Flying may be one of the safest means of transportation, but everyone who steps on a plane is uneasy on some level especially when it comes to turbulence strikes. Though generally harmless, this could be a terrifying experience.
Air planes travel on wind flow and most of the time it is smooth, making for an easy flight. Other times, turbulence are experienced which may cause a lot of discomfort and in rare cases injuries.
Some of the common causes of turbulence are waves on an ocean, currents from thunderclouds, and clear air turbulence from rapidly changing wind speed or direction. Clear air turbulence is the most dangerous type as its sudden appearance leaves little or no time for the flight crew to warn passengers to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts.
What you need to know about turbulence;
- It is normal and it doesn’t mean the plane is about to crash.
- Modern airplanes are designed to withstand a remarkable amount of turbulence. According to a pilot, Patrick Smith, on AskThePilot.com, “For all intent and purposes, a plane cannot be flipped upside-down, thrown into a tailspin, or otherwise flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust of air pocket. Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash… the level of turbulence required to dislodge an engine or bend a wing spar is something even the most frequent flyer or pilot won’t experience in a lifetime of travelling”.
- The Pilot is ready for it. Pilots or ground support can often spot turbulent air on the radar, giving them time to slow the plane down to “turbulence penetration speed”.
- Wear your seatbelt. Due to the rise of clear air turbulence, the way of preventing turbulence-related injuries is to keep your seatbelt fastened whenever the sign is switched on. Most of those injured during turbulence are those not wearing their seatbelts. 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. Lap children are the most vulnerable to turbulence related injuries: Violent motion could make the kid fly out of your arms; this is why airlines provide extension belts to parents. Flying with a car seat is the safest way to fly with a baby.