Friday, 27 July 2007 21:25
Hi Captain Lim,
I have read your remarks and they have helped me slightly but hope you can help me further. I am due to fly to Corfu in Greece on 6th August and I a terrified of turbulence, I know I should imagine being in a car but it just doesn*t help when turbulence occurs!!
Please could you tell me how I can find out what the likelihood of turbulence will be on my flight. Is there somewhere I could look to check before I go?
This fear is ruining my holiday and I have vowed not to travel by plane again after this holiday as the anxiety I go through is ridiculous. I am scared of the turbulence and the plane dropping!
Please could you help me understand a little better the likelihood of this happening?
I hope you can reply to me in time
I have written a lot about air turbulence and answered numerous questions similar to yours. Yes, turbulence can be frightening to many air travelers – especially the bad ones. So it is worth repeating.
Most modern commercial airliners are designed to take the worst of the turbulence. Sure, the pilot can control the plane and minimize its effect by reducing the speed. The sound of power reduction on a smaller plane is more obvious and this aggravates the apprehension. Fear not! The plane won*t break apart nor would it tumble onto the ground. (One reader said I was misleading air travelers with this statement. He was probably referring to older planes in extreme turbulence!)
The pilot would make every humanly possible effort to avoid the turbulence but it is not always easy to predict every one. The weather radar in the aircraft normally does a pretty good job in assisting pilot to steer clear of turbulence (dangerous spots - red and purple colors) but sometimes they could not detect those rough spots in clear air turbulence.
In severe turbulence, the ride gets bumpy and the captain would have switched on the seat belt signs well in advance. He would then ask the air traffic controllers if he could alter the route to go around the thunderstorms or change their altitude - not because it*s dangerous – but to give the passengers a more comfortable ride. Yes, turbulence isn*t dangerous but extremely annoying and uncomfortable.
Turbulence can give the impression that the plane is falling hundreds of feet down the sky. In actual fact, the plane is riding the downdraft of a mass of unstable air - similar to going over a speed bump in a car. Only thing is that, this *speed bump* is much larger in the sky!
You can view the turbulence forecast of Europe by following the link below:-
Europe Turbulence Trouble Spots
Here, you would be able to check the Low Level Turbulence Forecast (Surface - 10,000 feet) for the "12hr 18hr 24hr 30hr 36hr 42hr 48hr" period.
And the High Level Turbulence Forecast (10 - 50,000 feet) for the "12hr 18hr 24hr 30hr 36hr 42hr 48hr" period.
As long as one continues to fly (because it is faster to reach your destination) there will always be some form of turbulence involved. The question is - how severe are the bumps? The flight could be very smooth on one day but it could be real bad on another! So instead of fighting it, learn to accept it.
Some fear of flying counselors (see here) recommends the fearful flyers to practice autosuggestion and breathing exercises during the flight. The "mantra" goes something like this:
"I feel completely relaxed and at ease about turbulence while flying. I have complete trust in the plane and the pilot. The plane is built to take any turbulence while flying. I look forward to flying even when there might be turbulence.
I enjoy the feeling of flying even when there is turbulence. It feels safe, even fun. The feeling of turbulence while flying is as natural as I am riding in a car on a bumpy road.
When the fear of turbulence is gone and replaced with a joy of flying, I breathe out the old feelings as I exhale and breathe in an inner calm control as I inhale. I am carefree and without concern because I love to fly."
Enjoy your flight to Corfu!