Aircraft turbulence is likely to be increasingly common in the years to come. But no risk to flight safety.
During an airplane flight it can happen that you encounter a turbulent zone. More or less violent, the latter are quite impressive for travelers. They typically occur when airplanes in the air pass through so-called “wind shear” zones. With ascending and descending air flows, the yo-yos plane.
According to a recent CNN study among passengers, nearly 65,000 planes experience turbulence every year. But in addition to these “shaken” aircraft, the study explains that another 5,000 aircraft are victims of “more severe” turbulence. Results that are not surprising Paul Williams, professor at the University of Reading (UK) and specialist on the subject.
Stronger turbulence on the way
He explains in his latest study that the most severe turbulence will double or even triple in the coming decades. A phenomenon that can be explained by the arrival of “turbulence in clear skies”. Unpredictable, they occur due to “air pockets” and cause the plane to crash quickly. According to the US Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), they were responsible for 28% of aircraft crashes that occurred between 2009 and 2018.
A frightening figure, but Paul Williams wants to be reassuring. He assures that air travel will no longer become dangerous and that this turbulence, while unpredictable by nature, is not that great a danger. He explains that current construction standards for airliners drastically reduce the risks.
30 minutes of turbulence for a transatlantic flight
According to his study, turbulence will be more frequent and longer. For example, the researcher highlights a London-New York flight. A classic transatlantic crossing of this type should experience about ten minutes of turbulence in a classic flight. The scientist assures that in 20 or 30 these turbulences will be more violent and will last twice as long.
A problem taken very seriously by the entire aeronautical world. The president of the Flight Attendants association, Sara Nelson, explains that new measures will be taken to avoid accidents inside the aircraft during a period of turbulence. It will therefore soon be impossible for a parent to travel with a child under the age of two on their lap. A procedure already implemented by many airlines around the world.
In its report on the subject, the NTSB also explains that turbulence will need to be better “listed and tracked over time” to facilitate the movement of aircraft between these areas.