Why you shouldn’t be afraid of turbulence

Many people have a fear of flying. I believe that for most people, it is because of all of the unknowns associated with flying. Whether it be afraid of heights, not knowing how on earth the plane stays in the air, or the fear of turbulence breaking the airplane apart in mid-air. I am here to explain why you should not be afraid of turbulence.

First of all, turbulence is something that will be encountered on almost every single flight. Turbulence is a routine thing for pilots and their crew. Turbulence can be broken up into 3 main categories, light, moderate, and severe. For most passenger airlines, pilots avoid turbulence whenever possible, but they almost always only fly through what is considered to be light turbulence. Turbulence is just like bumps on a road, or waves in a boat. The issue for most people is that, obviously, air cannot be seen. The air moves like water, it flows around the earth at different speeds and directions, which is the main cause for turbulence.

During takeoff, and landing is when the most severe turbulence is typically felt. This can be for a variety of reasons. This can be from other aircraft ‘mixing up the air’ in front of you, or this can be from thermals. Thermals are the most common. This occurs when the sun heats up the ground, which radiates heat upward, causing updrafts, thus causing turbulence.

Finally, airplanes are tested and put through rigorous examinations that stress the aircraft out far more than what turbulence would ever produce. The airplane will not fall apart in thin air because of a few bumps. Turbulence is a routine thing and will never be possible to totally avoid. Pilots take all the proper steps to assure passenger comfort, but turbulence is often times unavoidable. Although, it is not something to be afraid of!

3 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t be afraid of turbulence”

  1. This post was super important for me to read! I haven’t had to fly on a plane yet, but I was going to visit my sister in Seattle last March. COVID made different plans for me, but I was really scared of flying and the plane having turbulence. Your explanations made me feel better, great post Samuel!

  2. Hello Samuel,

    I’ve always been scared of heights, so I generally try to avoid going anywhere higher than ground level. That being said, even with your description of turbulence, I feel that being on a plane that is flying through turbulence would be hard for me to ignore. That isn’t due to your description, more so my fear of heights. I’ve been on a plane once in my life but can’t say that I would plan to ever go on one again. If I can get there on the ground, I’ll take that route instead. Overall, a scientifically sound post that was interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have always been super worried when it comes to turbulence. I don’t mind flying, but the second something feels wonky, I go crazy. Thank you for making this post, I enjoyed reading it!

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