Have you ever wondered if severe turbulence can forced an airplane to crash? I know this maybe harsh, but those of us who are afraid of flying will have this thought pop in our heads a few times. For example, on a Dallas, Texas bound flight leaving from South Korea, passengers were thrown into the ceiling and then back onto the floor. So lets find out if turbulence can really cause a plane to crash?
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John Mitchell who was a passenger onboard American Airlines flight 280 last year, recorded footage of the strong turbulence that injured several people, even though the injuries were not life-threatening, 14 individuals were sent to the local hospital. The airplane coming from South Korea had to be diverted to Tokyo.
A powerful storm was over the west Pacific Ocean, which was definitely the reason Japan was hit with massive rain and snow, when American Airline Flight 280 was in the path of this storm that crossed over the region. The storm was powered by 235 mph winds at 30,000 feet at the time of the flight, which caused the severe turbulence. But the question that still remains is strong turbulence able to cause an airplane crash?
Yes, but it’s very unlikely these days. In the past, turbulence has pushed planes beyond their tolerances. For example, in 1966 British Overseas Airways pilot diverted his flight from its original path from Tokyo towards Mount Fiji so passengers could have a glance at Mount Fiji. The Boeing 747 hit powerful 140 mph winds as it came near the mountain, ripping the tail fin to the airplane off which downed the airplane. Almost five decades later, aircraft designing has come a long way with aerospace engineers saying a similar fate is very unlikely with today’s modern planes.
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There are two different types of turbulence, storm-related and clear air turbulence. Storm related can be easily detected by Doppler radar, but clear turbulence occurs when two air masses moving at different speeds or in different directions contact each other is more difficult to detect.
When your pilot says, “We’re expecting a smooth ride out to “Los Angeles” today,” he means there are no storms and no one flying the route has reported clear air turbulence. In Conclusion, turbulence may be extremely unlikely to down a commercial aircraft these days, but it has caused many serious injuries from flight attendants and passengers. This is the main reason you should ALWAYS have your seatbelt fastened in duration of your flight. Please share this safety tip with your flying buddies if you liked it.
Passenger John Mitchell records live footage of American Airlines flight 280 during extreme turbulence.
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