When Is The Best Time of The Day To Fly?

(Copyright @2009 by Yonko Mali, All rights reserved.)

Thank you for that interesting question. The best time of the day to fly for the smoothest flight is in the morning. No question about that. You avoid the common afternoon thunderstorms which are prevalent in the United States for 9 months of the year. Even without the threat of thunderstorms, the sun heating up the atmosphere is what causes turbulence.

Also the best time of the year to fly is in the fall. And the worst time of the year to fly is in the springtime. Springtime has the most unsettled weather, including tornadoes which are most common in the springtime. Did you know that tornadoes are very uncommon in the rest of the world? Yes the United States is unique in its location between the two great oceans and its terrain that tornadoes, thunderstorms and hurricanes are quite common.

As far as winter time is concern, the biggest danger is on or near the ground. With ice and snow on landings and takeoffs and icing on the wings at lower altitudes when airplanes are flying slower and not generating as much heat on their wings to melt any ice.

But most winter fronts, on the other hand, are low level affairs that can be flown over easily. You want to avoid flying through fronts or near fronts for the most comfortable flights.

Hurricanes are also easy to fly over. The pilot simply has to avoid the embedded thunderstorms that are found in the “weather bands” swirling around a hurricane. We are also lucky that the most dangerous part of the hurricane is the northeast sector which is usually over the sea. Hurricanes make landfall most commonly with their western, northwestern or northern sides. That’s why places like Tampa, Florida or the New England area can really be hit hard by a hurricane because they can be subject to the northeastern side of a hurricane. In Tampa, Florida this danger comes from hurricanes that approach the Florida peninsula from the Gulf side. Fortunately there are not that many hurricanes that hit Tamp or and even less so for New England.

Also remember that the flying in bigger airplanes will also have a smoother flight. And choose a seat in the middle of the airplane for the smoothest flight. The wings will block your view but the center of the airplane’s weight is over the center of the wings.
To digress about taking a cruise for a moment: when taking a cruise on a boat, the smoothest rooms are in the center of the ship, away from the window rows and on the lower levels of the ship. Again, you will not see as much but you will not feel the rocking back and forth as much either.

So yes, the best time of the day to fly for the smoothest and most comfortable flight is in the morning. But be comforted by the fact that the weather information available to the pilots in the air and the weather information available to the controllers on the ground is so much better nowadays. The technology available with our computers and satellites is simply amazing.

You may recall that I gave you two excellent weather websites to use: one was www.turbulenceforecast.com and the other was www.weatherunderground.com . Another good weather site is accuweather.com. Log into my website www.yonkomali.com or www.justcallmejohnny.com.

There is also another interesting website that is very interesting to look at is called, www.flightaware.com. This site tracks the flights of all commercial flights in the USA. Just type in the flight number. I find this site very useful when I am deciding when to leave for the airport to pick up someone who is coming in. Also if you track the airplane flights that you take the most often, you can see how the airplanes avoid the bad weather as much as they can.

Again, visit my website justcallmejohnny.com and you can find all this information about these interesting web sites.

Thanks for the question and have a safe and smooth flight!