On September 19, 2019, I shared with friends about our terrible turbulence experience as we almost landed at Kigali Airport, from Entebbe Airport aboard a Qatar Airways Dreamliner.
What Causes Turbulence?
The standard cause of turbulence is turbulent air in the atmosphere. Jet streams cause sudden changes in wind speed that can shake the aircraft. The other type of turbulence is thermal, which is created by hot air that rises, usually from cumulus clouds and storms.
Even with extensive planning and organization, incidents such as these could happen at any time. Research on climate change suggests that turbulence events are likely to become more frequent and more severe.
Turbulence isn’t anybody’s friend. The sudden changes in the movement of air can cause anything from a slight bump to trashing a cabin. Thankfully, in the grand scheme of things, serious turbulence occurrences are quite rare. However, because of this, they often don’t go unnoticed, such as the Emirates incident on Tuesday.
Recent Bad Turbulence Incidents That Made Headlines.
Recently, a Frontier Airlines flight attendant broke his leg due to severe turbulence. Flight F9-461 was descending towards Denver International Airport when the incident happened on August 27th. The low-cost carrier holds a perfect seven out of seven score for safety, but clearly incidents involving turbulence are out of its hands.
This followed a similar incident where 16 people were injured when an Evelop Airlines A330 hit turbulence. Flight 838 was on the way to Spain after departing from Mauritius. While flying over Ethiopia, turbulence was so severe that some passengers even hit the ceiling. Also, some items flew around the cabin, which caused damage to the airliner’s interior.
Another incident involving turbulence happened in the same week, this time on an All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787-8. Flight NH-963, had hit severe turbulence on August 19th. This encounter caused four members of the 225 on board to get injured.
On September 9th, passengers and crew members on board a Eurowings A319-100 were injured due to turbulence. The flight was 20 minutes away from its destination of Berlin Tegel, Germany when the incident occurred.
Eleven passengers were reportedly injured when an Emirates Boeing 777 encountered turbulence near Singapore. The aircraft was en route from Dubai in the UAE to Denpasar in Indonesia on the 1st of October when the incident occurred.
In July, intense turbulence struck an Air Canada flight to Australia, injuring 37 people as unbuckled passengers were sent flying into the ceiling. Of the 37 passengers and flight crew members injured, nine had serious injuries, emergency responders said. Thirty people were taken to hospitals.
These accidents are unfortunate and can occur unexpectedly. Airlines continue to stress the importance of wearing seatbelts while flying, even when the sign is not on. The speed at which turbulence can affect an aircraft means there’s not always time to secure your belt, so the advice now is, if you’re seated, do up your belt.
These incidents serve as a reminder to check the security of your seatbelt whenever the fasten seatbelt sign is on. Especially if the crew forewarns an upcoming area of turbulence.