Flight Turbulence: Just How Dangerous Is It Anyway?

flight turbulenceThe jury is still out on a recent study that says a result of climate change could take fliers on a bumpy ride. Scientists think passengers on transatlantic vectors could experience more unexpected ups and downs, the leading cause of in-flight injury, but agree that more study is needed. But just how dangerous is flight turbulence anyway?

Unexpected turbulence, called “clear air turbulence,” can be surprising when it hits an aircraft before the “fasten seat belt” sign lights up. But aircraft are built to take it and some even know what to do with it.

“Aircraft are built to withstand a 2.5g force load without even any minor damage and, as it is rare for a storm to generate a force that exceeds 1g load on an aircraft, there is no risk,” write the editors of TravelMole pulling from interviews they had with Boeing and the British Airline Pilots Association.

Still, whether caused by invisible air currents that flow over mountains or a natural part of the jet stream, experts agree that the particular aircraft flown can make a big difference when turbulence strikes.

“To ensure the most comfortable ride, it’s best to fly on the largest, most modern aircraft as these are designed to lessen the impact of turbulence on passengers,” concluded TravelMole.When Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner gets back in the air, it may be the aircraft to be on. Like other new aircraft, the 787 is equipped with a system to read the air in front of it, compensating for anticipated turbulence for a smoother ride.

Want to know more about that study? This video breaks it down:




[Photo credit - Flickr user mstephens7]