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How Dangerous Is Turbulence  
User currently offlineRyanb741 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 3222 posts, RR: 15
Posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17526 times:

Many of us will have experienced moderate to severe turbulence at some time, but just how dangerous is it? I'm not talking about windshear etc, I'm referring in general to bumpy weather.

I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17487 times:

Depends on what type of dangerous we're talking about here. As far as breaking the airplane, theres almost nothing to worry about - I've only heard of a few incidents where an airplane has been severely damaged in turbulence. As far as the people in the airplane on the other hand, it can be quite dangerous. During severe turbulence, objects can be flying throughout the cabin (some of these objects being passengers and flight attendants!) If not buckled in securely, broken legs can be a quite high possibility.

User currently offlineEGGD From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 12443 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17481 times:

Turbulence is dangerous in only one way: CAT (clear air turbulence) This can bumb and jostle an aircraft severely and is not linked to any severe weather conditions.
It can bring down any size aircraft (eg the China Airlines Jumbo that was sent spiralling down to earth over california, although luckily in this case the pilot managed to recover from the dive)
Turbulence is not usually dangerous in storms - as radar and advanced weather/warning systems prevent an aircraft venturing into any severe weather.

I hope this has answered your question sufficently.

Regards EGGD

User currently offlineEricmetallica From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17471 times:

I guess you could call hitting a bump at 600kts and at 32,000ft dangerous, but it is easy for an airliner to take it.  Smile


User currently offlineIainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17463 times:

Wake turbulance is very dangerous, it is the type that other aircrafts generating lift create. If you get to close behind or underneath one, it can and will send you spiralling to the ground!

User currently offlineRyanb741 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 3222 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (14 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17442 times:

Thanks everybody. I kind of figured that turbulence was in general not overly dangerous due to the fact that it is so commonplace and the a/cs are built to withstand it, but I was curious as to whether or not certain atmospheric phenomena can cause grave danger to the a/c.

I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (14 years 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 17432 times:

Turbulence is also likely in the vicinity of mountain ranges due to Orographic uplift-thats air being deflected upwards by mountains.

It can sometimes be severe.

I have nothing to add to the above posts really, other than to say that unexpected turbulence can knock out the Autopilot, but the aircrew should be prepared for this by being buckled in and on standby.

Crew also generally reduce airspeed in turbulence to reduce stress on the wings and fuselage.

Quite irritating for the aircrew, and frightening for the pax.

User currently offlineStarship From South Africa, joined Nov 1999, 1098 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (14 years 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 17397 times:

I think you might find some worthwhile info in this previous topic on CAT (clear air turbulence)


Behind every "no" is a "yes"
User currently offlineWannaBpilot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (14 years 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 17365 times:

One incidence that resulted in disaster was a BOAC
B-707 taking off from Tokyo in 1966. The pilot elected to deviate from the normal flightpath to give the passengers a better view of Mt. Fuji. Due to high winds at the base of Mt. Fuji and the updrafts that resulted, the 707 hit severe turbulence, broke into several pieces, and crashed into the forest. All aboard lost their lives. I read about this crash in the book, Aviation Disasters, which included a photo of the plane taxiing before takeoff. Also present in this photo is a picture of a mangled DC-8 (forgot which airline) that had crash landed the night before with several lives lost. How ironic it was for the BOAC passengers to see the DC-8 wreckage before their fateful flight. Tragic.

Jeff in PHX

User currently offlineJETPILOT From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (14 years 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 17365 times:

Certain atmospheric conditions can contain severe turbulence.

Turbulence is considered severe when severe deviations in altitude and airspeed are encounterted. Severe turbulence is remotely encountered.

Some areas where severe turbulence may be encountered at cruising altitudes are in and around the jetstream, in the vicinity of fronts, and over the tops of thunderstorms.

Jetstream turbulence is usually more prevalent in winter as the jetstream is much stronger.

Very few people have really encounterd severe turbulence. As a pilot I have never encountered severe turbulence.

If a passenger tells you they have been in severe turbulence it was probably more like light to moderate. Most people think that light chop, not even considered turbulence, is classified as moderate turbulence.

Bottom line is that sever turbulence will scare the bejeezus out of you.

Moderate turbulence scares me. It's pretty violent.


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