Some effects of rainfall on flight of airplanes and on instrument indications

Rhode, Richard V
April 1941

Several possible effects of heavy rain on the aerodynamic performance of an airplane and of heavy rain and associated atmospheric phenomena on the indications of flight instruments are briefly considered. It is concluded that the effects of heavy rain on the performance of an airplane are not so great as to force the airplane down from moderate altitudes. Serious malfunctioning of the air-speed indicator may occur, however, as a result of flooding of the pitot-static head and subsequent accumulation of water in the air-speed pressure line. In strong convective situations, like thunderstorms, the rate-of-climb indicator may also be seriously in error owing to rapid variations of atmospheric pressure when entering and emerging from the convection currents.

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