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Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 6:06 am

It seems most of the flights I'm on get at least a little bumpy at some point. I find myself wondering how airlines in the old days managed to provide such elaborate meal service and have passengers hang out in lounges without them ending up on the ceiling. Was there less turbulence back then, or did people just take their chances? Or, were the lounges not really used much in real life, and just shown with posed models in marketing photos? I, for one, don't see how you could stand around a piano in the back of a 747 going through turbulence!
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 6:21 am

I guess its because aircraft fly higher today. The higher the plane is, the rougher the air, or at least I think so. I say this because about three weeks ago I flew on an MD-80 from MEX to HMO, and then a Saab 340 from HMO to TUS. Even though the weather was perfect at HMO and its surroundings, the cruise on the MD-80 was a lot bumpier at 35000 feet than the cruise on the much smaller and unstable Saab 340 at 19000 feet. I figure old propliners must have flown at similar altitudes as the Saab 340, and unless there was nasty wether, it was probably smoother. I can be wrong on this, so please correct me if I am.

Anyway, the real question for me is how did those propliners manage to fly at such altitude during nasty weather, if they did fly. On a modern aircraft, if there is some nasty clouds or thunderstorms during cruise, you are flying so high that the most likely thing to happen is that you will fly over them, or at least dodge the clouds. But if you are flying lower?
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 6:31 am

In fact, you (relatively speaking) rarely get turbulence above 25000 feet. That's not to say that it doesn't happen, and most of us have experienced it at some point.

The main reason for changing from the "lounge" style is crash worthiness requirements, and the desire to cram in as many people as possible.
The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 7:09 am

There has been a higher incidence of turbulence, due to crowded skies. Remember that there are specific airlanes which everyone has to fly in (until free flight comes along...whenever it does) and so the more planes there are in the airlanes, the less places there are to move when nasty air is around.

I here it is particularly bad over the north atlantic--when turbulent air is there, planes are simply forced to keep their current position since so many other air craft are vying for space.
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 8:52 am

I find it hard to believe that turbulence above 25000 is rare. On every flight that I have ever been on, we have experienced some type of chop during cruise.
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 9:24 am

Ok, let's stop the guessing and get to facts:

1) The thinner the air, the less the turbulence. Thus at higher altititudes, where the air is thinner, the less likelinhood of weather turbulence. Just because you had a rough experience on one flight, Cx340, it does not make it the rule for all flights!

2) The colder the air, the less turbulence. Hot, humid air disturbs the weather. The higher you fly, the colder the air. Now don't start telling me that there is no turblence during a blizzard. Of course there is!

3) Turbulence as we experience it in today's jets (and alos in today's pressurized props) is not compararble to the unpressurized aircarft of yesteryear, which usually flew below 12,000 feet. Pax were subjected to vibrations, buffetting, and loud noise. I don't know how they used the luzury facilities, as the original poster here aksed! Today, we often hear pax talking about how sever the turbelence is when in reality it is often classified as "light turbulence."

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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 10:28 am

Only flew in an airplane with a lounge twice; a DC-7C and a DC-10. Forget the DC-10; all it was was a stand up bar back near the aft restrooms. The DC-7 was quite nice and had a large "U" shaped sofa, with small tables for drinks, at the rear of the cabin that could seat 10 to 15 people and all of the seating positions had seatbelts. Turbulence didn't seem to be any different then, after weather radar became commonplace. Prior to weather radar the deviations around turbulent areas had to be much larger. The slower airspeeds meant that chop felt less choppy.
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 10:40 am

It is hard to generalize where there is more or less turbulence. At lower altitudes there is turbulence caused by things such as the wind over terrain, buildings, etc. There is also turbulence caused by thermal activity. Both of these types of turbulence are most prevalent at low altitudes although they can occur at quite high altititudes. Frequently the turbulence you feel at higher altitudes is associated with the jetstream. Some of the most severe or persistant turbulence is sometimes at higher altitudes although if you climb up above the tropopause you will rarely encounter turbulence up there.
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RE: Turbulence "Back In The Day"

Fri May 10, 2002 11:35 am

Hmmm, well folks there are alot of different variables that come into play here and to say the higher you are the less turbulence you get is false. Last night enroute to YYZ, we started to get moderate chop at 410 pretty much all the way from YQT till top of decent. Everything below us was getting the crap kicked out of them.

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