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I’m a pilot – the scary truth about turbulence nervous fliers won’t want to know

TURBULENCE is one of the scariest parts of air travel, with passengers often feeling helpless as the plane starts to shake.

However, for the pilot in charge of flying the plane, there’s much more to think about than just when the aircraft will stop rattling.

Pilots aren’t actually in control of planes during extreme turbulence (stock image)

Pilot Eser Aksan E revealed the scary truth about flying through turbulence to Sun Online Travel and what it’s like to be behind the yoke during a bumpy flight.

She said: “With severe turbulence, we don’t control the plane.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to flip upside down or anything, it’s just not in our control at that moment, but it’s still flying.

“It obviously ends at a certain time and then we’re in control again, and we need to gain or lose the altitude or, whatever state the plane’s in, we have to correct that.

“But it’s not really major, we don’t drop like thousands of feet or something like that – that just doesn’t happen. It feels that way. But it doesn’t happen.”

Pilots, if they can, will try and avoid turbulence, but that isn’t always possible.

The scariest type of turbulence is known as “clear air turbulence” which cannot be predicted.

That’s the reason why passengers are advised to keep their seatbelts on at all times.



Eser continued: “There’s clear air turbulence and that’s the most difficult one. We cannot see it. We don’t know where it is, and there’s no way we can fly around it.

“That’s the dangerous one because we cannot anticipate it, it just happens.

“That’s the reason why we always tell the passengers they have to have your seatbelt on, even if the seatbelt sign is off, you still need to wear your seatbelt.

“Then you have other kinds of turbulence, like mechanical turbulence and turbulence around thunderstorms.

“If you have a huge thunderstorm, it’s obviously going to be turbulent weather, like big bumps.

“In mountain destinations, or mountainous arrivals, and summer weather, that gives us mechanical turbulence, but that’s something we know is in front of us, so that we can anticipate.”

The main threat to passengers during turbulence comes from inside the cabin, with people and items getting thrown around.

While damage to the plane is very rare after turbulence, pilots are still required to write it down, so someone knows to check the aircraft afterwards.

Eser continued: “Stuff tossing around and people falling and stuff like that. That’s the biggest problem for people when there’s turbulence.

“That’s the reason why people get hurt, but damage to the airplane isn’t common.

“If you have encountered severe turbulence, you need to write that down and the mechanic needs to check to see if there is some external damage as well, but most of the time there is none.”

Meanwhile, this pilot used jelly to explain why turbulence isn’t that scary.

And this is how to use a pen and paper to keep calm during a bumpy flight.

Eser said that the main threat from turbulence is inside the cabin rather than outside

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  1. Pingback: I’m a pilot – why you should always book the first flight of the day if you’re a nervous passenger

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