Turbulence


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Whatever the circumstances, your pilot will find the most comfortable path to your destination without compromising your safety. Just like you, we experience the movement and would prefer a smoother ride. Patrick Smith: Predicting the where, when, and how much of turbulence is more of an art than a science. We take our cues from weather charts, radar returns, and, most useful of all, real-time reports from other aircraft. The same applies to jet streams on any given route, although there is generally more chance of turbulence crossing the ITCZ Intertropical Convergence Zone when flying south across Africa, for example.

Flights over mountain ranges and through certain frontal boundaries will also get the cabin bells dinging, as will transiting a jet stream boundary.


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But now and then it's totally unforeseen. You just don't know. Because turbulence is so unpredictable, I am known to provide annoying noncommittal answers when asked about how best to avoid it. Patrick Smith: Ah, now that one I can work with.

While it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, the smoothest place to sit is over the wings, nearest to the plane's centres of lift and gravity. The roughest spot is usually the far aft - the rearmost rows closest to the tail. It was the kind of turbulence people tell their friends about. It came out of nowhere and lasted several minutes, and was bad enough to knock over carts in the galleys.

2. Turbulence-related injuries do happen—but rarely.

During the worst of it, to the sound of crashing plates, I recalled an email. A reader had asked me about the displacement of altitude during times like this. How many feet is the plane actually moving up or down, and side to side. I kept a close watch on the altimeter. Fewer than 40 feet, either way, is what I saw.

Ten or 20 feet, if that, most of the time. Any change in heading - the direction our nose was pointing - was all but undetectable. I imagine some passengers saw it differently: "We dropped like 3, feet in two seconds! You're liable to imagine pilots in a sweaty lather: the captain barking orders, hands tight on the wheel as the ship lists from one side to another.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, one of the worst things a pilot could do during strong turbulence is try to fight it. The definitions are laid down in our manuals and help us to make an assessment as to what our course of action should be. For the fearful flyer, even light turbulence can be upsetting. For pilots, light turbulence is no different to a bumpy road for a taxi driver or a slightly uneven section of track for a train driver — a small, but totally safe, inconvenience and very much part of our daily lives.

In light turbulence, the aircraft may be deviating by just a few feet in altitude.

Many of those injured are the flight crew , who were probably walking around the plane telling passengers to put on their safety belts. When the pilot or flight crew suggests that you wear your seatbelt whenever you are in your seat, they are trying to keep you safe in case of clear-air turbulence, which causes most turbulence-related injuries. As the planet heats up due to global warming, some scientists believe that turbulence will become more common and stronger. A report published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that in the coming years, climate change could increase turbulence strength by 10 percent to 40 percent, and turbulence frequency could jump by 40 percent to percent, which will make it very hard to sleep on trans-Atlantic flights.

"People hit the ceiling": 35 injured when Air Canada flight hits severe turbulence

Luckily researchers are developing new software and laser-based technology that could help airplanes avoid turbulence altogether. What Exactly is Turbulence?

By Melissa Locker Updated: April 06, A report published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that in the coming years, climate change could increase turbulence strength by 10 percent to 40 percent, and turbulence frequency could jump by 40 percent to percent, which will make it very hard to sleep on trans-Atlantic flights.

Luckily researchers are developing new software and laser-based technology that could help airplanes avoid turbulence altogether.

Turbulence - SKYbrary Aviation Safety

What Exactly is Turbulence? By Melissa Locker Updated: April 06, Pin FB ellipsis More. Close Share options. Close View image.

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