The internet is filled with butt-clenching stories of horrifying plane turbulence lately. Is dangerously rough air becoming more common nowadays, or what? Well, yes and no.
It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. It spills your tomato juice. It’s turbulence—but how dangerous is it, actually?
A few years ago, I was sitting in this swanky Bollywood office, staring goggle-eyed at a group of film execs (major international studio, Indian wing). I'd just finished pitching Turbulence, a superhero novel I'd written.
Turbulence: spiller of coffee, jostler of luggage, filler of barf bags, rattler of nerves. But is it a crasher of planes? Judging by the reactions of many airline passengers, one would assume so; turbulence is far and away the number one concern of anxious passengers.
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When your plane feels like it's being thrown around the sky by an angry thunder god, should you be nervous? Actually, yes. But not for the reasons you might think. Let's take a look at what turbulence is, and the real reasons why it can be dangerous.
Rough weather caused by clouds and storms is easy for pilots and ground crews to spot and avoid when planning a flight route. But even perfectly clear skies can be full of invisible pockets of CAT—or clear-air turbulence—that are now easier to spot and predict thanks to a European laser-based detection system known as…
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This beautiful shot was made for the first episode of Richard Hammond's: Engineering Connections, which was dedicated to the Airbus A380. Apparently, wind tunnels can look like the lair of the wicked witch in an old Disney animation movie.