ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Panic at 35000 Feet : Turbulence

Updated on June 27, 2019

You're flying at 35000 feet, trying to have a refreshing nap before you land at your destination and suddenly the aircraft starts rattling. As the upheaval continues, the pilot turns on the seat-belt sign, and for the next few minutes, especially if you're an irregular flyer, your anxiety soars. However, it all ends well, and you thank the lord for not bringing those disturbing thoughts in your mind to reality.

Turbulence occurs quite frequently, and most flyers at some point are likely to encounter the wreck. So, what are its repercussions, and if you experience one, is there a chance of a flight accident? To answer the queries, let's first understand what turbulence is, and what might cause it.

What do you feel during a turbulence?

See results
Source

What is turbulence?

Turbulence, in simple words, is the violent or unsteady movement of a fluid. Any fluid has two types of flow: laminar and turbulent. While many may not be aware of the technicalities of these flows, everyone has observed them. Haven't you noticed how the appearance of water changes from transparent to cloudy as you slowly open up a tap? As the colour changes, the flow also shits from laminar to turbulent. Similarly, smoke emerging from a candle is initially resolute (laminar) but muddles as it rises (turbulent).

Imagine water or any other fluid to be composed of multiple thin layers. In a laminar or streamlined flow, there is no disarray between these layers, and the particles in every layer follow a smooth, non-interfering path devoid of any perpendicular swirls. Turbulent flow, on the other hand, is chaotic. Due to pressure imbalances, velocity or other factors, the layers disrupt, resulting in a disordered flow.

Osborne Reynolds, in 1883, gave a formula determine the nature of the fluid flow mathematically. Any fluid has mainly two types of forces, inertial forces which, as the name suggests, combat disturbances in the fluid's movement and viscous forces which offer resistance. The ratio of these forces (inertial to vicious), called Reynold's number, is used to determine the nature of the flow. If the number is more than a critical value, around 4000 in most cases, fluid flow is deemed turbulent.

Source

What causes turbulence?

According to various sources on the net(National Geographic, Popular Mechanics), the most common causes of turbulence are landscape or mountains, storms, and clear-air turbulence.

MOUNTAINS

Like ocean waves crashing tumultuously against rocks on beaches, air flowing on top of a mountain also causes turbulence in the form of waves as it reaches the other side. As this is a recurrent phenomenon in mountainous regions, pilots are generally ready to tackle it.

STORMS

Turbulence due to thunderstorms or bad weather is fairly intuitive. As the storm clouds expand, they push air away, generating waves that break into turbulence. Again, with the help of weather forecasts and radar systems, pilots can generally avoid excessive disturbances.

CLEAR-AIR

Clear-air turbulence cannot be perceived in advance, making them the most treacherous kind of turbulence. Mainly caused by the shift of the boundary between jet-stream and the slower-moving air adjacent to it, it can be a havoc for flight attendants and passengers too at times.


Source

Will your plane fail due to turbulence?

As frightening as it might seem, turbulence is not very dangerous. Sure, it is uncomfortable, can splash out your drinks, cause injuries if you're caught standing during one, but it isn't going to bring the plane down. Hardly few crashes in history, for instance, the 1966 British Airways crash near Mt. Fuji, have been caused due to turbulence and none in the last forty years. Modern airplanes are designed to confront much more hazardous conditions.

Furthermore, most turbulence, apart from those caused by the jet streams(as we have previously learnt), can be predicted, and pilots can reroute if necessary. Buckling the seat belt for the entire flight and avoiding seats at the backside in a plane, are some precautions passengers can take to ease the inconvenience.

While it's relieving to know that turbulence is not life-threatening, one must be ready to encounter them more frequently in the coming years. Due to climate-change induced by the chaos that humans have created in nature, weather patterns have suffered, which has resulted in the rise of turbulence. They have increased by 40-90% over Europe and North America since 1958 and are expected to get worse (source-business insider).

© 2019 shashank kumar

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)