A terrorist mage cast a thunderstorm spell. Unfortunately, a commercial airliner was the target of said spell, which spawned the storm right around the aircraft.

The aircraft itself is a large modern jet, with double decks and four engines. While it doesn’t have any countermeasures like anti-terrorist mages, it has the advantage of being at its cruising altitude of approximately 10,668 meters (35,000feet) and being at its cruising speed of 1050km/h (652.43mp/h). The plane can’t just outclimb the thunderstorm, its top reaches up to 18,288 meters (60,000feet). The storm is a multi cell cluster, with wind speeds reaching up to 89km/h (55mp/h).

Fortunately, the storm only seems to affect the outside of the plane, so the cabin won’t be full of water vapor, suddenly depressurize, instantly drop to freezing etc.

This is kind of a last ditch spell for the mage because the mana consumption would actually kill them. So a situation like the aircraft getting out of the storm only to enter another one won’t happen.

Can the airline bring its people back home safely without any consequences? Would the plane sustain some light damage? Or is everyone going to die?

  • $\begingroup$ Roughly how long will it remain in the thunder cloud for? $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Apr 20 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy I’d say 5 minutes at the shortest, 20 minutes at the worst $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Apr 20 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ That mage is going to get no respect at all in Guantanamo. "You couldn't get it to blow up spectacularly at the airport in front of thousands? You had to hide it in a dark thundercloud where nobody could see the folks die." $\endgroup$ – user535733 Apr 20 at 14:18

As suggested in this answer on Aviation.SE

If you're flying through a thunderstorm, lightning is the least of your concerns. Airplanes are struck by lightning all the time, and while it may mess with your electronics (navigation, radio, etc.), it very rarely causes any more damage than that. But to answer the second part of your question, there's no one place in a thunderstorm that has any more or less chance of lightning than any other.

The big issue with flying through a thunderstorm is with the wind. There's a lot of vertical air movement in thunderstorms, and the wind shear can easily cause structural damage to your aircraft if you're not very careful (and sometimes the wind can damage or destroy aircraft even if you are careful. And that's leaving out other dangers, such as hail. Thunderstorms are not good places to fly).

The accepted method for flying in a thunderstorm is to fly straight through (as most thunderstorms are small enough that going straight gets you out of it faster than turning around) at less than your maneuvering speed (to minimize the chance of structural damage to your wings), accepting any changes of altitude (again, to minimize stress on your wings).

Therefore, with the needed skills from the crew and a good dose of luck it is possible that the airplane will manage to get through the storm. I won't bet on nobody seeing once more their breakfast, but I guess that's an acceptable thing when crossing through such a thing.

As I noted, 20 minutes at 1050 km/h account for 350 km, which for a storm seems to be a pretty large extension. It's about the distance between Paris and Antwerpen.

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent answer. Now the worst-case scenario is setting the storm using the plane as foci. The poor plane will be always in the storm for the duration of the spell. $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Apr 20 at 14:57

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