Can Turbulence Cause a Plane Crash?

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You may not believe it, but both mathematicians and physicists haven't been able to solve the mystery of turbulence yet! The problem is that while turbulence looks simple on the outside, we know very little about the underlying physics of this phenomenon. No-one has figured out how to avoid turbulence altogether yet.

Actually, turbulence is chaos. It occurs when bursts of energy get into the air your plane's flying through. And the worst thing for those who feel more than just uncomfortable during turbulence is that it's unpredictable. But does unpredictable mean dangerous? And can turbulence damage a plane seriously enough to make it fall?

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What turbulence is 2:07
When turbulence is more likely 3:08
Can pilots minimize its effects? 3:53
Can turbulence damage a plane? 4:37
How to protect yourself 5:43

#turbulence #onboard #airtravel

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- Turbulence is chaos. It occurs when bursts of energy get into the air your plane's flying through. And this energy is exactly what causes changes in the pressure and speed of airflow.
- Planes experience turbulence when they're flying through eddies, which are pockets of rising and falling air. There are different situations that make turbulence more likely, for example, when a plane takes off or lands in windy weather or when it flies through layers of clouds or over mountains.
- The weather radar informs pilots about electrical storms and turbulence happening nearby, which helps the plane to skirt these areas. In such cases, pilots can't use the autopilot, so they manage the situation manually. Also, airplane routes are made in such a way that the risk of turbulence is minimal.
- Planes are made to take a huge amount of strain and stress. Plus, aircraft have an enormous safety margin; that's why even really bad turbulence will never exceed the plane's limits.
- Airplane wings have to be flexible because a very rigid wing would just break in extreme conditions. The same approach is used when skyscrapers are built: they sway a bit, and it makes them more robust.
- When you hear a flight attendant say that you need to get back to your seat and fasten your seat belt, do it. Even if your bladder isn't particularly happy about this decision.
- As you remember, the most severe turbulence that happens at high altitudes can start all of a sudden; and pilots may not have time to warn passengers about the potential danger.
- But having worn your seat belt throughout the flight, don't make bathroom trips just before the plane starts to descend, and don't unbuckle right after the take-off.

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