Air turbulence flying

by Magdalena
(Krakow, Poland)

Turbulence Drawing

Turbulence Drawing

I have been researching the net to find some information but I didn't managed so I decided to write to you. Once I've read in the newspaper about something really interesting for me. It was an interview in which a guy described his flight from Europe to the US. There were really serious turbulences during the flight. As he said, it was the time of the year when the weather changes every year and the turbulences over the Pacific Ocean are really serious.

Cabin Crew (as he said) confirmed that information. And that's why I decided to ask you - is there really such a period in the year when flying over the Pacific Ocean
may be really annoying? If yes, when does it occur?

I would be very grateful for the reply.

With kind regards,
Magdalena S

Barry's Response - Magda:

Turbulence is air movement that normally cannot be seen. It arises from atmospheric pressures, jet streams, mountain waves, cold or warm fronts, orthunderstorms. Passangers and crew complain of a choppy feel during theflight and may get tossed about in severe cases.

Common causes are

1) Thermals - Heat from the sun makes warm rise and cold air sink.
2) Jet streams - Fast, high-altitude air currents change direction,
disturbing the nearby air where planes fly.
3) Mountains - Air passes over mountains and causes turbulence as it flows above the air on the other side. This one won't be the case over the Pacific.
4) Wake turbulence - from the plane itself
5) Microbursts - from storms.

The most common ones over the ocean should be 1, 2 and 5, depending on how high the plane is. As the jets usually fly above, say, 30,000 feet, they are likely affected most by the jet stream. Now in the autumn (October to December over the north Pacific) the jet stream sweeps southward, often covering large amounts of air space in a single day. This is an upper cold front and causes air to move in many directions, including vertical ones. This causes a passing plane to jar up and down suddenly.

This won't happen to every flight, but significantly more than at other times of the year. It's usually harmless, but annoying, as you say.

Good Luck

Magda's Response - Thanks a lot for your reply!

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Comments for Air turbulence flying

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Good One
by: khushe

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Very good
by: daggett

It's very important subject.It's give very good information about air turbulence.I think if you know everything about turbulence you will be less afraid.

From Barry - with that said, here is a bit of video coverage of a landing in potentially dangerous conditions:

Good one
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by: Anonymous

Nice Web page, not too fancy and easy to get round in. That "air turbulence" answer is going to be useful, my SO has never flown and we're going to the Midwest sometime soon. Since she figures most men are morons and don't know anything LOL, I'll quote this page and tell her it was written by a stewardess LOL!

I'm going to look round and see if there's more interesting stuff here, maybe I can find something about jazz rock or Nascar (my hobbies).

First Impressions
by: LiL LoNgMa

Well, this article is cool for people who like flying but for me I think I don't like it. Its kind of interesting but still I didn't continue reading. I'd prefer reading more. Maybe it would make my change my mind. I would like to find stuffs like tricks or stuffs like that.

Looks pretty good
by: Anonymous

The page looks good, the couple of typos give a bad first impression.
The info was good and complete, but I'm not going through the rest of the site, just not my sort of thing today. And If I were to search I'd look for info on particulate pollution.

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