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10 Surprising Facts about Turbulence

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Knowing what pilots know about turbulence can sooth nerves when flights hit bumpy air.

There’s a certain mystique about the piloting profession, and people have a lot of questions when they get the opportunity to talk to a pilot.

Their first two questions are likely: What route are you currently flying? and What can you tell me about turbulence so it doesn’t feel so scary? While the route answer changes from month to month, the turbulence answer is always the same: Pilots don’t like bumpy air, and we’re doing everything in our power to avoid it.

However, sometimes a comfortable ride isn’t possible, and the only way home is through an area of turbulence. With that in mind, here are a few facts to help you understand how the airline industry deals with turbulence and what we consider in our efforts to maintain safe flight conditions. While we will never be able to completely avoid turbulence, our knowledge of its origins and use of modern technology will allow us to more accurately predict where turbulence is and give us an early warning before we’re caught off guard.

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