Frequent flyers rejoice: winter is over and summer is fast approaching. That means no more worries about delayed flights due to icy or stormy conditions. 

But during the summer, pilots have a different weather condition to navigate: bumpy flights thanks to summer thunderstorms.

Private jet pilots play a double role as airplane navigators and amateur meteorologists. Understanding how weather can affect the safety and comfort of your flight is an important part of every pilot’s job.

But pop-up thunderstorms in the warmer months can be hard to predict for even the best private pilots, which means you might encounter some unforeseen turbulence as a passenger.

Here’s what causes summer turbulence and how our trained pilots at Mountain Aviation expertly navigate this bumpy terrain.

What Causes Summer Thunderstorms?

In the summer, high humidity mixed with warm temperatures pushes massive amounts of warm, moist air into the atmosphere. This air combination is the perfect storm to create, well, a perfect summer thunderstorm.

Pop-up thunderstorms in the warmer months are some of the hardest weather events to predict.

Unlike a warm or cold front, summer thunderstorms can be ignited by pressure and temperature shifts from previous thunderstorms, sea-breeze fronts and higher or mountainous terrain.

How Mountain Aviation Pilots Safely Navigate Summer Thunderstorms

Despite the unpredictable nature of summer thunderstorms and turbulence, the pilots at Mountain Aviation are trained for this seasonal challenge.

Julian Tonsmeire, Corporate Responsibility Officer and former pilot at Mountain Aviation, describes how the flight team safely handles summer turbulence:

“Mountain Aviation pilots have many weather tools at our disposal to project and plan for summer thunderstorms. These tools help us provide a safe and (hopefully not too bumpy) ride.

“On the ground before any trip, we plan the most advantageous route around turbulent areas. We look for alternate airports in case the one you plan to arrive at is surrounded by storms.

“Before we depart, we go over this information with you to be certain our plans satisfy your time constraints and travel plans.

“Once air-borne, all Mountain Aviation aircraft have a weather radar onboard. This radar helps us see where large thunderstorms may be brewing in real-time.

“During the flight, we may need to alter our course to stay at least 20 miles from any dangerous clouds. We’ll advise air traffic control of our intentions to change course.

“Air controllers always provide the directions I need as a pilot to stay away from summer storms.

“Your private jet may fly through a large patch of clouds for some time. These wide areas of safe clouds are called blow-off. These clouds are typically free of convective build-up, which is the force behind summer thunderstorms.

“However, you may still encounter a little turbulence here and there. Another strategy for avoiding turbulence during summer storms is to slow the aircraft until we’re through the worst of the convective build-up.”

Arrive in Safety and Comfort

The combination of weather radar and our pilot’s trained interpretation helps you arrive at your summer destination in safety and comfort, despite any thunderclouds overhead.

Ready to book your summer trip abroad? Get a free quote for your next flight today >