What is Flight Turbulence and How to Deal With it
It’s a well-known fact that many people are afraid of flying and one of the main reasons why passengers are scared of flights is turbulence. Although the stats show that flying in an airplane is much safer than driving a car, many passengers feel uneasy during flights, especially when there is turbulence. Educating passengers about turbulence and what causes it can be helpful in the long-run and even help people overcome their fear of flying.
What Causes Flight Turbulence?
Turbulence in airplanes can be caused by different things and all pilots are trained to deal with each and every one. Turbulence may also seem uncomfortable, but passengers should know that it is not dangerous and there is no reason for fear. There are several types of air turbulence and one of the most common forms is called Clear Air Turbulence or CAT. Many airplanes fly high enough and manage to minimize turbulence, but sometimes it is inevitable to pass through areas of known turbulence. There are also other types of turbulence during flights that are caused by bad weather, crossing a mountain range, or in close proximity to other planes. Luckily, most of them are easy to detect beforehand and passengers are advised in advance.
Is Flight Turbulence Dangerous?
Flight turbulence is rarely dangerous and the statistics show that most of the passengers who get injured during turbulence don’t have their seatbelts on. This is why it is important to wear a seatbelt when there are reports of turbulence in the air and when the flight attendants ask you to stay in your seats. Most pilots have years of experience and are trained to deal with turbulence, so there is no reason to worry. Planes are built to withstand turbulence!
Classification of Flight Turbulence
There is an official classification of turbulence that is divided into three main categories: light, moderate, and severe flight turbulence. For those who have a fear of flying, even light turbulence can be uncomfortable, but on the other hand for pilots, light turbulence is nothing special and perfectly normal.
Pilots are also used to moderate turbulence that can last around 15 minutes, but this kind of turbulence can seem scary even to regular passengers. It may cause drinks to spill, so make sure to have your seatbelt on during moderate turbulence.
Those who have a fear of flying will be happy to know that severe turbulence is quite rare. For example, statistics show that a pilot who has over 10,000 hours of flight time has experienced severe turbulence for not more than 5 minutes total in their flying career. This type of turbulence is so rare that even business people who travel a lot never experience it.
Handling Flight Turbulence
In most cases, passengers should just follow directions from flight attendants during turbulence and keep their seatbelt on. By doing this, passengers can avoid injuries and leave the airplane without a scratch. Even when it’s safe to have the seatbelt off during flights, travelers should know that unexpected turbulence can occur sometimes and should remain in their seats with their seatbelts on.
Here are a couple of tips that passengers may find useful during flights:
For those who are afraid of light turbulence it would be best to choose a seat close to the center of the airplane. Turbulence can be felt more in the back of the airplane and around the wings. Using the bathroom before the takeoff is also a smart move to make. Try to avoid coffee or tea during the flight, and order water or some juice instead. It is important to stay calm in turbulence, relax your muscles, and practice breathing. Passengers can find ways to distract themselves from the turbulence by reading a book, talking to other travelers, or listening to music.
Traveling by airplane is safe and there are constant improvements in airplane technology and in the training of pilots, so there is no reason to worry. Of course, it is perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous. Locate areas of known turbulence by visiting MyFlight Forecast