How does turbulence occur on aircrafts, and is it dangerous?
Meet family Meier, up in the air and excited, on their way to a fantastic holiday full of sunshine, fun, and relaxation. But suddenly, the whole plane starts to shake. The kids get scared and think it'll crash. Their parents calm them down and explain that these vibrations called turbulence are normal and caused by the irregular motion of airflows. Although it may feel scary, it's completely harmless. And usually, turbulence is over quickly, just like now.
Flight attendant Olivia overhears the family's conversation and is happy to share her knowledge. She explains that planes, especially their wings, are designed to be flexible. This way, they're able to withstand high forces and won't break due to turbulence.
Additionally, there are three types of turbulence. The first one is thermal turbulence, created by rising air like cumulus clouds or thunderstorms. Mechanical turbulence, however, depends on landscape and obstacles. Along mountains, for example, strong up-and-down winds rise. Olivia mentions that proceeding planes cause mechanical turbulence, too. That's why the pilot had to wait a few minutes before taking off. The third type of turbulence is triggered by wind shears, such as when flying in or out of a jet stream. This has been the case just now.
Olivia stresses that there's nothing to worry about. The cockpit crew constantly checks the weather radar for thunderstorm zones. Furthermore, flight controllers inform crews about possible turbulence after getting messages from other planes. So, usually the pilot recognizes turbulence early and is able to fly around it or forewarn passengers.
The family Meier listens carefully. The kids ask what happens if the cockpit crew can't foresee turbulence. Olivia explains that sometimes, unpredictable clear air turbulences occur, since there are always different airflows. But overall, turbulence usually is not strong. There are four levels: light, moderate, severe, and extreme turbulence. Severe and extreme types occur very rarely. When passengers keep their seat belts fastened throughout the whole flight, nothing can happen at all.
Greatly reassured, the kids and their parents enjoy the rest of the flight and a safe landing. Now, their vacation can begin.
- 「使...平靜、鎮定下來」- Calm Down
Their parents calm them down and explain that these vibrations called turbulence are normal and caused by the irregular motion of airflows.
- 「因為、由於」- Due To
This way, they're able to withstand high forces and won't break due to turbulence.
- 「起飛」- Take Off
That's why the pilot had to wait a few minutes before taking off.