Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Turbulence for passengers

This presentation is for passengers that travel by air and have concerns about turbulence. It will help you understand what turbulence is, how it affects the plane, your personal safety on board, and regulatory requirements as a passenger to remain seated with your seat belt fastened whenever the fasten seatbelt sign is turned on. It also addresses child safety on board and different types of restraint systems that can be used,

  • Login to see the comments

Turbulence for passengers

  1. 1. Turbulence for passengers By Donald Wecklein
  2. 2. Turbulence • By the end of this lesson on turbulence, you will understand: • What causes turbulence, • Clear Air Turbulence, also referred to as “CAT”, and • The four levels of turbulence • Light, • Moderate, • Severe, and • Extreme.
  3. 3. What is turbulence? • Turbulence is due to irregular atmospheric motion or swirling which results in jolting of the aircraft. • The range of intensity goes from a slight rhythmic bumpiness with no changes in altitude or attitude, to abrupt and severe changes in altitude and attitude that may cause severe injury to the aircraft occupants and potential damage to the aircraft.
  4. 4. What causes turbulence? • There are many contributors to turbulence; typically it’s encountered by: • General weather conditions, including the jet stream, upper air wind speed and direction changes, and weather fronts.
  5. 5. Weather conditions that cause turbulence • Thermals, which is rising air found in warm and hot climates, and • Terrain conditions, such as mountains, which disrupts the smooth flow of air.
  6. 6. Weather conditions that cause turbulence • Weather in itself causes turbulence. From the wind speed, wind direction changes, air temperature, rising or descending air, all these conditions can create turbulence in the air and disrupt a smooth flight.
  7. 7. What are thermals? • Thermals are rising columns of air that are created when the surface of the earth is sufficiently warm. As an aircraft flies through thermals, the airplane will experience turbulent conditions. • This is most noticeable at low altitudes during summer months in very warm or hot climates, and other warm States/countries that have the perfect climate and terrain to create thermals.
  8. 8. What is mechanical turbulence? • Mechanical turbulence is caused by interference of surface features on the horizontal flow of air. This could include trees, tall buildings, mountains, etc. The amount of turbulence experienced depends on the speed of the wind, the size and shape of the obstruction, and local atmospheric conditions.
  9. 9. Be prepared for turbulence • There are standard precautions that you should follow to minimize the effects of turbulence: • Whenever you are seated, keep your seatbelt fastened. • If you are using a blanket, fasten the seatbelt outside the blanket so the flight attendant can see it. • If you lay down across seats, fasten a seatbelt around your waist.
  10. 10. Dislike turbulence? Choose your seat wisely • In large aircraft such as the 747, 777, 787, the aft portion of the aircraft may experience a significantly greater amount of turbulence, while in the forward section, turbulence is negligible. The flight crew may not be aware how bumpy it is in the rear of the plane. • The same generally applies to smaller jets, including the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. Sit at or forward of the wings, but the difference between in intensity
  11. 11. Is turbulence dangerous? • Light turbulence happens almost at some point during every flight, and light turbulence isn’t dangerous. You are required to sit with your seatbelt fastened, however, crewmembers are permitted to stand and move about the cabin.
  12. 12. Is turbulence dangerous? • Moderate turbulence or greater can cause injury to both passengers and crew. Should you hear an announcement from a flight crewmember informing flight attendants to return to their seats, either the turbulence became strong enough to require the crew to sit down, or the flight crew received a pilot report, called a PIREP. • A PIREP may contain a report of known turbulence ahead, and as a precaution, the captain will
  13. 13. Make appropriate announcements • Based on the severity of the turbulence, the cabin crew will act accordingly, as described by each level of severity. If the captain doesn’t make an announcement advising passengers to return to their seat, the Lead F/A will make the announcement, informing passengers to remain seated.
  14. 14. Seatbelt sign on • When turbulence is anticipated or suddenly encountered, the captain will turn on the Fasten Seatbelt sign and make an announcement. If turbulence is moderate or greater, the captain may make an announcement “Flight attendants please be seated”.
  15. 15. Flight attendants please be seated • If you hear this, the captain is aware the level of turbulence is, or will be, unsafe for flight attendants to stand. • In-flight services will discontinue, and the flight attendants will go back to their seats. They have to do this for their personal safety, and it’s required through the request by the captain, as s/he is the
  16. 16. Turbulence stopped, can’t I get up? • After an extended period of time and no further turbulence is experienced, the Lead F/A may call the cockpit to ask if it’s safe to get up from the jumpseat, or if they need to remain seated. • Remember, the requirement for you to sit with your seatbelt on is for your safety, and those around you.
  17. 17. Anticipated turbulence • For anticipated turbulence, the captain may use the following signals: • Seatbelt sign “ON,” followed by a PA announcement by the captain when the seatbelt sign is turned on. • The plane may not be experiencing turbulence, but it’s coming. As a precaution, the captain requests that you return to your seat and fasten your seatbelt.
  18. 18. Anticipated turbulence • Flight attendants may go over to passengers standing or in lavatory areas and advise they need to return to their seats in anticipation of turbulence. • Yes, “Mother Nature” is calling, yet you are being requested to sit in the interest of your personal safety. Remember, when they ask you to sit, they are doing it on behalf of the captain. It’s their responsibility to inform passengers they need to sit.
  19. 19. Clear Air Turbulence • Clear Air Turbulence, referred to as “CAT” is an operational factor for flight operations at high altitudes. CAT is typically associated with upper flight level turbulence.
  20. 20. Clear Air Turbulence • This type of turbulence is not associated with clouds, including thunderstorms, which can make it harder to predict. CAT, when encountered can be classified as light, moderate, severe or extreme.
  21. 21. Light turbulence • If light turbulence occurs during a beverage service, the Lead flight attendant may use their discretion to discontinue hot beverage service during turbulence. • Coffee cups on planes don’t typically come with lids, which makes it easier to spill hot liquids on yourself, or someone next to you. If hot beverages are served during turbulence, the cup may be filled less than usual to help prevent spills, and someone getting burned.
  22. 22. It’s for the passenger’s safety • While you may not appreciate not receiving your coffee or tea, it is for your safety, as well as those around you. There have been instances of passengers, adults and children, being burned by spilled hot liquids on aircraft during turbulence!
  23. 23. The crew may check on you • If flight attendants perform a seatbelt check… • They will check on all passengers, including those sleeping, to make sure seatbelts are fastened. • They may verify children occupying a child restraint seat are properly restrained within the device. • If you or your child plans to sleep during the flight, keep the belt fastened and visible to the crew.
  24. 24. Turbulence severity • The severity of turbulence encountered in flight dictates the appropriate Flight Attendant action to be taken. Based on the four levels of turbulence, known as light, moderate, severe, and extreme, you will now learn: • How the aircraft responds during turbulence, • The conditions in the cabin, and • What you should do.
  25. 25. Light turbulence • What happens during light turbulence? • The aircraft will experience momentary, slightly erratic changes in attitude/altitude. • In the cabin, the seatbelt sign will come on, and passengers and crew may feel slight strain against their seatbelt.
  26. 26. Light turbulence • Unsecured objects should remain at rest. You should have little or no difficulty to walk. • Flight attendants may inspect the cabin and galley for loose articles and perform a seatbelt check on passengers. Service of food and beverage may continue, however, serving hot beverages may or may not continue.
  27. 27. Moderate turbulence • What happens during moderate turbulence? • The aircraft will experience changes in altitude, attitude, and airspeed changes may happen, but the aircraft remains in positive control. • You may feel a strain on your seatbelt, and items on your tray table may shift.
  28. 28. Severe turbulence • What happens during severe turbulence? • The aircraft will experience large, abrupt changes in altitude/attitude. The aircraft may be momentarily out of control. • In the cabin, passengers are forced violently against their seatbelts. Unsecured objects will be tossed about. Walking through the cabin is impossible.
  29. 29. What happens during extreme turbulence? • The aircraft will be tossed violently, and it will be practically impossible for the pilots to control. There is a chance that the plane may experience some structural damage. • In the cabin, people seated are forced violently against their seatbelt, or tossed if not secure.
  30. 30. What happens during extreme turbulence? • Unsecured objects will be tossed about, and it is impossible to walk. Extreme turbulence can happen without warning. • Remain seated until advised by captain it is safe to get up again.
  31. 31. It’s for everyone’s safety – especially yours • When you are notified to sit down during turbulence, follow the captain’s and flight attendant’s instructions. You may be disappointed not to receive your meal, or be stuck with a finished tray on your tray table. You will have to wait be advised it is safe to get up again.
  32. 32. Stay seated • Remember, you may be told to sit and fasten your seatbelt even though the turbulence isn’t that bad – yet. The flight crew may have information you aren’t aware of (PIREPS) and they choose to take precautions and have you sit.
  33. 33. Turbulence overall • While typical turbulence experienced during flight is generally not dangerous, it does have the capability to cause injury to passengers and crew should it intensify, or if you don’t heed the warnings from the flight crew to sit and remain seated when instructed. • As a passenger, you must always comply with the requirement to sit with your seatbelt fastened anytime the fasten seatbelt sign is illuminated. Although the flight attendants are the ones informing passengers to sit, it is a delegated request through the captain that they inform passengers they need to sit down.
  34. 34. Passengers: It’s a regulation – fasten your seatbelt • Additionally, per 14 CFR 121.317, it says: (f) Each passenger required by §121.311(b) to occupy a seat or berth shall fasten his or her safety belt about him or her and keep it fastened while the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign is lighted. And… • (k) Each passenger shall comply with instructions given him or her by a crewmember regarding compliance with paragraphs (f), (g), (h), and (l) of this section. • Flight attendants are crewmembers; (k) says you shall comply with instructions given by a crewmember… Fasten your seatbelt as required and instructed – it’s for your safety!
  35. 35. A few facts about turbulence and flying • While you can’t avoid all turbulence, you can reduce some of your exposure to it. • Fly in the early morning, or in the evening after sundown. This is especially true in hot climates like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, etc. • Thermal activity increases as the day progresses, and reduces as the ground and air slowly begins to cool.
  36. 36. A few facts about turbulence and flying • As the day progresses, and the air and ground becomes warmer, convective activity takes place. Cumulus clouds may form and grow into cumulonimbus clouds, or potential thunderstorms. • Such clouds are likely to produce turbulence. While such clouds can form at any time of the day, they are more likely to form and be more intense during afternoon and evening daylight hours • Morning and night flights help avoid this.
  37. 37. How to have a potentially better flight • Sit at the overwing area, or as far forward as you can, as the effect of turbulence is somewhat less in front than the rear of the plane. • Should you encounter turbulence, don't look out the window. Watching the plane rock back and forth may make you more unnecessarily concerned about the safety of the flight. • Do something else to occupy your thoughts.
  38. 38. Look at the wings, and relax! • When you see the airplane wing flex during turbulence, it may cause you to worry that something may go wrong. Airplane wings are very, very strong, and designed to flex during turbulence. • If they didn't flex, it would put unnecessary strain on the wing. • Watch this Airbus test video as a measure how much flex is designed in to a wing without snapping!
  39. 39. Prepare yourself for turbulence • When you look at weather maps and see the location of weather fronts (red and blue lines), you are likely to experience some turbulence in that area. Remember, turbulence is part of flying. • Again, turbulence can't be completely avoided, but sometimes knowing when it is likely to occur may actually give you some comfort.
  40. 40. Pilots try to avoid turbulence • Pilots do actively attempt to change altitude's when experiencing turbulence, or if it's forecast along their route. Sometimes a change of altitude helps, sometimes it doesn't. • There are instances where turbulence is experienced throughout all upper air flight altitudes and for many miles wide. Sometimes there's nothing that can be done to
  41. 41. Pilots try to avoid turbulence • Sometimes air traffic control cannot accommodate the altitude change request due to all the other aircraft on the same route to change altitude due to the weather.
  42. 42. Did you know… • Up to 50% of the turbulence you experience is actually caused by the airplane correcting itself? • When a wing dips, correction needs to be made by the plane to continue flying forward, the other half of the rocking you feel! • Modern autopilots can sense altitude and bank angle changes faster than a pilot hand-flying the airplane!
  43. 43. Carry-on bag vs your infant/toddler • Infants and children under two years old are safest when in their own seat, and depending on size, being strapped into a car seat, not on your lap. • You can’t hold your bag on your lap for taxi, takeoff, and landing, but you can hold your child. Let that sink in for a moment. • The NTSB promotes infants/toddlers to be in child restraint seats. Read more and watch the videos:
  44. 44. Carry-on bag vs your infant/toddler • Traveling domestic, airlines generally will allow you to bring your car seat on board and use it provided there is an empty seat available. • You can guarantee your child extra safety by purchasing a seat for them. • Under two years old they can sit in your lap, but should your flight encounter severe turbulence, you will have difficulty holding them and risk injury to your child. Read more: flying-hurt-plane-hit- turbulence/story?id=22559274
  45. 45. What’s not allowed (USA specific) • Booster seats, lap belts, sling devices and other unapproved child restraint devices are not permitted for use during taxi, takeoff, and landing. • It’s the airline’s discretion to allow these devices to be used during all other time in flight. • If you bring these devices, They will have to be stowed during taxi, takeoff, and landing. • If too large, they may need to be checked at the gate during boarding.
  46. 46. How to keep your little ones safe • Infants and children are safest when in their own seat, and depending on size, being strapped into a car seat…
  47. 47. How to keep your little ones safe • or into an approved harness named C.A.R.E.S. • The CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. • You can get more information from KidsFlySafe at • (This is for your information only – I have no business relationship with them!)
  48. 48. How to keep your little ones safe • Air travel is costly, and the purchase of an extra seat for your infant can be expensive. It’s up to you to weigh the risk vs reward of traveling with your toddler at no cost, against the chance of injury due to severe turbulence. Regardless of your decision, may you always have safe flights!
  49. 49. Remember, fly safe and keep your seatbelt fastened when seated.
  50. 50. Contact us • If you liked what you learned through this presentation, and you’re thinking about updating, redesigning, and improving your flight attendant manual and/or training program, contact us! • Visit our website: to learn what we can do for you. Email us Donald Wecklein: