Turbulence Facts to Help You Relax

Whether you’re sitting back and relaxing, watching movie after movie or taking a nap, flying is such an efficient way to travel!  Even though flying saves time and is a logical method of transportation, everyone dreads turbulence.  When you have to use the restroom and suddenly see the seatbelt sign turn on, you know you’re in for a bumpy ride. 

Check out these five facts about in-flight turbulence that will help you relax the next time you see that seatbelt sign illuminated!

  1. When the fasten seatbelt sign turns on, buckle up.  The staff on the plane is not doing this to irritate you, but for your own safety.  Also, when you are seated it is always a good idea to have your seatbelt fastened even if the sign isn’t on!  Pilots always wear their seatbelts when they are seated, so it’s important that all passengers do too! 
  2. Certain geography in the United States naturally causes turbulence.  The Rocky Mountains create an environment that is less stable for flying.  Knowing this, it’s important to point out that flights are planned to avoid areas where substantial turbulence is expected to occur.  So even if the turbulence feels unbearable, this is the safest and least disruptive path of travel. There are specific jobs dedicated to planning flight routes!
  3. When a pilot sees moderate turbulence ahead he or she will slow down the speed of the plane.  The slower speed reduces the chance of damage to the plane and provides you with a more comfortable ride.
  4. Clear–air turbulence cannot be detected by typical aircraft radar systems.  The noses of planes now have light detection and ranging systems.  This technology gives pilots warnings of clear air turbulence.  Unlike other turbulence that can be detected from miles ahead, this might only be detected minutes ahead.  Once again, it is very important to fasten your seatbelt when you see the sign on!
  5. Technology is important when thinking about in-flight turbulence. Flight crews have satellites and advanced meteorologic technology; they continuously analyze flight conditions to give you the smoothest and most relaxing flight as possible.  Airlines are also testing technology using ultraviolet lasers to help airplanes avoid turbulence altogether!  

Pilots are trained to recognize turbulence and know how to handle it properly; that’s what they train for. Remember, you’re safer in a plane than you are in a car, so relax and let the professionals do their job!