Sydney Airport – weather diversions

You may experience changes in where aircraft fly when bad weather occurs.

A “weather diversion” may be requested by a pilot in order to avoid storm cells, heavy rain and dangerous cloud formations. Sometimes this bad weather is not evident on-shore but it can be detected many nautical miles away out to sea by the sophisticated weather radar systems used in modern jets.

Bad weather on and off the coast

In Sydney, storms and rain cells frequently form off the coast, south of the airport as shown in the weather radar image above. Normally, after taking off over Botany Bay jet aircraft fly a considerable way out to sea before turning towards their destination. However when there is bad weather off the coast they will turn early, soon after departure, in order to avoid the area. This can result in departing jet aircraft flying over your suburb.

The difference between where aircraft may fly on bad weather days and where they usually fly is illustrated in the image below which shows actual tracks of aircraft. The pink tracks are from a normal day with no bad weather. The orange tracks are from the day depicted in the weather radar image above when there was considerable bad weather off the coast.

Actual tracks

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