Hidden threats in ours temperamental airspace companions.

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Identifying clouds and their potential threats is key to having actually a keen aviator’s eye and also ensuring that you don’t inadvertently encounter any hazards.

The FAA mandates yearly recurrent training for pilots ~ above cloud identification and also weather, therefore we assumed we’d lay out an easy-to-follow study guide to cloud to know in this 3-part blog series.

Today, we are talking around turbulence in relation to cloud types, you can read about thunderstorm cloud identification and icing cloud to know here.

Cloud types and whereby to uncover them.

Clouds generally are classified based on their visual qualities such together height, shape, and behavior.

Clouds space put into the following categories: low, middle, high, or those with comprehensive vertical development (aka prolong through more than one level).

Typically, you’ll encounter the following varieties of clouds in each level:


• High clouds: There are 3 varieties of high clouds: cirrostratus, cirrocumulus, and cirrus. Usually, you will encounter very small turbulence in high clouds, but you can expect some turbulence from a cirrocumulus cloud.

• center clouds: There are 2 varieties of high clouds: altostratus and also altocumulus. Some turbulence is supposed from altocumulus clouds, but typically small to no disturbance is proficient in one altostratus cloud.

• Low clouds: There space 4 types of short clouds:


If you see a stratocumulus cloud, intend some connected turbulence.

If you view a cumulus cloud, first note even if it is or not it has actually vertical development.

A cumulus with tiny vertical development means you deserve to expect part turbulence.

However, a towering cumulus cloud way you have the right to expect very solid turbulence.

Generally, pilots have the right to expect to experience some degree of disturbance in relation to clouds below 20,000 ft. AGL (beneath or within low/middle clouds), but above 20,000 ft.

AGL is usually an extremely smooth since you will be in the high clouds or over the generally turbulent clouds (not considering clear air disturbance or jet stream).

Now, there is one exception to this rule: cumulonimbus clouds.* Those whipped mashed potato or stacked noodle ball-like clouds hold some of the many dangerous flying conditions known come aviators, including excessive turbulence, all wrapped increase in a little fluffy package.

Cumulonimbus clouds display vertical advancement within a range of the typical cloud levels.

* others on the list to avoid, despite seen much more rarely, room the Mammatus clouds (wind shear result), Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds (severe wind shear result), and Lenticular clouds (mountain tide activity)


Cloud-related disturbance avoidance.

As formerly mentioned, clouds above 20,000 ft AGL commonly don’t host the intuitive indication of any turbulence, yet that isn’t always the case.

A general rule of ignorance is to prevent cumulus-type clouds, specifically if over there is any kind of vertical building involved. Stop cumulus clouds or in ~ the an extremely least, be prepared for turbulence when flying v these clouds (i.e. Close seatbelt chime, single chime to trip attendants come stow any items, etc). When in doubt, request to circumnavigate any type of kind of cumulus cloud with ATC.

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