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Flying Down Under/ITCZ: Is The Turbulence Bad?  
User currently online777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2480 posts, RR: 3
Posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8805 times:

Mrs. 777fan and I are set to take our long awaited jaunt down under (from HNL to SYD via LAX). I regularly monitor the ADDS-turbulence and various satellite images ahead of traveling and can't help but notice some huge convective formations in the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) that appear all but unavoidable on a flight between LAX and SYD.

Mrs. 777fan and I aren't too hot with moderate (and above) turbulence, particularly on overwater redeye flights. That said, how rough is it when flying through the ITCZ? I've read some brief snippets in TRs but am lookiing for any insight from those that regularly fly between hemispheres.

Thanks!
777fan


DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2948 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8797 times:

Of course every flight is different, and it depends on the day and the weather conditions, but I don't recall the turbulence being any worse on LAX-SYD (and return) than on any other transoceanic flight. The flight is long enough and will pass through enough different areas of weather that the odds are the seatbelt sign will be on at some point or another, but I don't think you have anything in particular to worry about. Mostly I remember those flights being long and boring with very little to look at out the windows. Who knows, after 10 hours or so you might find yourself wishing for some bumps just to liven things up a bit.  Smile

I don't love turbulence either (actually, I hate it!), but I've learned that it doesn't help to overthink it. I used to look at weather forecasts to try and figure out if my flights would be smooth or not, and most of the time I was wrong. Turbulence is very hard to predict, but keep in mind that most flight crews don't enjoy being jostled around either, and will do their best to find a smooth ride for you. If that's not possible, know that as long as you keep your seatbelt on when indicated, there's really no danger.

Enjoy your trip--you'll have a great time!



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlineBrenintw From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8761 times:

I fly between hemispheres at least twice a year -- sometimes more often -- and I can't say I've ever had any really bad turbulence. It does get rough around the equator, but no more rough then it does when moving from flying over the ocean to over land ...

The worst turbulence I've ever been in was flying from LGA to LAX ...

Enjoy SYD, it's a wonderful city to visit!



I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlineJoge From Finland, joined Feb 2000, 1443 posts, RR: 40
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8750 times:

The turbulence at the eastern coast, or at least between BNE and SYD, are most of the times present and you can really feel it. I would say pretty much anywhere around the Pacific the winds get very strong and gusty from time to time.

You may also want to have a look at this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream

-Joge

[Edited 2006-11-08 05:07:40]


Bula!
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8740 times:

I have flown, numerous time, the LAX-SYD segment. Turbulence isn't really a big deal. The ITCZ is not a very bad place for turbulence and deviations around CBs are pretty easy and normal to get. The CB's normally are pretty short lived since there are no upper level steering winds. They normally just sit there and empty themselves out and dissapate.

The other nice thing is as you head south the TROP FL increases, so turbulence is less of a factor. In the mid to upper latitudes the trop normally starts to decrease to the usual FLs that transports use. That's where I've experienced the worst turbulence. If you want to scope out the upper level conditons, just look at where the TROP is and avoid by +/- 2000' and you'll be just fine.


User currently offlineVikingA346 From Sweden, joined Oct 2006, 515 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8738 times:

I flew from LAX-SYD in July and didn't experience anything out of the ordinary. However, i've been on some flights over the pacfic that have been dreadful - several hundred foot drops according to the pilot.

I guess its the luck of the draw on the particular day. Usually the flight crew are well informed on areas of turbulence and bad weather and do all they can to avoid it. The only way to be sure you'll avoid it is not to get on the plane.

You'll be fine - although it is uncomfortable - its part of flying.

Also, can you provide your source on this?

Quoting 777fan (Thread starter):
I regularly monitor the ADDS-turbulence and various satellite images

I'm curious to check it out myself as I will be flying AKL-LAX in a couple weeks.



...you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you shall return
User currently online777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2480 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8709 times:

Quoting VikingA346 (Reply 5):
I'm curious to check it out myself as I will be flying AKL-LAX in a couple weeks.

Here you go:

(US turbulence forecast, SIGMETs and PIREPs):
http://adds.aviationweather.gov/turbulence/

(UNISYS satellite images - use GOES-W for the Eastern Pacific):
http://weather.unisys.com/satellite/sat_ir_enh_us_loop.html


777fan



DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8414 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 8664 times:
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Every time I fly between South Africa and Europe the Captain warns of turbulence over the equator before you even leave the ground. Unfortunately it isn't something that can be predicted, sometimes there is nothing, sometimes the plane shakes badly for what seems like hours. It has never been worse than turbulence I once experienced flying LHR-DUS though, so bad turbulence can occur anywhere.


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7320 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8632 times:

I fly LAX-SYD 4 times a year. The only turbulence ive every really noticed is closer to Australia and New Zealand, but it still isnt anything to write home about. The last time I flew down there and back were some of the smoothest transoceanic flights ive ever had. It just depends, conditions change frequently. Its really just luck of the draw. The way I figure, about 1 out of 12 or so flights will have some significant turbulence, but even then most of the time its over in a matter of minutes or even seconds.

On a related note, would someone comment on the turbulence conditions on flights on the polar routes? On Asian routes from the west coast, they mostly go over Alaska and can get a bit choppy (but not too bad) but ive never taken a polar flight so im curious.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8616 times:

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 8):
On a related note, would someone comment on the turbulence conditions on flights on the polar routes? On Asian routes from the west coast, they mostly go over Alaska and can get a bit choppy (but not too bad) but ive never taken a polar flight so im curious.

Polar routes are, for the most part, very smooth. There isn't the jet stream a those latitudes (normally). The Transpac flights cut right accross the jet and are at just the same level as the Trop is during the winter time. Those two factors make is a real ride sometimes.

Depending on the company, some flight plans have the vertical wind shear. The higher the shear, the worse the turbulence. It's generally expressed as an number from 0-10 with 0 being no shear and 10 being the worst. It takes into account the change in velocity and direction/1000'.


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21415 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8593 times:

IIRC, the turbulence is worse in the North Pacific, near Alaska, and you hit it a lot going to NRT and HKG. That is my personal experience as well. Only flown to SYD and back once, but don't recall any bad turbulence. I do recall awful turbulence from Ayers Rock to Adelaide, however.

I'm taking the LAX-SYD trip on QF in a few weeks, so I guess I'll find out.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineNzrich From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 1515 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 8535 times:

I have flown more syd-lax and akl-lax sectors as crew for air nz and there really is no difference in turbulence on those routes to any other really ..on the whole most of mine have been pretty smooth of course there are exceptions to every rule .. But on the whole its been fine dont worry and enjoy the flight..


"Pride of the pacific"
User currently offlineJetSetter001 From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 8481 times:

The turbulences aren´t that bad on the LAX-SYD segment. The worst turbulences I have experienced and always experience when travelling that route is Europe-SIN/BKK/KUL (and return) over Nepal. It gets really bumpy and you drop several feet. But for me, I like these turbulences, especially when you sit there for hours and are bored, they are a nice change  Wink

User currently offlineEasternSon From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 666 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 8453 times:

Quoting JetSetter001 (Reply 12):
especially when you sit there for hours and are bored, they are a nice change

I totally agree. I've done LAX-SYD and return twice. The turbulence isn't that bad, save for a couple of really bad bumps along the way, but it isn't constant.

However, when it does come, I actually welcome it. It makes me feel like we're actually going someplace. It's usually dark outside the plane, so there's nothing to look at. The video monitors show nothing but blue ocean surrounding the plane for hours on end, and it makes you think you're just sitting still over the Pacific. Turbulence reminds you that you're moving.

Have a great time in Sydney, it's an incredible town.



"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
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