It’s quite easy to see why people might be afraid of flying. If you don’t know or understand the mechanics of an airplane or flight, it would be hard to believe that a giant hunk of metal soaring through the air is safe. Plus, other things such as fear of heights or claustrophobia would just increase that uneasiness.
Another factor is a lack of control, once you’re in a plane and it takes off, you’re pretty much stuck until the flight is over. You don’t get that with other modes of transportation. Getting carsick? You can get out whenever you want, you can’t do that in a plane.
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So if you’re already afraid of flying, a few bumps during a flight could turn even a little bit of nervousness into a full-out panic attack. But don’t fret, the best way to battle your fears is to understand them. Because once you get to know the truth behind turbulence, it won’t seem that scary.
So, here is everything you need to know about turbulence.
What is turbulence?
Turbulence is one of the most common causes of anxiety for people, and yet it’s very rarely a cause of concern to the pilots, and usually just an unpleasant inconvenience.
But what is it? Well simply put, turbulence is a sudden change in the airflow. And while it can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common one is turbulent air in the atmosphere.
Types of turbulence
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Turbulence comes in many different forms, and of those, there some that can be perceived by a majority of commercial airplanes, and others that are undetectable. Here are the following types:
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If your airplane ever finds itself in a thunderstorm or heavy rain showers, you will likely face convective turbulence. It’s the result of powerful updrafts and downdrafts caused by the storms themselves.
Clear Air Turbulence
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Also known as CAT, is an unexpected harsh turbulence that occurs in cloudless regions and causes fierce battering of the aircraft. It usually occurs at fairly high altitudes of 20k feet or above and is normally found near jet streams.
Additionally, it can also happen when strong winds blow through mountain ranges.
Low Level Thermals
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Your plane is likely to face low level thermal turbulence if flies at low altitudes during hot days. It’s basically hot air that rises from the ground.
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Unlike the others, wake turbulence doesn’t occur naturally, it’s actually caused by other aircrafts as they pass through the air.
Why you shouldn’t be afraid of turbulence
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All aircrafts face turbulence, but don’t be afraid, as 80% of turbulence that a commercial airplane faces are light and of no cause for concern.
Plus, pilots are more than capable of avoiding turbulence whenever the chance arises, as they have the tools and knowledge to identify areas where turbulence may be prevalent.
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To sum it up, most turbulence that commercial aircrafts face are light and inconsequential, and modern pilots have a wide range of tools at their disposal such as weather reports that make avoid dangerous ones all the easier.