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Buyantukhaa
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Maximum Altitude Of Turbulence?

Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:24 pm

The other day I was wondering how far up you need to go in order not to have turbulence anymore. The higher you go, the lower air density, and there for the lower the turbulence effects in absolute terms. However, since your wing load is lower, in relative terms it could always be there, right? So presumably you only stop noticing it once you enter orbit and wing lift ceases to be the main force counteracting gravity.

That's the theory (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), but how does it work in reality? Obviously a Space Shuttle in orbit won't notice anything, but what would be the limit? Would Concorde often experience turbulence at cruising altitude? If yes, did it feel different from regular turbulence? Storm cells occasionally go up to FL550 (or more?), I seem to remember Concorde would cruise up to FL600.

Just curious, hopefully some people with experience can enlighten.
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beakerltn
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RE: Maximum Altitude Of Turbulence?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:29 pm

I remember people saying that Concorde flew 'above the turbulence', but I'm not sure at what level it stopped.
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Bellerophon
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RE: Maximum Altitude Of Turbulence?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:20 pm

BuyantUkhaa

...I was wondering how far up you need to go in order not to have turbulence anymore...

I don't know, but certainly a long way above FL600 to be sure of not encountering turbulence,


...Would Concorde often experience turbulence at cruising altitude?...

Not often. Turbulence at cruising altitudes on Concorde was rare, but it did happen, from time to time.


...If yes, did it feel different from regular turbulence?...

No, not really.

One quirk of Concorde was that the worst place to sit in turbulence was the flight deck, where you were bounced around much more than in the passenger cabin, where the ride was much more stable.

It could feel like you were sitting on the end of a tuning fork in the flight deck, mainly due to the shape and construction of the airframe, which became very rigid aft of the point at which the leading edge of the wings joined the fuselage!

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Bellerophon
 
26point2
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RE: Maximum Altitude Of Turbulence?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:54 pm

It's more than just a/c being certified to fly above most of the turbulence.

Many biz jets are certified to FL510 but do not normally operate that high due to "Coffin Corner". Performance is marginal and dangerously near both over speed and stall speed.

In any case a pilot would get above the mid 40's only if the air was very smooth. Turbulence decreases wing performance and if near the low speed limit things could get exciting.

Our aircraft is certified to FL510 but we fly FL450 Eastbound and FL430 Westbound.
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Maximum Altitude Of Turbulence?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:43 pm

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 2):
One quirk of Concorde was that the worst place to sit in turbulence was the flight deck, where you were bounced around much more than in the passenger cabin, where the ride was much more stable.

I see, makes sense, very interesting!

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 3):
Many biz jets are certified to FL510 but do not normally operate that high due to "Coffin Corner".

Yes, see the Pulkovo crash (which was not a biz jet, but got too high in/due to turbulence)
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