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April 2013

Cloud of the Month for April 2013

April 2013

A Fiery Brazilian Beauty

The Cloud of the Month for April was photographed over Brazil by Pilot Ron Engels from the flight deck, en route from Amsterdam to Lima. It shows a majestic vista of castle-like towering Cumulus and Cumulonimbus clouds extending for miles ahead. A pilot must plot his route carefully to find a safe passage through these cloudy battlements. You might think that, unlike real castle turrets, the ephemeral clouds wouldn’t present many problems for an airliner, but clouds like these have to be avoided at all costs. They contain violent up- and downdrafts of air that can flip a plane like a pancake. As the author G. K. Chesterton wrote, “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds”.

Photograph © Ron Engels.

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