Hurricanes are very dangerous for pilots - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hurricanes are very dangerous for pilots

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Hurricane Irene has caused thousands of flights to be canceled and it's not only the commercial planes that are grounded.

Before any pilot takes to the air they do a preflight check of the aircraft to ensure everything is working properly.

But, Jeff Hayes who works as the assistant chief flight instructor at SIU's Aviation Program says even the best laid plans aren't enough to keep you safe if you choose to fly in or near a hurricane.

"Let's say you have a 20-knot wind and you need to lift off at a 100-knots," Hayes said. "So you might be going 80-knots across the ground, but have a 100-knots going across your wings. If you lose that 20-knot wind as you rotate on take off, it's going to put you right back into the ground."

And Hayes points out that even if you do get off the ground successfully, once you get airborne the winds are only going to get stronger in a storm.

"They are very dangerous, especially with the excessive gusts they have inside of them. There's going to be a lot of turbulence with updrafts and down drafts. You've heard of airplanes that have lost one thousand to two thousand feet instantly and people hitting the ceiling, it's a very bumpy ride. And very stressful on the aircraft."

Which is why Hayes says even if it's a huge commercial airplane or a single engine plane they are no match for the forces of a hurricane.

"Even though it seems like a lot of it was precautionary, they planned for the worst. And even with the storm being downgraded to a tropical storm, you still don't want to be put in that situation," said Hayes.

"The way I look at it I'd rather be on the ground wishing I had gone, then in the air wishing I had not gone." 

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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