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Microburst Identification

Guest davidh10

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Guest davidh10

I was prompted to start this thread by a post in another Forum:


Flying low to the ground seems to be incredibly dangerous, microbursts and wind shear scare me more than anything.

As I indicated in the other thread, it is all about "threat / error analysis". Firstly, I assume everyone knows that the likely consequences of encountering a Microburst while flying in a small aircraft are death or serious injury. Indeed, this phenomenon presents high risks to heavy metal as well.


They were first identified in association with the Delta Airlines Flight 191 accident in Fort Worth in 1985. There was an Air Crash Investigations program devoted to that accident.


If you don't have any knowledge about Microbursts, you may like to read the Wikipedia entry, which is quite instructive. Here's some other links that provide further information:-




Now the questions:-


  • Did you know anything about Microbursts before reading this thread?
  • Would you recognise a Microburst if you saw one?
  • Have you seen Microburst(s) while flying?
  • Tell us your experiences, if any, with Microbursts?





I had seen the Air Crash Investigations episode, linked above, many years ago. I had also read the section of John Brandon's Tutorial which covers Microscale Meterorology and Atmospheric Effects prior to commencing flight training.


During my flight training, I experienced one while on the ground (not in an aircraft). The CFI had gone up to conduct a TIF. He'd only been gone about five minutes when he made a radio call to request we close the hangars, as a Microburst was heading our way. Sure enough, it hit just after we got the doors shut. Very heavy rain and very strong turbulent wind. I would not have liked to be outside in it. The CFI landed after it had passed, and the wind again subsided.


During a flight from Holbrook, back to Yarrawonga, last year, I flew past a Microburst. I would have liked to get a photo, but at about three miles distance from it, I was not inclined to turn towards it to get a photo. It was difficult to recognise as a Microburst from a distance, but quite obvious from less than about six miles. The whole column of rain was only about 1.5 miles in diameter and displayed the characteristic up-curl at the ground surface. Never the less, I had to examine it carefully to recognise it. A casual look would likely not notice the tell tale signs.



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Thank you for posting this David... There's some great info in it for anyone who flies...


You asked us to share our experiences: Well how about this one... About 13 months, two days and 5 hours ago, or there abouts, I was at 2,000' and trying to sneak between the South West boundary of Amberley's airspace and half a dozen thunder bumpers that seemed to want to prevent me doing that. The nearest one was 2 - 3 miles away to the South West and I thought I'd be OK... I was wrong... Without any warning, that big mongrell grabbed Ol' Jay Tigre and I and quite literally turned us upside down and shook us like a mongrell shakes a rat, then spat us out... When I realized, somewhat to my surprise, that we were right way up again, the wings were still on and the engine was still running, I looked to see what heading I had to turn onto to get back to the field I'd come from. I didn't have to turn so much as a degree. Ol' Jay Tigre was already running for home.


Some people think their aircraft doesn't have a mind of its own. I disagree. I'm of the opinion that if you've got a good one, and you look after it, it'll tell you what you should and should not be doing, and that's what Jay Tigre did...


To summarize the lessons I learnt that day:... All thunder bumpers are mongrells, especially when they're within about 5 miles of you... Always fly like a rat, and don't go anywhere near mongrells... Have a bolt hole in mind, and know where it is and how you're going to get there... And if what you're doing seems dangerous; it probably is, so stop doing it... 035_doh.gif.37538967d128bb0e6085e5fccd66c98b.gif



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Always look for the 'Mammatus' (my favourite type of clouds), if you see them stay on the ground!022_wink.gif.2137519eeebfc3acb3315da062b6b1c1.gif

my favourite too...012_thumb_up.gif.cb3bc51429685855e5e23c55d661406e.gif


the more rounded bulbous looking they are, the more I like looking at them......029_crazy.gif.9816c6ae32645165a9f09f734746de5f.gif


now were's the misses..!!



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