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Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence

If you are terrified of airplane turbulence during your flight, we intend to share Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence, so you can easily cope with it and overcome your fear.

In various flight conditions, we often encounter severe turbulence and turbulence. These vibrations might be problematic for some passengers, but there is no need to worry. Airplanes around the world experience severe turbulence when passing through air pockets. An air pocket is a slang term that refers to a specific thermodynamic condition in the air. Sudden temperature changes cause the movement of air layers, resulting in an upward column of air. When an airplane enters these conditions, it gets lifted along with this column of air and returns to its original height after passing through this area.

Sometimes, this turbulence is caused by encountering opposing air currents. However, all these occurrences are anticipated and planned for in the safety systems and structure of modern airplanes, so there is no need to worry. Try to relax and enjoy your flight. Of course, the intensity and amount of this turbulence depend on the type and characteristics of the airplane and the flight altitude. Heavier and faster airplanes with better aerodynamic structures, flying at higher altitudes, are less affected by air currents.

In this article from the FlySepehran blog, we will explain everything you need to know about airplane turbulence.


Cause Less Turbulence in Larger Airplanes

Flying on larger airplanes offers many advantages from the passenger’s perspective; these types of airplanes generally arrive at or depart from airports faster and are capable of landing in more confined spaces, including cities or islands with shorter runways. Additionally, these airplanes are usually more flexible than smaller ones.

However, during takeoff, there may be differences between these two types of airplanes. For example, in smaller airplanes, the up-and-down movements are felt more intensely, while in larger airplanes, these may be less noticeable.

Captain John Cox, CEO of Safety Operating Systems, does not agree with this view. He believes that pilots can be influential in these situations, but the takeoff process is so complex and flexible that pilots have limited ability to intervene.

There are reasons why larger airplanes experience less turbulence during takeoff. These reasons include factors such as aerodynamics, engines, and aircraft wheels, which stem from the laws of physics and the aircraft’s design.

Aircraft Turbulence: How Dangerous is Turbulence?

Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence
Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence

In reality, airplanes are designed to withstand a significant amount of stress and shock, with a large safety margin built into their designs. This means that even very severe turbulence does not exceed the aircraft’s safe design limits. For example, the amount of turbulence required to bend a wing is something most pilots will never experience in their entire careers.

Wings are designed to withstand 1.5 times the load they usually experience during flight. This means that during testing, the wingtips can bend up to 90 degrees. The flexibility and bending of a wing in flight are considered by design because an airplane wing breaks easily if it is too rigid. Skyscrapers are also designed to wobble a bit, which makes them much stronger.

What Does Aircraft Turbulence Mean?

In its simplest sense, turbulence refers to a disturbance in the air and is unlike the movement of waves and ocean currents. If there are no obstacles in the way of an incoming wave, it flows smoothly, much like a “stream.” However, if it encounters a seawall, it breaks and you can see turbulence in the wave. When air flows over man-made structures and natural terrain such as mountains, the air stream becomes disrupted, causing the air and its surroundings to become turbulent.

Therefore, if you take off or land from an airport near mountain ranges or very hilly terrain, there is a greater chance that you will experience this type of turbulence during the flight and shortly after takeoff.

Turbulence at higher altitudes is likely caused by weather conditions as well as the creation of pressure differentials that disrupt the airflow again. The airplane follows the direction of turbulent air, which may be up, down, or sideways. This often results in a rapid descent that you feel as a drop from your seat or even an ascent that pushes you into your seat. When seated inside the aircraft cabin, these movements are intensified, and you may feel like the airplane is moving much more than it appears.


What Does Flying in Turbulence Mean?

Flying in turbulence occurs when an aircraft experiences disturbances in the airflow during flight. Aircraft can encounter turbulence, which can range from light to severe. Pilots can inform passengers in the event of turbulence, and all passengers are required to fasten their seat belts. Fastening seat belts is very important. These shocks may vary in duration depending on the unusual airflow conditions and can be short or long.


Could airplanes crash due to continuous turbulence?

If you’re constantly worried about airplane crashes due to recurring shaking, it’s better to know that this turbulence and shaking don’t cause airplanes to crash. Airplanes are designed to withstand various shocks safely. Strong turbulence may seem scary. However, pilots receive special training for it. The only thing to do in such situations is to fasten your seatbelt and remain calm until the turbulence subsides. This turbulence may not last more than a few minutes, which is entirely normal, so maintain your composure until it passes.


Causes of Airplane Turbulence in Clear Air

Causes of Airplane Turbulence in Clear Air

It is true that turbulence in clear air can surprise some people. This turbulence is usually caused by atmospheric phenomena resulting from changes in temperature and air pressure at different altitudes. One of these phenomena is air pockets, which are cited as the main cause of airplane turbulence in clear air.

Air pockets are phenomena caused by sudden temperature and air pressure changes at different altitudes. These changes typically occur at high altitudes and within various layers of the atmosphere. When an airplane enters an air pocket, it is exposed to intense air movements, which passengers might feel as turbulence and vibrations.

Air pockets are phenomena caused by sudden temperature and air pressure changes at different altitudes. These changes typically occur at high altitudes and within various layers of the atmosphere. When an airplane enters an air pocket, it is exposed to intense air movements, which passengers might feel as turbulence and vibrations.

Therefore, airplane turbulence in clear air is mainly due to changes in temperature and air pressure, as well as the increasing global warming, which occurs at different altitudes. These changes can cause sudden air movements, which are transmitted to the airplane as turbulence and vibrations.

Cause of Airplane Turbulence from an Aeronautical Engineering Perspective

Airplanes fly due to a combination of jet engines or propellers that propel the aircraft forward and skillfully engineered wings that lift it upward. According to NASA, the altitude an airplane reaches depends on the shape, size, and weight of the aircraft, as well as the speed at which it is traveling. Larger airplanes have more weight and therefore less acceleration. This lower acceleration can result in a smoother takeoff, which feels more comfortable for passengers.

Another reason that takeoff in a larger airplane is more comfortable is the number of jumbo jet engines. Most passenger planes have four engines, while smaller planes typically have only two. You might think that more engines mean more speed and efficiency, leading to a smoother flight, but the weight of the airplane also plays a crucial role in its takeoff.


Another Story of Airplane Turbulence | Comparing Different Types of Aircraft

Large four-engine airplanes are generally a bit quieter to fly than modern twin-engine jets. In four-engine airplanes, three other engines provide the necessary power for takeoff, whereas small airplanes have only one engine. This means that twin jets have more power to weigh than three or four-engine planes.

Although smaller airplanes might fly faster, they experience turbulence Because larger planes weigh more, they are less affected by these turbulences.

Another difference lies in the number of wheels on large and small airplanes. Large jets have more wheels, which contribute to greater stability; although this difference may not be very noticeable. Some experts, however, attribute the smoother takeoff of larger airplanes to a visual trick. In larger airplanes, passengers are positioned further from the ground.

Knowing these things about the conditions that cause turbulence and what to do to deal with them can be significantly reassuring. Airplane turbulence is a normal part of travel and should never be a problem if pilots are skilled enough to deal with it.

In other words, airplane turbulence can be likened to bumps on the road. Just as a driver is aware of the presence of bumps on the road and knows how to deal with them, a pilot is also aware of this and is trained to handle it.


Airplane turbulence is a natural part of the flying experience, occurring due to various reasons such as sudden changes in temperature and air pressure at different altitudes, the structure of the airplane, and the number of its engines. Larger airplanes, due to their greater weight and more engines, usually have smoother flights and are less affected by turbulence. However, even in smaller airplanes, turbulence is rarely dangerous, and pilots are well-trained to handle such conditions. Understanding the causes of turbulence and the measures taken to mitigate its effects can reassure passengers and make their flying experience more comfortable and secure. Ultimately, airplane turbulence can be compared to bumps on the road; just as skilled drivers navigate these bumps, pilots are also adept at handling airplane turbulence.

Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence
Everything You Want to Know About Airplane Turbulence

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to fly to minimize turbulence?
As you know, turbulence occurs due to the displacement of air currents. Therefore, by using a flight tracker, you can choose times when turbulence levels are at their lowest for your flight.
What Season Has the Most Turbulence?
It’s best to know that during holidays, turbulence peaks. During the winter, blizzards and cold fronts cause more friction in the air, leading to turbulence. The summer is another peak time for turbulence, with summer storms creating unstable conditions. Also, during summer and winter, the likelihood of high turbulence is high, so try to limit the number of your flights as much as possible during this season.
What Time of Day Has the Most Turbulence?

Believe it or not, turbulence varies depending on the time of day. Usually, more turbulence is seen during the daytime hours compared to the early morning or nighttime. This is because the daytime usually sees higher wind speeds and more storms. To prevent this event (turbulence), it is better to fly early in the morning or at night.

What Planes Should We Choose To Avoid Turbulence?
Unsurprisingly, passengers on bigger planes experience less turbulence compared to passengers on smaller planes. Therefore, due to the higher mass of larger airplanes, these types of aircraft are less susceptible to wind changes. Large planes are usually used for longer and larger flights, while small planes are used on uncommon routes and short trips.








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