A lot of conversation this week about turbulence after two recent incidents. Turbulence in aircraft can be caused by changes in wind speed and direction, mountains or other obstacles, thunderstorms, and the wake of other aircraft. The atmosphere is composed of different layers of air that move at varying speeds and directions. When an aircraft travels through these layers, it can experience turbulence – a bumpy or shaky movement of the aircraft. While turbulence is generally not dangerous, severe turbulence can cause injuries to passengers who are not wearing seatbelts or not properly secured in their seats, as seen by the unfortunate events of last week.
Pilots can try to fly around areas of known turbulence, such as mountain ranges or thunderstorms, and fly at altitudes where turbulence is less likely to occur. They can also receive weather information and reports of turbulence from air traffic control, which can help them avoid it.
In terms of private/business jets versus commercial airliners, private jets may have some advantages in avoiding or mitigating turbulence. They can fly at higher altitudes, be more agile and responsive to turbulence, and fly on more direct routes. However, private jets can still experience turbulence when flying through turbulent conditions.
While it is not always possible to avoid turbulence, pilots will as much as possible try to fly around areas of known bumpy conditions. In the end, it’s part of being in the sky. Slightly nerve-wracking for some but generally harmless. The long-standing advice of pilots and crew to buckle up is the best way to avoid any potential unforeseen mishaps.