Are you a fearful or nervous flyer? Perhaps you are someone who can never manage to relax before a flight because you always imagine the worst-case situation happening. There are many unforeseeable circumstances that cannot always be controlled, such as who you sit next to on the plane or perhaps the size of the washroom queue. Turbulence, on the other hand, is something you can immediately tick off your list of concerns!
Turbulence is simply a necessary part of a pilot's work; it does not at all mean that the plane is about to crash. You shouldn't be concerned that the unthinkable would happen because modern aircraft are designed to withstand far more pressure than just a little turbulence; they go through extensive testing in conditions much more severe than anything turbulence could cause, pushing the aircraft to its limits. A little meteorological turbulence won't be the first thing to trouble airplanes because you’ll come to find that they are quite resilient!
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Why should I not worry about turbulence?
Pilots are professionals — Don’t worry too much because the people responsible for your safety in the air are experts at what they do after a substantial amount of training and testing. Pilots say that turbulence happens frequently and it is very rare that they take a flight without experiencing some turbulence, so they know just how to react when it occurs. Moreover, they make an effort to reassure passengers that any turbulence is indeed very temporary and that they shouldn't be alarmed.
Changes in airflow are normal — There are a few factors that could affect the airflow around an airplane: wind change, flying near storms, or jet streams. These little changes require slight adjustments to the preset route, leveling off. Those erratic movements in the atmosphere lead to air currents, which can give passengers on an airplane uncomfortable vibrations. It's not personal; these changes take place on their own accord and are not something that can be totally controlled.
Discomfort for a short time — While experiencing turbulence may be uncomfortable, keep in mind that it is not at all unsafe. Turbulence typically lasts between five and fifteen minutes. Although it may seem like an eternity at the time, keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, it was only a fleeting instant. Imagine if the airplane was surrounded by jello, it would likely move about quite a bit yet would always be stable. Follow the instructions given by the cabin crew and sit back tight until the turbulence ends.
Comparisons to daily life — Think of turbulence like a car on cruise control driving over potholes or a plane riding the "waves" like a boat on a choppy lake; there is no risk in either situation and all that is required is caution and composure!
Reality check — The news would be filled with accidents every day if turbulence was actually that dangerous; keep in mind that no plane has ever crashed due to solely turbulence.
You should now hopefully have a better understanding of what turbulence is, how it can be caused, and why you should not worry about it. Try to remember these facts for the next time that you fly and keep those nerves calmed!