If you fly enough, there’s a good chance you’ve had a scary encounter with air turbulence. Perhaps you felt like the plane dropped like a rock, or the cabin rocked so much that food carts were overturned. Although moments like these can terrify passengers, the good news is that even dramatic turbulence events are not at all dangerous the vast majority of the time.
There are three different kinds of air turbulence: the first is caused by local weather systems like storms, and is easily avoided by pilots. The second, and most common, is clear-air turbulence, which is caused by unpredictable wind patterns. The final type is caused by wind currents traveling over mountains.
According to pilot and blogger Patrick Smith, those white-knuckled turbulence moments we tell our friends about are no big deal from a pilot’s perspective. The altitude of the plane usually never varies more than 100 feet, and course navigation is not really affected at all. It’s easy to safely navigate through turbulence simply by avoiding unnecessary maneuvers and slowing down a little bit. Hopefully that fact will comfort you the next time your flight gets a little shaky!
Read the full article here: Putting Air Turbulence into Perspective