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DiegoSS02
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In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:25 pm

As we all may have noted, every two months or so we get new stories on how an airplane faced overtly extreme turbulence and left passengers and crew injured after hitting the ceiling or cabin objects (see the recent Evelop MRU-MAD case). This has provided me a lot of food for thought on why is this becoming more and more common these years. Basically, I have two hypotheses: incidents like this happened throughout commercial aviation history, and we are just given this impression because of the increased information access of the 2010s; or there is an actual increase in extremely turbulent wind currents (probably because of climate change/global warming) that is causing flight to become bumpier.

So, in your opinion, are the frequency of this type of incidents just the impression caused product of increased press coverage on this age of information, or is flying going to become more turbulent and bumpy on this century, probably because of global warming/climate change?
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2383
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:44 pm

Flying has become less turbulent and bumpy over the years. Per the FAA, injuries due to turbulence in the US have trended down from 2008-now:

https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/ne ... wsId=20074

Any of us who flew much in the 1970's and 1980's will tell you that bumpiness and turbulence was much more common years ago than it is today. Most likely due to an increase in air travel resulting in more pilot reports, and better use of this data by airlines and ATC to avoid turbulence.

It looks like you have a political agenda with your post but the facts do not support you.
 
FriscoHeavy
Posts: 1593
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Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:13 am

DiegoSS02 wrote:
As we all may have noted, every two months or so we get new stories on how an airplane faced overtly extreme turbulence and left passengers and crew injured after hitting the ceiling or cabin objects (see the recent Evelop MRU-MAD case). This has provided me a lot of food for thought on why is this becoming more and more common these years. Basically, I have two hypotheses: incidents like this happened throughout commercial aviation history, and we are just given this impression because of the increased information access of the 2010s; or there is an actual increase in extremely turbulent wind currents (probably because of climate change/global warming) that is causing flight to become bumpier.

So, in your opinion, are the frequency of this type of incidents just the impression caused product of increased press coverage on this age of information, or is flying going to become more turbulent and bumpy on this century, probably because of global warming/climate change?


No, it hasn’t as IPFreely pointed out. Sorry, but questionable global warming isn’t the cause of every negative event that happens in today’s world.
Whatever
 
VSMUT
Posts: 2908
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:50 am

No, flying is not becoming more turbulent.

DiegoSS02 wrote:
Basically, I have two hypotheses: incidents like this happened throughout commercial aviation history, and we are just given this impression because of the increased information access of the 2010s; or there is an actual increase in extremely turbulent wind currents (probably because of climate change/global warming) that is causing flight to become bumpier.


You forgot one: There are more flights than ever before.

Didn't you ask this question once in the past already?


FriscoHeavy wrote:
No, it hasn’t as IPFreely pointed out. Sorry, but questionable global warming isn’t the cause of every negative event that happens in today’s world.


Warmer temperatures increase convective activity and water content in the air, making perfect conditions for CBs and TCUs. Global warming absolutely has been tied to an increase in those (both in severity and in number). It is why most of northern Europe is digging down massive new stormwater drains these years.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:57 am

The only reason it's becoming more common is because flying is becoming more common. The percentage of flights affected by turbulence didn't change, only the absolute number which has risen along with the number of flights in total.
 
paullam
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:08 am

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:06 pm

There are actually voices saying that flying has become more turbulent. This is not weather related though. However since our skies are getting more and more crowded as we speak, lower airspace is being used more often so the likelihood of experiencing turbulences increases as you can’t fly above clouds and bad weather.
So yes, maybe it has become more turbulent, just not weather related though.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:40 am

Quantify “more turbulent”; not “I think it’s more turbulent”; numbers. Engineering is done with numbers, no data, it’s just an opinion.

GF
 
Gr8Circle
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Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:58 pm

As someone who has flown extensively in the 70s and 80s, I can certainly say that flights back in those days used to encounter more turbulence than today.....sudden violent pockets of turbulence as well as sustained CAT, all very common back in those days.....maybe due to more sophisticated weather detection, better aircrafts and better air traffic control, flights are relatively smoother today.....also, in today's world, every little incident gets reported on mass media as well as social media.....back in the day, very few people other than those directly involved, would even come to know of any incident....
 
spacecadet
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:56 am

Yes, global warming is increasing turbulence. This is science; this is the way turbulence *works*. Here's just one of the several thousand articles you can read on the subject (with links to various scientific studies and explanations): https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/turbulence-increases/

All global weather - including turbulence - is caused by heating of the Earth's surface. As the Earth warms, so too do thermals that create convective activity increase. Convective activity is caused by heat from the ground being radiated into the air, and the hotter the Earth is at ground level, the more turbulence there will be aloft. This is even reflected in apps pilots use every day like Foreflight. The standard atmospheric lapse rate (the reduction in temperature as you climb) is about 2 degrees C per thousand feet in a standard atmosphere. Well, obviously if the ground is warmer, the lapse rate will be higher and the air less stable because all that hot air is moving up a lot quicker. Any time the lapse rate is greater than that 2 degrees per thousand feet, pilots know there will be turbulence. And that necessarily will happen, and is happening, more and more frequently as the Earth warms. If the Earth's surface gets 2 degrees C hotter on average, then you're *going* to get a corresponding increase in turbulence. There is no way around it.

Looking at the data on the number of injuries caused by turbulence is a non-sequitur - that just means more people are wearing their seat belts, which they didn't really used to do in the old days of flying. But actual turbulence is increasing, and will continue to increase. And this is not an opinion, nor is it an anecdote. It's the science of how climate and aviation weather work.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
bgm
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Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:37 am

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:12 am

FriscoHeavy wrote:
Sorry, but questionable global warming isn’t the cause of every negative event that happens in today’s world.


I guess you know better than environmental scientists around the world? :crazy: Climate change (the correct term) is as 'questionable' as Jon Stewart is 'unconstitutional' (FriscoHeavy imparting his priceless words of wisdom: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1312473#p18505941) ;)

Anyway...

Flights are a lot less turbulent than they used to be, but that's because there is better technology for pilots and ATC rerouting planes away from turbulent conditions. The only unavoidable one is CAT, which can't be detected. But as another poster said, the increase of PIREPs can help reduce the number of CAT incidents. From my anecdotal experience flying over the past 20 years, the number of turbulent flights has reduced significantly in both frequency and severity.
████ ███ █ ███████ ██ █ █████ ██ ████ [redacted]
 
timh4000
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:14 pm

Re: In your opinion, is flight becoming more turbulent and bumpy with time?

Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:33 am

I've been flying since 1983. I'm guessing I've flown around 60 times. I haven't noticed an increase from then till now. I've encountered heavy turbulence a few times and true severe turbulence once. It was during landing at PIT. The pilots had given us warning, the cabin was picked up and readied a bit early and the f/a's were instructed to take their seats. Being this was the age before mass internet, YouTube sensation, there were no actors or actresses playing it up. Just the occasional moan or grown during a particular heavy drop or rise. I think a few might have used their puke bags but for the most part we all just rode it out. We came out of the clouds around 2000, about the time the pilots dropped the gear. The actual last few minutes and the landing itself was typical. Otherwise I haven't noticed an increase in turbulence.

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