Crosswinds and Thunderstorms

The mitigation of crosswind and thunderstorm effects are at least two things that wind engineers (i.e. civil engineers with a wind engineering background) and aerospace/aeronautics engineers have in common. Here are a couple of articles talking about some issues airplanes, their engineers/designers, and their pilots have been encountering.

First, check out this video of planes in Bilbao, Spain having difficulties landing because of 100 kph (30 m/s, or 60 mph) crosswinds. I read about it thru a Gizmodo article.

And then there's this rather lengthy article discussing the 2009 tragic accident behind Air France 447 on The Telegraph. Like in civil engineering, uncertainties in the loads, neglect during the actual construction or in the design, and the decisions of the owners/operators, all contribute to accidents like this. But if you're scared of air travel, you should be more scared of travel by car because statistics-wise, there are more killed per capita due to car accidents than due to plane accidents. But of course, that's not the real reason why we're more afraid of air travel, right? In almost the same way, we are more afraid of earthquakes than wind storms, even though wind storms have injured, killed, and damaged much, much more than earthquakes ever have.

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