"Attention passengers, we're currently experiencing some plane turbulence. Please return to your seats - the Fasten Seat Belt Sign is now on. Please remain seated until the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been switched off."
Makes you a bit nervous, doesn't it? Especially when the plane begins to violently rock.
But Qantas Chief Pilot Richard Tobiano has come out to address what's really happening when the plane starts shaking.
According to Tobiano, there are three main causes and turbulence is extremely misunderstood.
- "Sudden changes in wind direction and speed, particularly as aircraft climb to their cruising altitude where the air is usually smoother."
- "Turbulence associated with large, dense clouds."
- "Wake turbulence. Large jet aircraft disturb the air behind them, similar to the wash from a boat. It’s uncommon but that disturbed air can cause bumps for nearby aircraft, even if they are a significant distance away."
"For pilots, it’s an everyday part of our job and nothing to fear. Aircraft are engineered to deal with levels of turbulence well beyond anything you’d realistically encounter," continues Tobiano, putting frequent flyers at ease.
Weather reports, state-of the art weather radars while communicating with other pilots in the air are strategies used to minimise the risk of turbulence. Tobiano finishes by that as long as you have your seatbelt, it's not something that should fright you.