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Turbulence in flight - what a nightmare!

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  • Nov 17th, 2008 6:42 pm
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[OP]
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Nov 17, 2003
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Ontario

Turbulence in flight - what a nightmare!

I've flown dozens of times over the years and only once have I encountered "severe turbulence" it was back in 1998 and I was returning to Toronto from Vegas.

I had never experienced such a nightmare before that flight or after but it was the most terrifying experience I've ever encountered. Thankfully it was a one time event, I hope I never have to go through that again.

Basically it was like being on a roller coaster where the extreme drops were immediately followed by extreme rises in altitude, I gripped the armrests so hard I didn't think I'd ever let go, all the while listening to the screams and praying of the other passengers as we bounced around at 30,000+ feet in the sky, even the flight attendants looked scared.

Any one else experience such turbulence that you thought you were about to meet your maker?
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Apr 4, 2002
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I flew into Brussels last year and the turbo prop I was on was being destabilized by ice build up on the propellers which caused the plane to shake. The pilot fixed the problem by turning on the elements inside the propeller which caused ice to slam into the side of the plane. The plane was flying through a snow storm at only about 20,000 feet so it wasn't surprising. Coming in for landing the plane hit a big bird and made a big loud bang.

Kinda terrifying, but since I fly so much it didn't really faze me once I was on the ground.
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The plane's not going to crash. It can stand a lot of turbulence: you'd be dead inside before it broke apart.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2003
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Ontario
MrBurns wrote:
Nov 11th, 2008 11:05 pm
The plane's not going to crash. It can stand a lot of turbulence: you'd be dead inside before it broke apart.
Comforting, intellectually I knew the plane was very safe in turbulence, but emotionally it took its toll, listening to people screaming, praying, and begging for their lives is very unsettling.

Have you ever experienced severe turbulence accompanied by panicked passengers experiencing full terror?
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Mar 25, 2005
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Get a GPS and watch your altitude bounce around. Its pretty entertaining.
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When I was going into Amsterdam a few years back, you can hear them turning on the engine, then 15 seconds later shutdown. 5 minutes later they tell us that they are having engine problems and to please hold on while they check it out. Some of the faces I saw lol...
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I had a awful experience while flying when i was a teenager. On a Air Canada flight going to Jamaica, we passed over an extreme thunderstorm but EVERYONE on the plane thought they were going to die. It was about 20-30mins and it felt exactly like being on at roller coaster. I was in tears, scarred for life. I hate flying I try to avoid it at all cost. I am able to fly now because im not afraid of dieing and i have a lot of understanding of aviation technology, but ill never get on a small plane.
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Yep, hubby and I had "one of those" flights to the DR almost 11 years ago. The whole flight down we essentially flew through the remnants of a hurricane. It was incredible. Similar to your story OP, folks praying, etc. We had a couple of drops that sent people not buckled in to the ceilings. I totally get the roller coaster analogy, when I think of that flight now I think about the old wooden coasters and how rough the track is along with the drops. Every flight since then I silently pray that I'll never experience a flight like that one ever again...
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MrBurns wrote:
Nov 11th, 2008 11:05 pm
The plane's not going to crash. It can stand a lot of turbulence: you'd be dead inside before it broke apart.
Yes, it can stand a lot of turbulence and the associated stresses but "dead inside"? Yopu have been watching too many movies :lol:
Kasakato wrote:
Nov 11th, 2008 11:17 pm
Get a GPS and watch your altitude bounce around. Its pretty entertaining.
An aircraft does change altitude, but normally on command. It seldom "bounces" around.
Your handheld GPS is extremely unreliable inside an aircraft because of all the shielding built into the aircraft. Holding it by a window will work, but only randomly and without accuracy. Also, you need to understand that if you are getting altitude reading they will be above ground readings. Can you imagine what would happen flying over the Rockies, you would get readings from 20,000 ft AGL (above ground level) to 5,000 AGL or less, mountain valleys to mountain tops.
Aircraft fly at pressure altitudes (above sea level) where the ground is not part of the equation.
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 7:42 am
Can you imagine what would happen flying over the Rockies, you would get readings from 20,000 ft AGL (above ground level) to 5,000 AGL or less, mountain valleys to mountain tops.
I don't know which GPS can measure between its current position and the ground, but mine sure can't. I get readings above sea level....otherwise, it would always read "Zero" when I'm driving.
Pete_Coach wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 7:42 am
An aircraft does change altitude, but normally on command. It seldom "bounces" around
Not true. High and low pressure pockets can drop and lift an airplane quite rapidly. I can't recall how many feet per second, but it's significant.
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I used to fly, a lot - out of Toronto every week for about almost 6 years.
The only time I had problems was coming into Quebec City our pilot came on and said the flaps aren't working. We are going to land on the runway REALLY fast. Not to worry though, he said, it's a long runway.....
I was the only person that seemed relaxed after the announcement which I attribute to:
1. pre-flight cocktails
2. remembering the story from Mallrats.
It's pronounced Throat Wobbler Mangrove
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 7:42 am
Yes, it can stand a lot of turbulence and the associated stresses but "dead inside"? Yopu (sic) have been watching too many movies :lol:
16 August 1982; China Airlines 747; near Hong Kong: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during the flight. Two of the 292 passengers were killed.

5 September 1996; Air France 747-400; near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Severe turbulence associated with a weather front seriously injured three of the 206 passengers. One of the three passengers later died of injuries caused by an in flight entertainment screen.

28 December 1997; United Airlines 747-100; over Pacific Ocean near Japan: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during cruise about two hours after departing Japan. One of the 346 passengers was killed. None of the 23 crew members were killed but three sustained serious injuries.
Same as above,
In 1997, a Japanese passenger on a United Airlines flight from Tokyo to Honolulu was jolted out of her seat when the plane encountered turbulence; she suffered fatal injuries when she hit the armrest on the way back down.

Need I say more? We're talking 747s here. Not Cessna 150s.
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I wouldn't call it severe but my friend and I flew with Porter on one of their turboprops from Toronto-Newark earlier this year and the descent into Newark was quite the mini rollercoaster ride with all the sudden drops. It was kinda fun!
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Talamasca wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 12:21 pm
I wouldn't call it severe but my friend and I flew with Porter on one of their turboprops from Toronto-Newark earlier this year and the descent into Newark was quite the mini rollercoaster ride with all the sudden drops. It was kinda fun!
Nice coincidence...the only time I've ever had bad turbulence was on a turbo-prop heading into Newark. I was headed to Newport for the X-Games with a friend, and about 50% of the passengers were seriously airsick.
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deep wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 7:56 am
.
Not true. High and low pressure pockets can drop and lift an airplane quite rapidly. I can't recall how many feet per second, but it's significant.
Actually when flying, it is almost like going down a river in a canoe. The air is like a fluid and you will have small rapids, big rapids and smooth water. The aircraft fuselage, unlike a canoe, does not bounce up and down in feet per second. The structure and flex of the wing absorbs much of the little stuff.
MrBurns wrote:
Nov 12th, 2008 10:49 am
16 August 1982; China Airlines 747; near Hong Kong: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during the flight. Two of the 292 passengers were killed.

5 September 1996; Air France 747-400; near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Severe turbulence associated with a weather front seriously injured three of the 206 passengers. One of the three passengers later died of injuries caused by an in flight entertainment screen.

28 December 1997; United Airlines 747-100; over Pacific Ocean near Japan: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during cruise about two hours after departing Japan. One of the 346 passengers was killed. None of the 23 crew members were killed but three sustained serious injuries.
Same as above,
In 1997, a Japanese passenger on a United Airlines flight from Tokyo to Honolulu was jolted out of her seat when the plane encountered turbulence; she suffered fatal injuries when she hit the armrest on the way back down.

Need I say more? We're talking 747s here. Not Cessna 150s.
Yes you do need to say more. You have cited 4 incidents (google search no doubt) since 1982 and umpteen thousands of flights since then and pre requiring folks to stay bucked while seated. I did not say it does not happen and turbulence does occur almost every flight but your statement was beyond reasonable. Put your statements into perspective, you said "It can stand a lot of turbulence: you'd be dead inside before it broke apart. " This is not at all true. In flight iccidents happen all the time but I still stand by my remark that you watch too many movies and then make general statements about aircraft safety.
A Cessna 150???

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