather patterns caused the plane to crash.  The reports connote that the main reason for which the plan crash is because it lost the radar due to the strong winds that were circulating near the mountains where the plane crashed.  The high winds were caused the by the thunderstorms that have been reported in the area for years on end (Lester, 2014).  The turbulence that caused the disturbance and the loss of the radar for the plane had a high pressure that generated high levels of force which the pilots could not control.  The crash also had to occur due to the invisibility that was experienced in the atmosphere that was caused by the huge chunks of clouds around the mountains. In the aviation industry, such deadly accidents are always put into perspective to understand what happened and how they can be evaded.  For this type of crash, there is a need to look into the proper characteristics of the routes that these planes cross by looking at the climatic patterns of every route (Changnon, 2009).

In conclusion, a thunderstorm has been to be a phenomenon that is quite detrimental to the aviation industry.  It is caused by the instability of the cumulonimbus clouds that are always quite violent when they break. The danger of thunderstorm are such the down dust, microburst, icing, tornadoes, lightning, runway contamination, bad visibility, heavy downpour, hailstones and surface wind gusts among others.  The economic impact of this phenomenon is such as the loss of profitability, and the increase in the operational costs.  The case analysis of the 2003 Iran (IIRG) Il-76 crash reveals that indeed thunderstorm is a real menace that needs to be handled with care.


Changnon, S. A. (2009). Studies of impacts of urban-related weather and climate changes at Chicago and St. Louis. Champaign, Ill: Illinois State Water Survey.

Vasigh, B., Fleming, K., & Tacker, T. (2013). Introduction to air transport economics: From theory to applications. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate.

Lester, P. F. (2014). Turbulence: A new perspective for pilots. Englewood, CO: Jeppesen Sanderson Training Systems.