During the front of a main of two cold frontage passage yesterday, there was a PIREP issued for a flight about 30 nm NE of our airport who reported 'being sucked up' into the cb, approximately 1000 feet per minute. Is the general rule of thumb 500 feet / minute for climb or descent?
For non-pressurized aircraft, the "comfort" rule of thumb when carrying passengers who are not accustomed to the pressure change is for the pilot to keep descents around 500 fpm or lower, if possible. This descent rate results in a more gradual change in pressure, which gives these unaccustomed passengers a better chance to equalize.
For pressurized aircraft, such as the large jets, it is common for them to climb and descend at 2000-4000 fpm at lower altitudes. Comfort is a non-issue, since the cabin pressure is slowly brought up to about 8,000 feet above sea level and then remains at that pressure.
Regarding 1000 fpm climb rate around a CB, I am underwhelmed. Many books I have read about updrafts and downdrafts inside CBs can be as high as the 3,000 to 5,000 fpm range.
On a very cold day two years ago, I was able to get a 1,200 fpm climb rate out of a Cessna 172 SP (180hp engine) and in the Bonanza I now fly, that climb rate is routine.