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  • That aircraft turbulence incident
  • FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    From what I understand the captain managed to very quickly put an announcement out for people to put seatbelts on , but unfortunately there wasn’t enough warning to prevent injury. Apparently the aircraft dropped 6,000ft out of the sky 😳.

    How do they know they are going to hit massive wind shear? I can’t imagine that shows up on weather radar ?

    I imagine general turbulence can be predicted based on weather patterns, but this was something else.

    BoardinBob
    Full Member

    6000ft🤮

    That must’ve been horrific. Amazed only one person died

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    For some reason I think it may be radar.

    I’m picking my daughter* up at lunch time….. she will know (cabin crew), but someone will answer before then.

    I always have my belt [loosely] on when I’m sat down.

    * Apparently lots of people ignore the turbulence warnings and she loves the opportunity to shout at them!

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    It’s amazing how bad turbulence can actually be – most people feel a few bumps and shudders and say “ooh, it was really bad turbulence…” without realising that’s nothing compared to what could happen. 🤯

    We took off from Manchester a few weeks ago in bad weather, was one of the worst takeoffs I’ve ever experienced. Plane was bouncing around badly as the runway disappeared sideways below us in the crosswind and pouring rain.

    Knowing that even that was minor stuff and within take off limits is sobering stuff when you see what it could have been.

    cobrakai
    Full Member

    I’m not saying the incident wasn’t horrific, but the figure of 6000ft of descent (over 5 min) isn’t the main issue. When holding, Aircraft usually descend at 500/1000ft a min and you don’t notice. Normal descent is usually between 1000 and 1500.

    The issue was the aircraft dropped a couple of 100ft initially which would’ve caused the injuries.

    konagirl
    Free Member

    From conversations years ago, I believe pilots should report clear air turbulence at different severity – based on measurements like how far dropped / sideways movement or airspeed change) and that is mapped and warnings sent to/via ATC for particularly active regions of convection. Obviously if there is big convective thunderstorms you can see by radar or see the anvil forming, pilots will actively change course, manually flying if needed, to avoid. For this flight it looks like it lost lift although it might have hit a downdraft.

    longdog
    Free Member

    The first time I ever flew was in a small 4 seater thing, we went through what was probably minor turbulence, for a big plane, but not for that, it was like been violently shaken about with people hitting the outside of the plane with sledge hammers.

    That was a little bit scary, it would have been absolutely terrifying for those poor people, dropping 6000ft in 3 minutes from what I heard reported.

    RustyNissanPrairie
    Full Member

    I had similar in Pakistan on a PIA internal flight to Lahore over a mountain range. It was a Fokker propeller plane that was leaking oil on the runway as I boarded it, when it suddenly plummeted for what seemed ages I just presumed a wing had fallen off.

    I drove back to Islamabad.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    but the figure of 6000ft of descent (over 5 min)

    Ah I wasnt aware of that. From the convo I heard it was one huge drop followed by much smaller bits of turbulence but that was passenger recollection, not the flight deck

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    A club mate was flying in the Caribbean last year when they hit horrendous turbulence, diverted to Miami and several passengers had broken bones.

    They’d just served a meal as well…

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    I always have my seatbelt on when sat down, there really is no good reason to not do this. Although it was reported yesterday that this incident happened at end of night flight so lots of people up and about using toilet and breakfast being served.

    onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    As above I sit with a loose belt. This is after a nice flight back from USA with KLM on Friday 13th (a great day to get bumped up to business class). It was pretty bad, so much so a TV was rattled out of the roof box thing.

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    I had a bumpy one coming back from the far east many years ago. I was stuffed in a middle seat between two massive Welsh mining engineers and was cursing the lack of space until it got a bit lumpy, then I was glad to be wedged in between two half pissed bouncy castles.

    It is a testament to their skill and drinking expertise that neither of them spilled a single molecule of their red wine. A fact that amused them massively.

    alpin
    Free Member

    Years ago I flew back from Oz. Turbulence was so bad that a couple of people in front of me hit their heads on the overhead panel. The woman next to me was in tears, screaming and dented the arm rests as she was gripping so hard.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    Doing my own expert investigation – it does appear to all be about forecasting and data rather than any system that can actually detect turbulence.

    Potentially looks like it was clear air turbulence too. Maybe another aircraft had just reported it to ATC.

    This is a pretty view of all the air flows

    https://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/weatherview/

    I know there are pilots on here who of course will know more than my YouTube educated self 🙂

    jamiemcf
    Full Member

    I always wear a seatbelt and listen to the emergency chat.

    Like with a lot of things air travel is so common now it’s treated as just one of those things.

    Sounds pretty horrific though.

    ElShalimo
    Full Member

    Maybe one of the regular pilot forumites can add something to this?

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    I think meal service had just finished …. I hope so because the thought of a trolley flying around the cabin is pretty frightening!

    cobrakai
    Full Member

     Maybe another aircraft had just reported it to ATC.

    I work lower sectors (below 24,000ft) and don’t get asked for ride/turbulence reports very much.

    My wife, however, works upper sectors. She gets asked for ride reports all the time, usually American flag carriers. It gets so bad that the requests can clog up the RT.

    From what I understand, and the pilots of the forum can correct me, is that clear air turbulence can be very isolated but very disruptive, as highlighted with this incident.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I think meal service had just finished …. I hope so because the thought of a trolley flying around the cabin is pretty frightening!

    I saw some photos in one of the online reports with a lot of kettles, urns, trays and various other airline meal sundries scattered like confetti.

    It’s a lot of objects that can all fly around and cause damage. One of the Air Crash Investigation programmes was related to sudden massive turbulence – can’t remember the details but one of the cabin crew was seriously injured by meal service items flying around.

    Flaperon
    Full Member

    How do they know they are going to hit massive wind shear? I can’t imagine that shows up on weather radar ?

    If it’s bad then the message gets passed back down the chain, either by ATC or via the air-to-air chat frequency. Clear air turbulence in an area can be forecast to a degree but identifying it in flight before hitting it is a crapshoot. You can get an inkling from your “spidey sense” but that’s about it.

    jezzep
    Full Member

    Hiya,

    I had one flight to Japan once where the plane hit bad turbulence, and stuff went flying around the cabin. Fortunately the pilot had just turned on fasten seat belts as they must have had some forewarning as someone else mentioned. For the next hour or so the plane was getting tumbled in all directions and people were sick and generally not happy.

    Ever since I’ve always had my belt on loosely as they advise anyway…

    BR

    JeZ

    intheborders
    Free Member

    In a car I wear my seatbelt all the time, I’m no different in a plane.

    Caher
    Full Member

    When I was a student we came back from a field trip and just couldn’t land in Manchester due to a blizzard. My mate, a trainee pilot, was also visibly nervous. I never liked flying since. But treat it as a necessary evil.

    thepurist
    Full Member

    No reports on whether someone was actually in the loo when the incident happened – wouldn’t want to have been sitting next to them afterwards!

    Greybeard
    Free Member

    For this flight it looks like it lost lift although it might have hit a downdraft.

    I think it must have hit a downdraft – if it lost lift, the plane and the people inside would fall under gravity at the same rate. For people to hit the ceiling, the plane must have been forced down faster than it would be under gravity alone.

    fooman
    Full Member

    Airlines use a number of sources to ‘map’ turbulence from weather radar to pilot reports, so they have some idea of what they are flying into but only a prediction.

    I was on a flight where turbulence hospitalised some passengers, it felt like plane had hit something and dropped with a bang. That was a tense landing but touchdown was perfect and everyone applauded. It was the only time I’ve heard a pilot announcement that was anything less than totally confident ‘I think we’re all glad to have landed safely…’ planes are incredibly robust though just the contents get shook up.

    Daughter is flying back from Singapore tonight! On a bigger plane though which are more resilient to turbulence.

    benz
    Free Member

    I used to occasionally travel across to Houston with work and liked to use the Boeing 737 BBJ flown by Privatair for KLM.

    I remember waiting in the departure area when the inbound flight landed. The return crew were also waiting with me.

    There was a lot of nasty weather around and I bricked it when the incoming pilot opened the window and made up and down and side to side movements with his arms to the waiting crew…a nervous flier at the best of times.

    Seat belt signs on for a few hours directly after take-off. Bouncy bouncy and wishing I had not had that beer before boarding…and wondering if larger aircraft got knocked about as much…

    I also remember the flights back across the Atlantic always seemed bouncier than in the other direction.

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    Daughter is flying back from Singapore tonight! On a bigger plane though which are more resilient to turbulence.

    I’ve heard differing reports as to whether bigger planes are more resilient.  The plane in question was a B777ER so no lightweight.

    Assuming your daughter is flying on an A380 then?  Hope she has an incident-free flight!

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Like with a lot of things air travel is so common now it’s treated as just one of those things.

    To an extent, it is.  The 100,000 flights every day which pass without serious incident don’t make headline news, this was exceptional.  It must have been terrifying.

    roverpig
    Full Member

    The advice about seatbelts is no doubt good advice, but didn’t the guy who died die from a heart attack?

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I had a flight in March which as we boarded the pilot told us there was not going to be proper service of drinks etc and we should all remain seated and belted – and they would prefer no-one used the loo.
    It was indeed the bumpiest couple of hours I have ever had – just constant movement from a few minutes after take off to nearly back in Edinburgh. We did drop at one point, enough that the hostess who were standing ended up basically launching into a few folks laps. I was at the very back seat – and the hostess next to me was saying that they had a combination of some bumpy wind weather AND some known turbulence.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    No reports on whether someone was actually in the loo when the incident happened – wouldn’t want to have been sitting next to them afterwards!

    I suspect quite a few people went to the loo on the spot anyway.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    The 100,000 flights every day which pass without serious incident don’t make headline news, this was exceptional.  It must have been terrifying.

    YoutTube stats say

    2009 to 2021 30 Passengers and 116 crew seriously injured in turbulence. Apparently is mandatory reporting.

    So yes 50 injured passengers and 18 crew on this plane would hint it wasnt normal.

    HarryTuttle
    Full Member

    The way I understand it is the 6000ft drop is rubbish reporting.  The plane hit turbulence, there are injuries onboard, some serious.  They then decend (quite quickly) by 6000 ft and divert to Bangkok.  Reporters look at flight tracking app and see the decent and jump to the wrong conclusion.

    dantsw13
    Full Member

    There’s 3 types of turbulence.

    Convective turbulence – thunderstorms, massive up/downdrafts . Detectable with weather radar and avoidable.

    Clear Air Turbulence – normally associated with Jetstreams. Big changes in wind speed/direction. Predictable but not detectable. Pilots report when it’s bad. Changing levels can avoid it.

    Wake Turbulence – the vortices produced by the wings of jets flying along. Predictable and mainly avoidable.

    I don’t know whether it was Clear Air turbulence or they flew through a thunderstorm.

    boardmanfs18
    Full Member

    Severe turbulence is serious and whilst we have forecast maps, they just give you a general area of turbulence and if it ain’t bumpy the seatbelts signs are not on.  We tend to rely on Pilot reports ahead on our routes.

    Have had moments where it feels like you’ve gone the down the worst pothole imaginable, colleagues have had +/- 30 degree roll and the autopilot kicking out.

    The 6000ft drop apparently took place over 4 minutes, which is only 1250ft/min descent rate, so nothing crazy, it was probably the flight crew looking to get out the turbulence area.

    Turbulence is definitely getting more common due to more energy being in the atmosphere (global warming innit).

    Here’s some turbulence definitions, never heard of ‘extreme’ turbulence being encountered in the cruise

    Light turbulence is the least severe, with slight, erratic changes in attitude and/or altitude.
    Moderate turbulence is similar to light turbulence, but of greater intensity – variations in speed as well as altitude and attitude may occur but the aircraft remains in control all the time.
    Severe turbulence is characterised by large, abrupt changes in attitude and altitude with large variations in airspeed. There may be brief periods where effective control of the aircraft is impossible. Loose objects may move around the cabin and damage to aircraft structures may occur.
    Extreme turbulence is capable of causing structural damage and resulting directly in prolonged, possibly terminal, loss of control of the aircraft.

    Always wear your seatbelt!!!

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    The 6000ft drop apparently took place over 4 minutes

    But from all accounts it lost a couple of thousand feet *very* quickly.  But there does seem to be some poor reporting and differing stories as the saga unfolds.  It’ll be interesting to see what the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder reveal.

    reluctantwrinkly
    Free Member

    I encountered bad turbulence on a flight to Japan, the plane was pitching up and down, I couldn’t believe such a large object could change direction so quickly. The engines were screaming as they struggled to get proper airflow and the wings were flapping like a bird, I reckon they moved around 10 feet up and down but it may have been my perception at a very frightening time.

    pondo
    Full Member

    But from all accounts it lost a couple of thousand feet *very* quickly.  But there does seem to be some poor reporting and differing stories as the saga unfolds.

    Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

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